Spring 2019

Features

Warriors and Quiet Waters, Female Veterans Fly Fishing
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Ali Ramirez
Female vets find solace on Montana's waters. One by one they landed at the Bozeman airport, flying in from places as far-flung as Alabama and Washington State. The veteran to whom I’d been assigned had just retired from 28 years of service in the Army. Her first combat tour was in Somalia in 1993... Details
American Prairie Reserve, PN Ranch, Bike Touring
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David Tucker
At home on the American Prairie Reserve. A side-wind blasts through the open window and a thick aroma floods my nostrils. I bring the car to a screeching halt. Sage, juniper, and prairie wildflowers mixed with the blunt stench of livestock. It’s pungent and intoxicating.Leaving the car in a pull-... Details
Public Land Access, Montana
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Whitney Tilt
As our outdoor economy booms, it's time for all of us to make a shared investment. Montana is a treasure trove of outdoor recreation, a vital and growing sector of our state’s economy. An estimated 81% of residents participate in outdoor recreation each year, spending $7.1 billion annually while... Details
Multi-Sport Season, Spring, Bozeman, Montana
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Jimmy Lewis
Overcoming a case of seasonal schizophrenia.  Walking past the fly-rod bucket in our garage to return my skis to their “in-season” rack, I feel that familiar anxiety caused by the cognitive dissonance of the equinox. The last time that spring bubbled was back in November. With the first storms of... Details

Departments

Montana Spirits, Sudden Wisdom Straight Rye Whiskey
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Mark Lewis
A classic drink comes of age. While there’s never a bad season to have a drink, spring is perhaps the best. The dark days of winter are past and the warmth of summer is on the breeze. We’re filled with anticipation for days on the river and nights ’round the fire. In our hand, we’re likely to have... Details
Whitewater Kayaking, Gallatin River, Bozeman, Montana
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Kevin Kennedy
Whitewater kayaking progression. Being able to competently navigate whitewater offers access to some of the most beautiful country in the world, while at the same time fulfilling our ancestral need for adrenaline. From multiday trips through the wilderness to bobbing and weaving through hydraulics... Details
Gopher Fishing, Hot Wings, Bozeman
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Joe King
They're finger-lickin' good. Gopher fishing is a Montana rite of passage, as essential to our heritage as gold and silver—in fact, rodentia picantur was a runner-up for our state motto. Many a parent-child tandem has celebrated that first hookset the same way for generations—by quartering the... Details
Simple Fly Fishing, Patagonia
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the editors
Simple Fly FishingDuring the long, dark days of winter, I usually find myself dreaming of powder days and compulsively checking the weather report. Last winter, however, I couldn’t stop thinking about fishing. That’s because I was reading Simple Fly Fishing (Patagonia Books, $25). In the revised... Details
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the editors
Guidelines for mud-season hiking. We’ve all been there: you leave the house, hoping to hike some nice dry trail. It’s been sunny for days and town has dried out, but you haven’t yet journeyed into the hills. Thrilled to get back into the woods, you plan an all-day outing an hour or so from home.... Details
Trail Running, Skunks, Dogs, Bozeman
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Joe Younger
Why an evening jog became a mad dash.  In my teenage years, before the smothering grip of real-world responsibility monopolized my waking hours, the athletic arena was my realm. I was always training for one sporting endeavor or another. Lifting weights, doing pushups, drinking protein shakes—I... Details
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the editors
Q&A with the gear guru.  Now that Johnny Bozeman is back in town for good, he’ll be chiming in every issue with insightful responses to your outdoor gear- and apparel-related questions. Here’s a sample.Q. Dear John, I’m new to whitewater kayaking and have plans to run House Rock this spring.... Details
Lost Dogs, Bozeman
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Dr. Michelle Pogge
How to recover lost dogs.  Spring is here and that means more time spent outside. Unfortunately, during these outings, you may find yourself separated from your dog. If you do, remain calm. The first few hours are important. Some dogs may wander back home or to the trailhead unaided, but if yours... Details
Spring Mountain Biking Etiquette, Mud Season, Bozeman, Trails
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the editors
Calling out impatient pedalers. Come spring, we’re all eager to get out. Even if we skied 50 days at Bridger and 15 more at CrossCut, we’re stir-crazy, yearning for green hillsides and tacky dirt. There’s a carefree nature to spring, and in our mind’s eye, the season starts in April, right after... Details
Trail Maintenance, Volunteering, Bozeman, Montana
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Dean Center
Taking time for trails. Why would someone give up a spring day for dirt and sweat without setting a PR or ticking off a bucket-list item? Last year, a couple dozen people did just that in the inaugural season of the Montana Wilderness Association’s new stewardship program.In addition to a love for... Details
Lead Poisoning, Birds of Prey, Montana Raptor Conservation Center
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Mike England
Make Butte proud and buy copper. Old habits die hard—and old ideas, even harder. Nowhere is this more evident than in the use of lead ammunition among hunters. In January 2017, when the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service imposed a ban on lead ammo in the country’s wildlife refuges, hunters cried foul... Details
M Trail, Bozeman
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Scott Bischke
The most popular trail in Bozeman is the M trail. For my wife Kate and I, “running” the M loop takes about 50 minutes. We usually hike the pretty-much-straight-up-the-ridge-for-800-feet route. Once we reach the M, we take a break to catch our breath. We look out and marvel at the stunning views of... Details
Bozeman, Fly Fishing, Local Manufacturers
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the O/B crew
Getting outfitted locally. Not only are Bozemanites lucky enough to have three cold, clean, trout-filled rivers within a half-hour’s drive, but we can also get completely outfitted head to toe in locally produced fishing gear. Now, it may be true that not every part of every item is sourced,... Details
Pilates, Reformer, Bozeman
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Ali Ramirez
Sliding back into shape. Spring is here, summer is just around the bend, and right now you likely fall into one of two training categories: 1) you’re right on track, to run, bike, climb, swim, and conquer whatever Herculean goal you made for 2019; or 2) you’re on the couch watching your goals and... Details
Copper City, Mountain Biking, Three Forks, Montana
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David Tucker
Biking near "Montana's favorite small town." As the town motto suggests, there’s a lot to love about Three Forks. In spring, biking is high on the list. It used to be your options were limited to a few prime weeks at Lewis & Clark Caverns, but with the addition of Copper City, “Montana’s... Details
Montana, Stargazing, Comets
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Jim Manning
Spring's shooting stars. I see thy glory like a shooting starFall to the base earth from the firmament. —Shakespeare, Richard II Ah, spring in Montana! Maybe the nights are balmier. Maybe the buds are popping. Maybe it’s stopped snowing. Regardless, some things are reliable, and we find some of... Details
Excel Physical Therapy, Climbing, Rock Climbing, Bozeman
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Matt Heyliger
Improving mechanics & preventing injury. As climbers, we are all looking for ways to make gains in strength and performance. By spring, the clock is ticking to make those gains training, prior to testing ourselves on real rock. Accurate self-assessment of current strength, power, endurance,... Details
Fly Line, Fly Fishing, Bozeman, Montana
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Jake Walbridge
A leader-and-tippet breakdown. Spring has sprung here in Montana! Rivers are ice-free, the daytime temperatures are bearable, and there’s a resurgence of fish metabolism within all of our local streams. Whether you’re a dry-fly devotee, nymphing fiend, or streamer maniac, this is the time to make a... Details
Leave No Trace, Bozeman, Montana
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Anthony Pavkovich
A leave-no-trace refresher. Come spring, we’re eager to get back on the trails and explore. However, as more and more people enjoy these shared spaces, we could all use a reminder to think about our impacts. Now is a great time to review the seven principles of Leave No Trace. Plan Ahead &... Details
Spring, Bozeman, Montana
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Drew Pogge
Free your feet, free your mind.  “Do not judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Unless they wear ski boots. Do not, under any circumstances, walk a mile in ski boots.” —Mahatma Gandhi (paraphrasing) Ahhhhh, spring. A time of great change, and great possibility; new life and... Details
Rafting, Floating, Rental, Bozeman
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the editors
“Before borrowing something from a friend, decide which you need most.” —AMERICAN PROVERBAll outdoor enthusiasts have gear closets, many have gear rooms, some have gear sheds, and a few even convert their entire garages into gear storage. All of this is to say that our toys take up a lot of room.... Details
Bozeman, Diets Fad
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Emely Lambert
Food fads debunked. This spring, as you attempt to lose that winter weight, don’t get caught up trying to navigate your way through the latest fad diet. None of them are going to necessarily help you traverse the mountains any faster, and they could even jeopardize performance. Mountain athletes... Details
Montana, Fly Fishing, Spring, Bozeman
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the editors
After a cold Montana winter, every angler aches for warm days on the water. And what could be better than a pleasant spring afternoon, fly rod in hand? Birds chirping, sun shining, fish jumping, right?DreamForced to suffer a long winter of fly tying and trip-planning, you emerge from inactivity to... Details
Bozeman, Fitness, Gym, Studio
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the editors
New fitness trends invigorate Bozeman’s workout scene.   Used to be, if you wanted to whip yourself into shape, you went for a hike or run before work and hit the gym after, to pump iron, spin on the stationary bike, and otherwise indulge in what amounted to the same old indoor routine. Sure,... Details
Hebgen Lake, Lake Fishing, Alpine Fishing, Fishing in Montana
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Jimmy Lewis
This spring, skip runoff. Like most local fishermen, I’m drawn to moving water—which is understandable, given the many blue-ribbon streams that run like arteries through southwest Montana. But lately I’ve learned to endure my buddies’ skeptical sneers as I decline a day on the river to pursue bliss... Details
Bighorn Canyon, Billings Montana
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Traute Parrie
A spring road-trip to Bighorn Canyon. It often seems that cabin fever strikes Montanans all at once, as refugees from winter start running into their next-door neighbors (and their cousins from every other northern state) in the canyonlands and reservoirs of southern Utah. For those of you who don’... Details
Beartooth Pass, Cooke City, Red Lodge, Skiing
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the editors
Spring break, Montana-style. When March rolls around, it’s hard not to think of white-sand beaches and umbrella-adorned cocktails. Before you break out the boardies and head for the beach, celebrate spring the Bozeman way—by skiing until May. Here’s how to pull it off.Stay SocialSkiers are social... Details
Jim Bridger Run, Bozeman, Montana
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Maury Wiegand
Take your running to the trails. So, this is the year that you’re going to start trail running. As a lover of all Gallatin Valley trails, I’m here to help, with some assistance from a panel of expert trail enthusiasts.First off, leave your ego at home. If you’re new to trail running, your road 5k... Details
Urban Kitchen, Bozeman, Montana
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Joseph Romano
Charcoal-grilled ribeye with fire-roasted veggies. Spring represents the return of a lot of things, including a return to the outdoor grill. Across the Gallatin Valley, as temps hover in the 50s and evening light lasts until dinnertime, folks are firing up the charcoal and throwing meat on the... Details
Missouri River, Spring Floats, Bozeman, Montana
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Phil Knight
Top spring floats in southwest Montana. The great thing about spring in Montana is that you get to float what you skied all winter. Rivers are swelling with snowmelt, buds are bursting, geese are honking, ducks are mating, beavers emerging: it’s time to dust off the paddles, dig out the PFD, change... Details
Grizzly Bears, Population, Behavior, Bozeman
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Joe King
Beware of the bear pods. Imagine, for a moment, that you’re walking through the woods on a popular hiking trail when you see a flash of fur, a blast of brown. A bear. A big one—a grizzly. It’s still 50 yards away, but it’s looking at you. Staring at you. Your pupils dilate, your muscles tighten,... Details
Illustration by Michelle Osman
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Sid Gustafson
A poem, a path ineffable.A forest, a hill, a ski. That walk  Where Bozeman dogs flock to talk. The Deaconess squares higher into our viewshed. Birdseye views of the cemeteryAccompany annual physicals these days, chasing time.  Over the fence, a plastic-flowered Vietnam War memorial.Cats I nipped—... Details

Gear Reviews

Review: Thermarest NeoAir X-Lite, Backpacking Gear, Bozeman
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Ian Roderer
I’ve spent hundreds of nights in the outdoors over the past 20 years. In that time, I’ve had many poor nights of sleep on substandard pads, from the vintage folding foam jobber that I used as a boy scout, through various brands of air mattresses that all seemed to weigh a ton and never hold air... Details
Review: Helinox Chair & Table
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Mike England
Ever since Helinox redefined the lightweight, collapsible camp chair, I’ve kept two of them in my car-camping kit—they're compact and comfortable, and they set up quickly. And now that the company has come out with a lightweight version—the Chair Zero—I carry one in my pack, too, for more relaxing... Details
Cannae Pro Gear Deuter T3 Tactical
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Mike England
The word "tactical" may be overused these days (one company even sells tactical camp chairs, whatever that means), but it definitely applies to the two packs I'm trying out during this year's hunting season, as each features genuine military attributes. Take the T3 Tactical Fanny Pack, for instance... Details
Sherpa Asaar 2.5 Review
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Chris McCarthy
Come spring, high-performance rain gear is a must. Look no further than Sherpa’s Asaar 2.5. Featuring Himaltec fabric, the Asaar sheds water while quickly transferring sweat vapor. While the coat is “form-fitting,” there’s just enough room for a warmth layer on those days when the rain won’t quit... Details
Review: Nikon ProStaff 3s
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Mike England
It's easy to drop some serious dough on optics, but it's not always necessary. For a solid binocular at a great price, don't overlook the Nikon ProStaff 3s. Lightweight and waterproof, with a rubberized non-slip surface, the 3s lets in loads of light, offering impressive sharpness and a bright,... Details
Review: Bridgedale Lightweight T2
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Mike England
Spend enough time with different socks on your feet and eventually you’ll settle on one or two brands that fit better and last longer than the rest. For me, Bridgedale fits that bill, and their Hike Lightweight T2 Boot is no exception. Soft, snug, and just the right thickness for variable spring... Details
Review: Sherpa Gurkhali
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Simon Peterson
Imagine your favorite jeans on steroids and wah-la, you get the Sherpa Gurkhali. Not only do they contain Dyneema—the strongest and most durable fiber in the world—they’re lightweight, soft, and moisture-wicking. The gusseted crotch, two-way stretch-and-recovery fabric, and heavy duty reinforced... Details
Review: Outdoor Research Airfoil
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David Tucker
For years, I’ve done all my trail running in one pair of Nike soccer shorts. High time for an upgrade. I opted for the Airfoil from Outdoor Research. They’re lightweight, have a small zippered pocket at the lower back, and a lie-flat cinchable waistline. My favorite feature is the built-in... Details
Review: Alpenfuel Summit Snack Box
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Mike England
In this age of infinite information and unlimited choices, curation is paramount—and food is no exception. AlpenFuel’s Summit Snack Box selects a pile of outdoor snacks for you, so all you have to do is grab ‘em and go. From energy bars to mini-waffles to pumpkin seeds, every item is handpicked... Details
Review: Lezyne Mega XL
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David Tucker
Lezyne’s Mega XL GPS is your activity-tracking app on steroids—a lot of steroids. It has every feature you can imagine, from smartphone synchronization to downloadable routes for offline navigation. The battery packs plenty of punch, with 48 hours of run time, and the included swivel mounts... Details
Review: Session II
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Taylor Burlage
Looking for a versatile, lightweight climbing partner? The Metolius Session II crash pad is a reliable choice. Made to be carried on your back, it makes getting in and out of more remote climbing spots easy. Its system of Velcro and buckles seems complex, but takes no time at all to set up and pack... Details
Review: Nemo Escape Pod
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David Tucker
When you’re traveling light and fast in the backcountry, space and weight are always at a premium. The Escape Pod from NEMO checks both of those boxes. This no-frills bivy provides little protection from the elements, so if the forecast calls for rain, make sure to pack a fly. What it does provide... Details
Review: Nemo Tensor Ultralight
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David Tucker
There’s light, there’s ultralight, and then there’s the Tensor Ultralight from NEMO. At around 10 oz., you might forget you packed it. I tried one on a bikepacking trip, because as much as I enjoy grueling hike-a-bikes, I need a restful night’s sleep. The Tensor delivered. It inflates easily and... Details
Review: Camp Chef Rainier
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Angie Mangels
With the compact and efficient Rainier two-burner stove from Camp Chef, a hot beverage on a chilly morning is never more than a few minutes away. With one regular burner plus a griddle platform, your cooking options are limitless. Whether frying up bacon or a veggie scramble, the griddle plate is... Details
Review: AIRE River Couch
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Dave Schroeder
This past spring, my buddy and I were enjoying some hang time at a whitewater festival and chatting with a paddling-gear rep. As we were about to part ways, the rep stopped and said, “Hold on a sec, bro, I’ve got some absolutely sick lifestyle pieces over in the van you’ve got to check out!”From... Details

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