Tag Archives: rural west

Montana Ode to Spring– A Walk In The Woods

…in honor of all mothers of every kind everywhere…

“If it’s wild to your own heart, protect it. Preserve it. Love it. And fight for it, and dedicate yourself to it, whether it’s a mountain range, your wife, your husband, or even (god forbid) your job. It doesn’t matter if it’s wild to anyone else: if it’s what makes your heart sing, if it’s what makes your days soar like a hawk in the summertime, then focus on it. Because for sure, it’s wild, and if it’s wild, it’ll mean you’re still free. No matter where you are.” ― Rick Bass


Sandhill Crane


photo credit: fwallpapers.com

There are days in Montana when you feel like you are actually dancing with flora and fauna. On just a regular Saturday drive through the woods, in addition to countless critters, today I saw some rare ones:
A Sandhill Crane
A Black Bear

A Loon
A Trumpeter Swan
A Bald Eagle with a fish in its talons

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan



And some springtime favorites:
Calypso Orchid (Fairy Slippers)
Glacier Lily
Oregon Grape
Wild Strawberry

And my very favorite NW Montana tree: (the only conifer to lose its needles each fall) The Larch, so new and green among its fellow soldier conifers


Calypso Orchid





Glacier Lily



Wild Strawberry


Oregon Grape




I would love to share my Montana Muse with you at a Haven Retreat
2015 (now booking)

June 3-7 (full with wait list)
June 17-21 (full with wait list)
September 9-13 (almost full)
September 23-27
October 7-11
October 21-25

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
–John Muir


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Support The Whitefish Trail!

THE WHITEFISH TRAIL (formally known as The Trail Runs Through It project)

I have lived in Whitefish for 17 years. When I first moved here, I was a city girl. I didn’t understand the value of open space any more than I understood what it would be like to fall in love with it. How land gets under your skin and makes you whole. Calls you to be your best self by challenging you with its humility and inspiration. As I slowly made Montana my home, I fell in love with the freedom of hopping on a horse and heading into the hills. Of who I was when I mused upon the grit and grace of life out on the trail. The honesty and vulnerability it required of me, bald eagles soaring, bear scat front and center, moose moving like ghosts in and out of aspen groves.

And then I started to notice fences. Lots of them. I’d go into an area that had helped me grieve my father’s death, or celebrate my child’s birth—to greet it like an old friend, to learn from it– and it would be gone. “No trespassing” signs were left in its wake like a fouled eulogy. Suddenly in Big Sky Country, we had gated communities. Built by city people who, like me, didn’t understand the privilege of wandering rights. They understood the idea of us/them. Not us/us. They understood how to enthrone power and even fear. They didn’t understand what Montana has to teach.

A few years ago I had the privilege of sitting on a steering committee that built the foundation for what is now a trail system that is setting a new precedent for open space in the rural west. The goal is to have a hundred miles of non-motorized trail around our town, linking private to public land. The Whitefish Trail is as inspiring as it is inspired, and if we can receive our state’s support, we can continue to teach the developing rural west how to build future communities. Responsibly and, as Montana has taught so many, with respect and humility. Please support the Whitefish Trail. And to the powers-that-be, please honor our community’s good work by helping us continue our dream.


Laura Munson

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