As May comes to a close, we here in Big Sky anticipate the opening of Big Sky Resort's summer season in June. June brings more sunshine and flowers as well as hiking, camping, ziplining, and every outdoor activity the resort has to offer. Not to mention the wildlife around Big Sky and in Yellowstone National Park. I cannot wait to once again visit the park and see some of my favorite geysers such as Baby Daisy or Fan and Mortar, and hopefully catch a glimpse of a wolf or bear. I cannot take for granted the unique ecosystem of Yellowstone when it is so close to my home town as I have done in past summers.
It's time to get excited for summer and embrace all the fun Big Sky has to offer.
Video: Chris Kamman
A group of foxes is called a leash, skulk, earth or pack. Fox can identify each other's voices like humans. The red fox has 28 different sounds used to communicate, including yips, growls and howls.
Elk bark to warn each other of danger.
Grizzly bears live 20-25 years and raise their cubs for two to three years.
Moose have a flap of skin known as a bell beneath its throat. The bell is for identifying status of males, warmth, scent, and may also play a role in communication.
Mountain Goats live 12-15 years and can be found on Lone Peak year-round. See them on the Lone Peak Expedition this summer.
3 million visitors see Yellowstone National Park each year. Don't go to Yellowstone without checking out all Big Sky Resort has to offer!
Discover more wildlife facts in the next issue of Live Big Magazine available at Big Sky Resort this summer.
Graphic by Michel Tallichet
According to the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, Big Sky, Montana, fluctuates between about 2,000 full-time residents to 17,000 during peak seasons (the highest being Holiday week). As anyone could imagine this makes for a funny little town to live in year round, and I love it.
Right now we're in that 2,000 population range and it's a welcome time of year. I miss skiing almost every day, but the peaceful light rain on the window outside makes me feel special. Special because I might as well be the only one in the world enjoying it as I look at Lone Mountain change from snow-capped winter dream land to Evergreen summer wonderland. The earth is quiet.
My biggest challenge with these "shoulder" seasons is my new workout routine. Some Big Sky folks might say it's the change in hours of their favorite bar or restaurant, the fact that the resort is not open, or the spring muddy weather that makes the spring and fall odd, but for me, it's not being in ski shape anymore. Thus, I look to off-season activities to fill the void before summer biking, climbing, tennis, and hiking. Off-season for me means bouldering in the meadow; hiking the lower elevation trails such as Ousel Falls, Indian Ridge (just north of Big Sky), or Porcupine Trail; and playing Big Sky Resort Golf Course when it opens on May 22. Two weeks of golf before the summer season is an ideal way to enjoy the spring.
As much as I love winter and summer, every season in Big Sky brings its unique beauty and necessity. For now I will work on being content with spring, living one day at a time, and enjoying these wistful moments between the excitement of winter and summer.
Photo: Glenniss Indreland
My Montana childlike wonder makes it easy to write about all the fantastic places and activities I explored in Big Sky as a kid, but it also makes it easy to write about all the new and wonderful activities offered in Big Sky for kids today.
First of all: Basecamp to Yellowstone. Yellowstone Park was the neatest, most odd thing to 9-year-old me: Geysers, hot beds, bison, and low-lying mountains that seemed to move with every breath of the molten underbelly. But I'm getting ahead of myself, before venturing south of Big Sky, the activities right at the resort were something I would have devoured as a kid. I still love ziplining, a high ropes challenge, archery, paddleboarding, jumping on a bungee trampoline, or scaling a climbing wall. These things came after my childhood for the most part, but I was enthralled as a sixth grader of my friend's tall tale of ziplining through a forest. Now kids can zipline all the time and in so many cool places, not least of which is Big Sky Resort.
Second: Hiking. I remember taking a guided hike as a kid in Montana and being shocked that the guide could remember all the flora and fauna of the area. How did he know what flower that was? How could he tell an elk had been here? Take a hike around Big Sky for free or go on a guided hike right at Big Sky Resort.
Third: Whitewater rafting and horseback riding. One of my biggest regrets, that I may not have had full control over, was that I didn't go whitewater rafting until high school. Although it is not for the smallest children, rafting the Gallatin River is such a great kid-friendly family past time, I don't know how anyone can even pass by the rafting outfitters without booking. The same can be said for horseback riding. Not only is horseback riding classically Montana, it is also one of the most challenging and then relaxing things a kid could do. I was afraid of horses as a young girl, but once I got on horseback it was like I was meant to be there.
Big Sky, Montana, invites kids and adults into childhood. The adventures to be had are endless and unforgettable.
Photo: Glenniss Indreland
Photo: Glenniss Indreland
Although we boast a plethora of evergreen trees in and around Big Sky, the fall foliage is still not to be missed in the mountains. Check out any of these hikes for an adventure into the Big Sky wild this autumn.
Storm Castle. Hike to the amazing Storm Castle rock formation for a bird's eye view of fall colors in the Gallatin Canyon. The Storm Castle hike is well worth the incline as the reward offers incredible views in every direction.
Lava Lake. Mystique best describes how Lava Lake looks in the autumn. A fantastic hike any time of year, Lava Lake's crisp aesthetic stands out in the fall air.
Cinnamon Lookout. Just down Highway 191 from Big Sky Resort is a 4.4 mile (one way for a total of 9 miles to the lookout and back) forested trail to a beautiful lookout in 360 degrees of the Gallatin Canyon and Taylor-Hilgard Basin.
Sphinx. Just a Paul Bunyan stone's throw from Lone Peak, Sphinx Mountain is the only peak in the Madison Range Crest that consists of a conglomerate from the post-Mesozoic era. Sphinx is also one of the most fantastic fall hikes with a decent chance of seeing a bear gather the last of the season's calories before hibernation.
Porcupine Creek Trail. Climb nine miles up to the headwaters of Onion Basin for views of Lone Mountain on this fun high meadow hike. The colors of fall may not be the bright purples and pinks of wild flower season, but the earth tones and hues of red, brown, and orange are not to be missed.
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