Lab rats

A sometimes uncomfortably intimate look at Montana’s cutting-edge athlete-performance research facility, and its contagiously enthusiastic leader, Dr. Brent Ruby

As we wait for the heat chamber to warm up, Brent Ruby and his senior researchers, John Cuddy and Walter Hailes, regale me with stories of misadventure in the measurement of core temperature.

(Head Trip)  

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Where the wild things are

Encounters with just about every creature at Wade Lake

Micah, my 18-year-old stepson, took three steps into the crystalline waters of Wade Lake.

Apr 1, 2014

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Blown away

A trip to Two Medicine Lake involves one major problem and an unexpected discovery

The New Year was coming and I was restless.

(Head Trip)   Dec 1, 2013

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White noise

The last thing you hear before an avalanche sweeps you under can be as subtle as trees rustling in the breeze

Growing up in Montana I’d come to think of the state as a super-size playground with terrain to satisfy any kind of exploration.

Dec 1, 2013

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I’m gonna get you Chukar

Old hands, young dogs and a search for the elusive upland bird

For most of two decades, a single line in the Montana Upland Bird regs has annually piqued my curiosity: “Chukar partridge occur primarily in Carbon County.” I’d moved to Montana in my twenties, and amid the embarrassment of autumn’s outdoor riches I never did get around to trying for chukar.

(Head Trip)   Sep 1, 2013

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Chasing perfection

Or how I learned to suck it up and appreciate fly fishing

Day 1: The Bitterroot There’s a point where normal, otherwise benign activities can border on the aesthetic.

(Head Trip)   Jun 1, 2013

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On the move

One climber’s future comes into focus on Canyon Peak

All we needed to do was get down.

Jun 1, 2013

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High on cedar

Alpine strollin’ in the Madison Range

The email from my manager, stern but instructive, arrived Wednesday afternoon.

Apr 1, 2013

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Skiing up a storm

The weather’s wet. The snow’s suspect. The trek’s treacherous. Other than that, springtime in Glacier is grand.

Frozen June snow covered the steep west face of Trapper Ridge as I zigzagged between wind-stunted Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir, aiming for the tiny saddle above.

(Head Trip)   Apr 1, 2013

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Chasing snow ghosts

A years-long search comes to its end on Downing Mountain

My heart rate is somewhere around 160 beats per minute.

(Head Trip)   Dec 1, 2012

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Powder, peeps and PBR

How to survive when you’re in a world of yurts

The wife and I arrive at the agreed-upon meeting spot approximately 11 miles from the yurts.

Dec 1, 2012

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Take it to the limit

A sports fan’s friendly wager leads to a sportsman’s dream hunt

Though the words differ only by a space and a letter, the worlds of the sportsman and the sports fan are leagues apart.

(Head Trip)   Sep 1, 2012

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Mind over mountain

Climbing Glacier's Mount St. Nicholas requires some gear and a lot of nerve

Under a smoky gauze of September sky, I wedged my back into the cold, dihedral, dangled my legs over a narrow ledge and peered 4,000 feet down to the V-necked bottom of Coal Creek. Mount Doody, sharp as a wolf's tooth, stood directly across the way. I shuddered and forced a deep breath. This was all wrong.

(Head Trip)   May 28, 2012

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Oh, Pioneers!

A newbie backpack trip to Torrey Lake that would make Darwin proud

The Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway carried me deeper into the valley between the high, jagged eastern peaks and timbered, gently sloping West Pioneers, meandering past flowered meadows wet with streams, grassland ranges speckled with livestock, and thick lodgepole forests. The mountains captivated me—I knew I couldn't be satisfied with just one bike trip. I needed to get into them, on foot.

(Head Trip)   May 28, 2012

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Heaven & high water

A kid’s first fishing trip reels the mind

I looked back and forth between my son and two antelope literally roaming the dusk-lit prairie between the Front Range and the Big Belts and thought: This is what I always wanted before I knew I wanted it.

(Head Trip)   Apr 1, 2012

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Wet & Wild

The Bigfork Whitewater Festival celebrates liquid love

It’s Saturday morning at the public park in Bigfork and I’m hoping to catch some of the nervous energy among the paddlers signing up for the 37th Bigfork Whitewater Festival. A heavy drizzle drums the taut nylon tents and the candy-colored kayaks. I figure the “Wild Mile” must be at a menacing level.

(Head Trip)   Apr 1, 2012

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Making tracks

Izaak Walton Inn puts powder on the line

Skate skiing, cross-country skiing, backcountry skiing— anything on planks—is the pièce de résistance during a winter stay at the Izaak Walton resort by a railroad yard in tiny Essex, Montana.

(Head Trip)   Dec 1, 2011

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Tank goodness

Pyramid Peak beckons the sled-to-shred crowd

I expected the snowmobile to make some bratty exhaust noise and steer more like a barge than a motorbike. The full body workout required to drive it, however, came as a surprise.

(Head Trip)   Dec 1, 2011

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Archives


Right outside

Dec 15, 2015

Missoula is a wilderness town. Travel south down Highway 93 and the sprawling Bitterroot-Selway Wilder-ness stretches to the west. Head...

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Perfect imperfections

Dec 15, 2015

A few years back, I got on the Grizzly chair at Snowbowl for one more run. It was toward the...

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Learning to kick and glide

Dec 15, 2015

I can't relate to people who exult over fresh powder. The words take me back to Big Sky Ski Resort,...

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Grey Wolf Peak Circumnaviagtion

Jun 2, 2014

A steep climb out of a bowl to a snowy plateau and ridgeline brought us as close to Grey Wolf as we would get that day and a good look at the summit run, which looked steep and scary from that angle.

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Location Updates

  • Re: Blodgett Mountain

    Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star
    • Highly recommend visiting Blodgett Mountain. There's a famous paleontologist related to Joseph Blodgett.

    • on May 7, 2016
  • Re: Hieronymus Park

    Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star
    • great park, some good fishing and lots of trails to explore! Only bummer is dogs…

    • on April 14, 2015
  • Re: The Jack Saloon

    Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star
    • Winter hours: Grill: Noon until 8 weeknights: Noon until 9 Fri and Saturday. Call for…

    • on December 30, 2014
  • Re: Goldbug Hot Springs

    Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star Rating Star
    • Gold bug IS the gem of the northwest! I've hiked goldbug in September2013, February2014 &…

    • on October 30, 2014
  • More »

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