Lifestyle Travel

MONTANA – Adrenaline and Zen…all rolled into one

Ahhh…Montana. Balm for a troubled soul. The state is called ‘Big Sky Country’ for a reason! I chose Montana for part of my US trip because I wanted to see mountains – a different kind of mountains from the ones we see in Australia. And boy, did I see mountains! They completely surrounded my hotel in Whitefish!

Whitefish, located to the north of the state and only about a 40-minute drive to the Canadian border, was a quintessential small American town (not a skyscraper in sight!). In summer, it’s sleepy and laid-back, but the masses descend in winter as it transforms into a skiing hot spot. It had such a calm feel to it – exactly what I needed, and the locals were incredibly friendly! I had to break my big city habit of ‘walk straight ahead, look down, don’t say anything’ as I was being greeted with a ‘Hello’ by every stranger I met! It was wonderfully refreshing.

My second day in Montana involved me being the only under-60-year-old in a historic Red Jammer bus to tour Glacier National Park. My fellow tourists were all from the South, so I was treated to the famous Southern hospitality and fell in love with their accents and “Y’all!”s. Being a young woman travelling alone, they kind of adopted me! The sights of the National Park were nothing short of breathtaking. At every corner we turned, there was another fantastic natural wonder in front of me (including a baby black bear!). Once home to 150 glaciers, the Park attributes climate change to that number shrinking to its present number of 26 glaciers. It’s visited by about 2 million tourists every year who hike the many trails (and are given many instructions on how to avoid or deal with an encounter with bears!), camp, drive or ride the buses like I did to explore Glacier. It’s definitely a place I would love to return to.

The next day I was at Whitefish Mountain Resort. A top skiing resort in winter and summer, it hosts hikers, mountain bike riders, and zip-liners due to a new addition this year! Aka, giant flying foxes! That had to be one of my life’s most thrilling, exciting, adrenaline-rush-inducing experiences! Ascending to a point up the mountain on ski lifts, we were to make our way back down via three zip-line lengths. On one of them, we descended from 1200 feet (393 metres), going nearly 80km/hr! FUN! FUN! FUN! Another tour I went on was the ‘Walk Among The Treetops’ tour. You can pretty much guess what this involved! Funnily enough, I found this scarier than the zip-line! I guess walking along a wobbly boardwalk no wider than your foot hundreds of feet above the ground with nothing but a harness tethered to a pair of cables above you will give anyone the heebee-jeebies!!! But it was an amazing view!

I definitely got more than I hoped for with Montana! And I definitely will be going back one day!

Editorial credit: Nick Fox /

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