Big Sky goes green for summer - a grazing elk I spotted on my way to work this morning
IN MONTANA, there are only three seasons. Winter, wonderfully white with cold-smoke powder, blue skies, and snowy peaks; Summer, lush with waist-high wildflowers and sprawling green pastures; Mud season – no further description needed.
So it makes sense that in April, after the mountain closes, Big Sky thins out until only the few stalwart year round residents remain, tromping through mud almost as deep as their Wellingtons are high.
It’s that true Big Sky local who weathers the two months of capricious temperatures without high-tailing it to some tropical locale. But most use May as a time for vacation, and for me, Mud Season conveniently doubles as Work Travel Season. Last week I jumped on a non-stop to Phoenix for press meetings.
I stepped off the plane in Arizona into 95 degree weather with zero humidity, ruby desert mountains providing the backdrop for the nearby palm trees swaying in the light breeze. In between work meetings I played a few holes of golf, reveling in the relentless sun, not minding the drenching sweat. After a month of off-season Big Sky, this was just what I needed. By Friday, I was dreading my return flight into the uncertainty of early June Montana weather.
But touching down in Bozeman, all I could see was color; during my week away, Montana had blossomed. The entire Gallatin Valley was a deep, shocking green where horses were now out to pasture, and flowers bloomed on every other tree. Back in Big Sky, the still snowy peak was just the backdrop to the perfectly groomed golf course that looked- dare I say it?- even greener than the one I had just played in Phoenix. On the way up to work, I passed by a herd of grazing elk, munching on the fresh new grass.
While Phoenix was a great off-season getaway (and cheap too – my non-stop round trip flight was 130 bucks on Allegiant!), I now realize it goes both ways – were I living in Phoenix, it’s Montana I would escape to now that their temperatures are rising to beyond bearable. Back in the mountains I put on my sunglasses and stepped out, sweat-free, into the perfect warm summer climate, and breathed in the clear, fresh air. Welcome back, Montana summer, I’ve been waiting for you.
Check out Big Sky's many summer celebrations through September.
Summer returns to Big Sky: