Thomas McGuane, Knifemaker

He's got the big hammer out now, raising it high with a thick-gloved hand. It comes down hard, smacking the glowing metal bar with a dull slapping sound. Bright orange flakes fly outward from the anvil and land on the floor, where they cool to dark gray. The steel is dented only slightly. After twenty or so hits, he clutches the heavy bar with tongs and flips it over. Ten more fierce hammer blows are struck and the bar is now cooling to a cherry red. He's sweating, but the steel has barely budged—maybe a quarter of an inch smaller.

Song of the Dodo by David Quammen

Shoot the moon. That’s what Bozeman writer David Quammen attempts in his 700-page environmental epic, Song of the Dodo. It’s big, but in that space he manages to travel to the most remote spots on earth, chronicle wild scientific adventures, and explain the cause of worldwide ecosystem decay. It is complex material, but through Quammen’s gentle handling, the reader feels securely moored in an ocean of dense science. The major tenet of the book is that through development, we have made the planet into a series of biological islands.

Into the Wild

Originally an article in Outside magazine, Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild was received rather contemptuously by many Alaskans. It is the true story about a young man from a well-to-do family who starved to death in the shadow of Denali. They said he was an idealistic fool. He didn’t have the proper equipment, couldn't tell moose from caribou, didn't know Alaskan rivers become unfordable torrents as the summer melt comes down; they said youthful ignorance dictated his fate.

<i> Last Year's River <i>

With the recent release of his first novel, Last Year's River, Missoula-based Allen Morris Jones emerges into the novel writing scene with absolute luminosity. His extraordinary eye for detail and intuitive sense of old-fashioned storytelling assist tremendously in telling the story of two people, from worlds apart, who are brought together in the beautifully depicted region Jones himself has called home for nearly his entire life: the West.

Big Sky Ice: Montana Ice Climbs

Written by local Bozeman author and noted climber Ron Brunckhorst, Big Sky Ice: Montana Ice Climbs reads like a transcribed version of around-the-campfire stories, tips, and legends from local ice climbers.

Bridger Outdoor Science School: Building an Informed Community

Need a new perspective on nature? Well, you live in the right place. Bozeman is home to the Bridger Outdoor Science School (Bridger), a non-profit organization that is progressively working to educate Bozeman's youth and community by offering "interactive natural science programs that promote an appreciation and understanding of the natural world."

Winter Birding in Yellowstone

Four-footed furry creatures aren't the only inhabitants of Yellowstone's harsh winters; many birds manage to make Yellowstone their year-round residence as well. Along open waterways, look for the American Bald Eagle and the Trumpeter Swan. Also easily spotted in winter are the Barrow's Goldeneye and the Lesser Scaup.

Carl's Favorite Rides

These are some of my favorite mountain bike rides in the area. They are fun and not so technical that you’ll have to go real slow, but not wide open enough to go super fast. They’ll scare you and challenge you, but you won’t disintegrate if you wreck.

Cave Gulch

Backcountry Spirits

In the deep green world of its backcountry, a hiker with a small pair of binoculars and an alert nature will get to know, up close and personal, many of the birds of Yellowstone Park. Along the streams fringed with willow and red dogwood you can expect the slate-blue dipper, the kingfisher rattling on upcreek, and a noisy pair of spotted sandpipers teetering on the rocks.

UDAP Industries Bear Spray

Seeing a grizzly in the wild can be a thrilling experience — its massive, brown body; those powerful jaws; that great, lumbering stride. But these qualities are best enjoyed from a safe distance. When you round a bend in the trail and find yourself face-to-face with an angry, 600-pound bruin, its physical virtues are your last concern — you just want to get out of there, and fast. At this point, two things work together to determine your fate: your reaction and the bear’s reaction. The encounter becomes a sort of primordial poker game — and it’s your move.


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