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Big Sky, Montana - Get Stoked!

© by Lyn Higgins
 
Absaroka Mountain

We arrive at 6:05 P.M, and step out into Great White Hope - aka Bozeman, Montana. We forge ahead to our 4-wheel-drive Avalanche rental, load our gear, and drive towards our cabin along the Gallatin River. We see the silhouette of the Gallatin Mountains and the backdrop of the Montana sky as well as the Gallatin River which ripples along the canyon. The night sky glistens against the water.
     Next morning, we are hypnotized by views of the surrounding valley and its blanket of fleece fallen throughout the night. We head for breakfast at the rustic dining hall, complementary at the 320 Ranch: a sweet mountain breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, honey ham, sausage, fruit, numerous breads and beverages, cereals, and more!

320 Diningroom   Buffalo   Our Cabin   Countryside    Dog Sled   Dog Sled

     The next two days we shred at Moonlight Basin. We hit the first lift in front of us, the Pony Express. Because neither of us snowboarded here before, we get acquainted with the terrain and mountain nomenclature prior to hitting the aggressive runs. Next, we hit the Six Shooter for some advanced riding on the upper slopes. The Six Shooter Lift, located just below Madison Village, is the only access to the upper mountain runs, but offers a complete mini lodge adorned with gift shop, deli bar, rentals, internet access, and entertainment area; a place where the locals hang out between sessions.
     After the upper mountain, we head back to Moonlight Lodge to re-stoke our fires. My daughter, a strict vegetarian, orders the Veggie Works and soda. I select the fully stacked hamburger and fries with a quenching soda.
     The following day we take a pause from snowboarding, and attempt something more Nordic - dog sledding. We arrive at the northern exposure to Moonlight Basin around noon, and park along the tree line that borders the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area. Upon entering the glade, we are confronted with five sleds and approximately 60 Alaskan Huskies. Following a nose-to-nose personal encounter with the pack, we are briefed on riding and dog etiquette required to drive our team through the mountain valley without mishap - and of course, what to do if there is one. We start preparing our sled, and the dogs go wild!

My Team

     The Alaskan Husky is the workhorse of the North, and bred for endurance. They are capable of pulling hundreds of pounds of equipment through snow and mountain terrain, and no other breed can match them in speed or agility. Gentle and playful, and an excellent family pet; however, they require a great deal of attention due to their emotional appetite.
     The backcountry views are breathtaking. The terrain, rugged and pristine, far exceeds our expectations in beauty and splendor. After 45 minutes into our run, we pause for chocolate-chip cookies and hot cocoa. Following our tasty treats and prior to our return, my daughter is asked by the lead musher to head the team back to Moonlight Basin; she is elated! Not only is she overjoyed, but also a little intimidated that it's up to her to get us back in one piece. Watching her expressions as she drives the team back to MLB reveals that this is the most invigorating and fun-filled experience she has had on the trip!
     Because this is our last ride of the season, we do it big, Big Sky big! Big Sky touts 5,512 acres of runs, 220 trails, 4,350 feet of vertical drop, 26 lifts, and backcountry riding. After hitching a ride on the Swift-Current lift, we are transported approximately two miles up the mountain to the bottom of the south wall. From here, we have our pick of intermediate and advanced runs; and if looking to progress your riding, this is the place. We spend most of our time shredding the Lobo and Calamity runs, but no time at Big Sky is ever complete without going to Lone Peak, a cool 4,350 feet above the base lift. Today it's inaccessible, engulfed by cloud cover. Following some additional riding on adjacent trails, it's back to the 320 Steak House for some "Cast-Iron Apple Tart Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream," a sweet decadence!

Gallatin Valley   Emily Takes The Lead    Ram    Ski Lodge Ski Run   Yellowstone National Park

     When visiting Montana or Utah, no visit is complete without experiencing Yellowstone National Park and although closed to the public today, wildlife adventures were still available at the Northern Ridge and Lamar Valley via shuttle transport or snow coach. Fortunately for us, we are able to snatch a ride on a shuttle, and spend the day traversing the park and viewing the pristine wildlife.
     The experiences forged while exploring South Western Montana will remain always with us. From the cuisine to the rugged beauty of the environment, we became one with the Great White Hope!

Mountain View - Great White Hope



Photo Credits
Lyn Higgins
Bozeman Chamber of Commerce

Lyn Higgins worked for the John F. Kennedy Space Center as a Lead Software Engineer for NASA. Currently, Lyn teaches at the "Institute for Engineering" at Lyman High School, and instructs courses in modeling and simulation engineering, and computer science.
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If you go
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bozeman
Wikitravel: http://wikitravel.org/en/Bozeman
About.com: http://gonw.about.com/od/attractionsmt/...
Places of worship: http://www.yellowpages.com/bozeman-mt/churches...
Fiction: http://www.amazon.com/25-books-of-Montana-fiction/...

Travel Aid
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Currency conversion: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
Distance calculator: http://www.indo.com/distance/
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Maps (Google interactive map): http://maps.google.com/
Maps (Mapquest) U.S. & Canada: http://www.mapquest.com/maps/main.adp
Maps (Mapquest) World: http://www.mapquest.com/maps/main.adp?country=GB
Media Guide (local newspapers with current listings): http://www.abyznewslinks.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/
Time zone converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/
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