Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Missoula, Montana. A Sweet Little Town.

Sep 5, 2013 - (Writing From Spokane, Washington)

** At the bottom of this post you can see the rest of my Missoula photos by following a link **

After the mini-fiasco of a late day visit to Yellowstone and then a long, long nightime drive to Bozeman and a hotel, we needed a rest. So leaving Bozeman we headed further west on Interstate 90 to Missoula, Montana, a sweet college town nestled in mountains with the Clark Fork river running through it, it has a youthful and liberal sensibility.

Missoula had been a sleepy little crossroads until the Northern Pacific railroad came to town in 1883 and transformed it into a prosperous commercial center and helping build the local lumber industry. Today, the lumber industry has long departed and the University of Montana is the largest employer.

Missoula Country Court House
It was good to sleep late and not to have to drive for hours. So we took our time and wandered around the town. Our friend Jane has family in Missoula. She supplied us with a list of restaurants and other points of interest and that helped us explore.

A "mirror" shot
One of the things we had been noting as we were driving through the west was the popularity of bicycle touring. We saw cyclists, fully loaded with bags and supplies, rolling up steep mountains, bound for destinations far away. One guy replied, when I asked him where he was coming from, said "Jackson, Wyoming.," That was hundreds of miles distant. Impressive. Some people are very adventurous and I love that. The town itself was very bicycle oriented with lot of dedicated cycle paths and lots and lots of people commuting around the city on two wheels and under their own power. Many of those were students but I also saw many older people going here and there by bike - the town has made it very easy for them.
Missoula actively promotes cycling and it's a destination for cyclists from all over.

Bikes all over town. Nice!

We really loved Montana. There are less than a million people in the entire state. But what amazing beauty! After two nights inMissoula, we'd travel north through the Mission Valley, past enormous Flathead Lake and into the remote and incredibly beautiful Glacier National Park. What a great trip this has been!  Later!

Missoula is nestled in the mountain. It's a center for lovers of nature, bikers and hikers.
In five minutes you can leave the city and find yourself in rugged and beautiful forest and mountain.

See the rest of my Missoula photos HERE.