Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back to the Hustle and Bustle of a Big City: Missoula, MT

Missoula, MT is the largest city we've visited in 3 months. It's nice to have things like Costco, REI, the amazing Good Food Store, and an inexpensive haircut place available for a change, but the traffic is horrendous and the temps have been hovering around 90 degrees. Luckily our RV park, Jim and Mary's, is an oasis of green amidst the rolling golden hills just outside the hubbub of town.

Yes, the hills are golden here...we are now at about 3500 feet in elevation, so along with the high temps, the soothing greens we experienced in Colorado are mostly a distant memory, at least for a few days. We've had to get out earlier for exercise to beat the heat and Rattlesnake National Recreation Area provided a shady reprieve just a few miles North of town. There's miles of trails here, both flat and steep, foot and bike and horse friendly. We hiked an 8 mile loop using Rattlesnake, Wallman and Stuart Peak trails; Wallman had some pretty steep sections.

Rattlesnake Creek

The Clark Fork River goes through town and has a nice paved walking and biking path alongside. On Saturdays there are three different farmers markets to choose from; we went to the Clark Fork market and were amazed at the large number of vendors and the reasonable prices for gorgeous produce. It was so crowded I didn't take any photos. We've walked and drove some of the neighborhoods around town and have seen some lovely old buildings.

On the University of Montana campus.

While there are several disc golf courses in Missoula, Blue Mountain got the best reviews so we had to check it out. This course ranges across hills and gullys and provides a great workout with excellent views.

Hole 10: you have to throw about 600 feet into the valley below the tee.

Hans is a fan of 60's garage/psychedelic rock and when we noticed an event highlighting art from that turning point in music we knew we had to go. Lost Sounds Montana strives to preserve and make accessible the music and history of local bands from this era.

Art by musician Kim Sherman.

Gig posters from early 60's.

We managed to meet up once again with Tim and Amanda as our stay overlapped with theirs at the same RV park. No pictures this time, but we had a fun happy hour at their Airstream one evening. Who knows, our paths may cross again in Bend! (Amanda, After tasting your awesome kale pesto I made my own from our farmers market haul...absolutely delicious! Thanks for the inspiration!)

On our last full day (today) we took our bikes to Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and rode to the Franklin Bridge. It's a beautiful and easy 16 mile RT on an old fire road (though some long sections were rather rocky...the kind that's easy to ride over but jounces your innards like crazy even if you stand up).

Most of the ride was on the main trail, but this offshoot singletrack took us through some pretty forest.

Rattlesnake Creek

Bee hive along Rattlesnake Creek.

Tomorrow we're off to Bigfork for a week. We'll meet up with some former San Diego neighbors, Paula and Leslie. Looking forward to some tasty dinners together and getting in some time on the water!


  1. Sometimes it's nice to have access to big city shopping, despite the traffic. The farmers market sounds great. We haven't found any reasonably priced ones anywhere so far this summer.

  2. What a great time! Nothing better than beautiful hiking, biking, disc golf, AND great stores!! Isn't it funny how we love the secluded back country but so excited to see real stores. Looks like you had a fantastic time:)

    How neat to meet up with Tim and Amanda again even if only one evening. I just saw a recipe for kale pesto. We love kale, so I will definitely try the kale pesto.

  3. Loved Bigfork ... that and the drive around Flathead Lake was my favorite part of visiting Glacier.

  4. Looks like a great stop! I love the little small towns but it is nice to have access to shopping every now and then. We are trying to work it out to see you in Bend next month!