Ghost towns, badgers, geysers, Tetons, bears, elk, cowboys, history, plus the natural beauty of the west are just some of the ways to describe our 4th of July road trip. Did I mention it was kind of chilly? To wear or not wear my jacket was a question I kept asking myself the entire trip. It wasn’t as warm as we expect in July and I got to thinking about the topic of Montana weather, again. I thought about it when I saw a few snowflakes falling while watching badgers on a hillside in the ghost town of Nevada City, MT.
It again crossed my mind when we turned on the heater to get the chill out of the old miners cabin we spent the night in.
The subject was unavoidable while chatting with a woman from South Carolina who seemed to be freezing her bum off, and wondering how my daughter could traipse around in a tank top and shorts. She had been explaining cowboy garb to tourists on a cattle ranch in Deer Lodge and I think she was glad to be wearing an authentic cowboy slicker for warmth.
But it wasn’t until I came home and began catching up on some old newspaper articles from the past few days that I decided the topic of Montana weather is still a worthy one.
On Sunday, Frank Miele, the editor of our local newspaper had eulogized two young reporters who were killed last week in a plane crash in the mountains of Sanders County. They worked for the paper and had been taking a scenic excursion flight over Glacier, the Flathead Valley, and the National Bison Range at the time of the accident. He spoke highly of them both, one being a native Montanan and the other having relocated from Chicago to take the job at the Daily Interlake.
He said and I quote, “Erika had come to us from Chicago, and we had promised her that in exchange for the glamor and shopping of the big city, we would give her the grandeur of God’s country. She was intrigued and took our offer, and then suffered through the usual drudgery of a Flathead winter and the longest, bleakest, coldest spring in recent memory. We kept promising her that summer was just around the corner, and she kept asking us “Which corner?””.
I too had my doubts about cold Montana weather before I moved from Louisiana. I knew I belonged here but wondered how I would adapt to the cold and snowy winters. I’ve acclimated quite well and enjoy outdoor winter activities, although winters can seem long sometimes especially when they carry over into the spring. By that time, I think most of us have had enough and are ready for some warm sunshine. The kids around here generally don’t wait for hot weather to take off their coats and start wearing shorts and flip flops – the calendar says March and that means spring. Perhaps they are just a hardier bunch than those of us that wear our long-johns till May.
The temperatures were a little cooler than I would have liked on the trip considering we had put off going to Virginia City and Yellowstone last Memorial Day due to the cold and rain. It wasn’t bad though, we wore our jackets and I’d rather do that than have it be so hot as to be exhausting. On returning home, I was surprised to find our house was a cool 65 degrees. For the first time ever, in summertime, we turned on the heat to warm it up a bit. It’s that kind of thing that makes me continue to talk about the weather. It still amazes me.
It’s a shame Erika didn’t get a chance to truly experience all four seasons here. I believe she would have agreed with the promise that in exchange for glamour and shopping, she would receive the grandeur of God’s country.