Living in Montana
Living in Montana means that you're just one in a million. Yes, only one million people live in the 2nd biggest state of the USA. Why so little? I can't figure it out, because the land is vast and friendly. Maybe the weather scares people off - it gets pretty cold in winter and snows abundantly as well. But imagine the joy of first snow and a first snowboard ride of the year! Some say only crazy people go to the mountains in winter. Well, I used to be one of those, now I'm one of these, the crazy ones, enjoying my winter to the fullest.
Living in Montana means ignoring squirrels, rabbits and deer. Why ignoring? There are so many of them everywhere that you just stop noticing them. That is until some squirrel gets suicidal and jumps at the electricity wires, causing the blackout in one or two houses in the street. Other than that, only little kids and photographers chase poor little rodents in the streets. Deer are common too, in the backyards, chewing on the bark in your garden. So you aren't particularly fond of them. Other animals are less common and hard to spot in towns. But there are plenty of bears, bison, wolves in the countryside so you'd better watch it. Another thing you should watch out for is rattlesnakes. There are quite a few in the grass. Not in the city though.
Living in Montana means being crazy about the sky. Every American state has a nickname. Now, Montana is a “big sky country”. And it surely is. The sky is big, huge, enormous. It's never the same. It changes a lot. From peacefully blue and turquoise to deeply gray and sinister. No matter where you are, no matter what you do, the sky is there for you to look at. It gets into the deepest corners of your soul, makes sure you never forget about it and keep looking more and more, unable to fight this addiction. By the way, if the weather's right, you can see northern lights in Montana.
Living in Montana means going to rodeos and loving country music. It is, after all, a cowboy state. Men and women wear cowboy boots and cowboy hats. There are numerous farmlands and ranches, with cows and horses grazing all over the place. Rodeo is a big thing. People from all over the state come to watch tiny kids riding a sheep, teenagers roping goats or calves, and sturdy cowboys riding bucking broncos or trying to balance themselves on raging bulls. Hotdogs, corndogs, popcorn, sodas and beer turn it into a quite enjoyable evening entertainment. And no rodeo can do without some good country music.
Living in Montana means getting to know Indians or Native Americans (politically correct way to call them). There are seven Indian reservations in Montana. I was lucky to visit one of the Indian powwows - a kind of festival or celebration where Native Americans dress up in their traditional clothes, sing their songs, perform traditional dances and rituals, eat traditional food. It's really different from what you might expect to see in America and is definitely worth checking out.
Living in Montana means having mountains in your backyard. The Rockies are just 60 miles or a one-hour-drive away. The land is really flat and if the sky is clear you can see not only the mountains but also the skiing slopes quite clearly despite the great distance. They are a perfect destination any time of the year: skiing or snowboarding in winter, camping and sightseeing in summer. There are a number of scenic highways in the Rockies, which will let you appreciate the true beauty of the mountains with their waterfalls, flat plateaus and colorful rocks (we were lucky to take Chief Joseph and Beartooth scenic roads). A short drive might take the whole day only because it's too beautiful to just drive by. And I can say without exaggaration that it's like driving on top of the world.
Living in Montana means being a fisher, a hunter or at least a camper. Every true Montanan knows everything about hunting ammo, can share best fishing spots with you and knows what game is in season. Almost any animal or bird is game here. And almost every household can treat themselves to deer jerky once in a while. At the same time poaching is prohibited and strongly disapproved. Hunting is allowed only in certain seasons. One should also pay attention to the type of weapon allowed: sometimes it's just a bow or a crossbow. As for camping, there's hardly a place where you can't pinch a tent in Montana. Officially there are 55 state parks in Montana, where you can enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, boating and many other things. How can one not be a camper?
Living in Montana means being a regular at the first national park in the world - the Yellowstone. The Yellowstone National Park was founded in 1872 to preserve natural beauty and wonders of the region. It is located in three states: Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. I could tell a lot about Yellowstone Lake, numerous hot springs, Yellowston Canyon and its waterfalls but it's better to see all those wonders with your own eyes. One thing I actually want to tell about is Old Faithful Geyser. It is often mentioned as one of the most popular features of the Yellowstone. The geyser is called Old Faithful because it faithfully erupts every hour and 20 minutes or so for more than 100 years now. Never misses. Never stops. And it is a marvelous sight indeed. So what's living in Montana like? Unforgettable. Unimaginable. Unbelievable. You've got to go and try living in Montana. At least for a week.
- to figure out – understand
- to scare off – frighten away
- abundantly – in large quantities
- suicidal – deeply unhappy or depressed and likely to commit suicide
- blackout – a failure of electrical power supply
- to chew on – bite and work (food) in the mouth with the teeth
- be fond of – having an affection or liking for
- to spot – see, notice, or recognize
- to watch out for – be alert, be on the lookout
- be crazy about – very fond of someone or something
- sinister – giving the impression that something harmful or evil is happening or will happen
- northern lights – an aurora that occurs in earth's northern hemisphere
- to graze – eat grass in a field
- all over the place – everywhere
- broncos – a wild or half-tamed horse, especially of the western US
- do without – to have to manage without something
- to get to know – get acquainted with
- to dress up – to put on the best or fanciest clothing
- to check out – examine or investigate
- to appreciate – recognize the full worth of
- to drive by – pass in a car without stopping
- game – wild animals, including birds and fishes, such as are hunted for food or taken for sport or profit
- to treat oneself to – provide something enjoyable as a reward
- jerky – meat that has been cured by being cut into long, thin strips and dried
- poaching – hunting animals illegally
- crossbow – a kind of a medieval bow
- to pinch a tent – put up a tent
- to be a regular – come to some place really often
- hot springs – hot water that flows up from under the ground
- to erupt – become active and eject lava, ash, water etc.
- marvelous – causing great wonder; extraordinary
- The Rockies – The Rocky Mountains
- rodent – a type of small animal that has long sharp front teeth, for example a mouse
- ammo – informal of ammunition: bullets, shells that are fired from guns