ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Summer Vacation in Montana!

Updated on July 3, 2015

Beautiful Montana

Glacier Park
Glacier Park
Yellowstone Park, Old Faithful
Yellowstone Park, Old Faithful
Paradise Valley, MT
Paradise Valley, MT
Original Montana capital; Haunted Bannack Hotel
Original Montana capital; Haunted Bannack Hotel
Virginia City, MT
Virginia City, MT

Summer Vacation in my home state Montana

Around the end of May in Montana, Winter has finally released its icy grip (yes, May! We had a snowstorm the week before school let out for the summer on May 28th!). I've lived in the northeastern part of the state most of my life, also teaching here for more than 20 years. Every year, I've taken my children on fantastic vacations, mostly out of state. But one of the best vacations I ever had with them was an impromptu camping trip around Montana.

As we traveled, our destination vaguely "west" -- I purchased items along the way -- tents, sleeping bags, hatchet, lantern, etc. It was the best trip, and totally unplanned. Our dog came along, then just a puppy. One day, as I was washing clothes and the kids were swimming (did I mention I am a KOA camper? Must have my shower!)....our dog P.J. was tied to a tree near our tent. When we got back to the tent, he had torn out a panel and was lying comfortably and happily on one of the sleeping bags. We couldn't get too mad at him; he was lonesome and wanted to be near us somehow, even if it was at the expense of the rest of our trip! We stayed that night at a hotel, and it felt so stuffy and hot! I loved sleeping outside. We even felt sorry for those "campers" who parked their RV's near our tents and didn't fully experience the camping adventure.

That camping trip was about 15 years ago and my children are now 24 and 25, still with great memories of our annual summer trek to wherever we wanted to go. Now I have a 7 year old and have taken her on great vacations as well. Last year, we had an absolutely perfect trip to the west coast - Portland to see my older daughter (now 25) and Seattle to visit family as well, including a trip to the ocean. Kristyn has also been to Minnesota where my son (now 24) lives, so we've had fun at the Mall of America, stood under Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, along with the world's largest buffalo in Jamestown, ND. Great memories, great vacations.

This summer, I had planned to go to Disneyland with her but my budget isn't going to stretch that far this year. Our Montana winter got the best of my house, with a power outage for four days that caused a lot of damage when water pipes burst in the wall. To make a long story short, insurance covered about half of what the expenses were -- thus, the budget changes! However, that will not stop me from taking a fantastic vacation -- right here in Montana!

I need to reinvest in a good tent and sleeping bags, but still have my hatchet and lantern. Kristyn is being very grown-up about the change in plans for Disneyland and is excited for this adventure. And she loves it that our dog (Maya -- much better behaved than little PJ was) gets to travel with us!

My trip will start in the far northeastern corner of Montana, where we live. It's over 600 miles across our state and my first destination will be Glacier Park at the far northwest corner. Majestic, snow-covered mountains, crystal clear lakes, and the Going To The Sun Highway -- where at the summit, we can frolick in the snow and watch the mountain goats balancing on the high precipices as graceful as ballerinas. I have a little aside story about the mountain goats there. On a trip with my older children, we parked the car on the Going to the Sun Highway and took a little walk down a path -- about 100 yards away from the car. Lots of other cars stopped there as well. As we got close to one of the cliffs, we heard a rustling in the bushes. My first thought was "BEAR!" and I realized we were in a bad situation (cliff on one side, bear on the other). Instead, however, it was a little mountain goat, running down HIS path (the one we were trespassing on), planning to take a little trip down the cliff. He stopped short when he saw that we were in the way --- then seemed to shake his head in disgust at our presence, and headed straight down the cliff a few feet away from us. It was awesome!

After Glacier Park, we will enjoy the beautiful drive down the western part of the state, including Paradise Valley -- so aptly named. For me, I can't go further until I have stopped and camped along the Flathead Lake, eaten Flathead cherries and huckleberries, and shopped in the quaint little town of Big Fork, known by a number of names such as the "Village by the Bay" and "One of the 100 Best Small Art Towns of the Nation". I've always told my older kids, when they make their fortunes they can buy me a cabin by Flathead Lake (or the Ocean, I'm not particular!!).

So many great places to stop and camp -- but before we get to Yellowstone Park, I must take Kristyn to the Virginia City summer theatre. The last time I was there, it was SO much fun! We all laughed until tears ran down our cheeks! Virginia City was once a Montana capitol city, also a gold mining town -- which most of them were in that area. Bannack is another definite stop as we tour Montana. I was there once during Bannack Days, and it was a fantastic day! People were dressed in period-style of the gold rush days (when Bannack was also a capitol of Montana once upon a time). They tell of the haunted Meade Hotel, where a little girl who drowned in Grasshopper Creek haunts the building; also the Bessette House where children were quaranteened and many died -- their cries still echoing in the darkness. Besides the haunted stories, it was so much fun watching the re-enactments, eating true Kettle Corn, celebrating a town that was once booming from gold fever.

On another trip, I took my older kids to Crystal Park, in the vicinity of Anaconda/Dillon (southwest MT). For no charge, we were allowed to dig for crystals....just needed a screen, a little trowel, and lots of patience. Friends of mine found beautiful amethysts, and we found some very cool crystals ourselves. For rockhounds like us, it was awesome!

I hope to recreate and improvise on another trek around Montana with my little girl, building memories and celebrating this big beautiful state of ours. We'll end the vacation with Yellowstone Park, stopping to walk and enjoy the breathtaking views from the tops of waterfalls, watch Old Faithful erupt, marvel at the beauty of the ever-changing scenery caused by the geysers. And of course, the wildlife there (buffalo, elk, etc.) and all around Montana - are a good reason to drive slowly and enjoy what nature has given us.

The month of June is busy with preparations for our annual variety show and special Pioneer Days at our museum in Scobey. I've worked there for 20 summers -- just for two weeks each year -- booking tickets for our "internationally famous" Dirty Shame Show! Then we HIT the ROAD! I might add, the Pristine Road -- no sad oil spills, no polluted skies or waters, just the Open Road and anticipation of a wonderful vacation in my home state --Montana!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)