One lady told me she named him "Red", but everyone else who talks about him says he doesn't have a name. I heard about this beautiful creature from people all over the resort... and then one day after work, I finally saw him!
My first sighting happened on a sunny evening as I was jumping into my car to head home for the day. I remember stopping to look at the beauty surrounding me when a flicker of red came into the corner of my eye. There he was... a gorgeous red fox!
He came strolling confidently and comfortably through the public parking lot as if to say, "oh hey new girl, that's where Dan usually parks... no biggie, seeya later!"
I was taken back not only by this animal's beauty but the fact that I had never been so close to a fox before! I had to follow him!
He strolled on down to Lake Levinsky to refresh himself with a drink of water.
At this point I noticed a guest, a teenage boy, had also been struck by the same excitement that I had. The fox sat down maybe 15 feet away from him, just to hang out!
Even as complete strangers, we beamed at each other understanding the rare magnificence of this moment.
I sat for a minute to appreciate how great it was to see a teenager in the 21st century (who had just been completely sucked into his phone) transform entirely, smiling from ear to ear at this fox sitting near him.
Whatever was on his mind before had been erased and replaced with pure joy. Funny, how nature has that effect on people.
Just as my phone was about to die, I captured this ten second video, as this famous local fox snuggled into some lucky guests grass covered lawn for a bit of beauty rest.
Around mountain ski towns we talk a lot about the Norse god of winter, Ullr, not just because it's everyone's favorite icy cool drink, but because we live and breathe snow. But this time of year it's important to know who the summer god is, and maybe ask ourselves why we don't talk about him.
Odur, also known as Od, is the Norse god of summer and sun. Very little is known about Odur. In fact, more stalk is taken with his wife, Freya, and her love, beauty, and exploration. However, one of the reasons little is known about Odur is because he too would take long journeys, which were not chronicled. Traveling and exploration is one of the most important aspects to Norse culture. While we may never value Odur as much as we value Ullr in our little mountain town of Big Sky, perhaps it's time we give a little more attention to the god of summer travels as we make our way in and out of Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and up and across Lone Peak on a Lone Peak Expedition.
Summer exploration be nigh for all those who hear the call of Odur; wherever he may be.
Lone Peak in July.Photo: Anna Husted
When the rain comes it's only natural to look to local museums and theaters for inexpensive and fun entertainment. For me that means Bozeman's Museum of the Rockies, West Yellowstone's Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center or IMAX, and Big Sky's Lone Peak Cinema.
Founded in 1957, The Museum of the Rockies is a Montana staple with dinosaur specimens from all over Montana including the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex collection in the world. A great time to visit is when the museum's curator of paleontology, Jack Horner, is speaking, or time it just right to catch a light show in the Taylor Planetarium. I would also highly recommend the current temporary exhibition: Chocolate, which delves deep into the science behind the delicious dark treat.
Catch another glimpse of dinosaurs in Jurassic World at Lone Peak Cinema or on the IMAX in West Yellowstone. Nothing beats a rainy day like the movies, but I enjoy the drive to West Yellowstone to check out Hollywood blockbusters, new to the regional IMAX, or to see a movie like Titans of the Ice Age, about great wooly mammoths. The field-trip type science experiences in and around Big Sky, Montana, cannot be taken advantage of enough. Last year I had the chance to catch Yellowstone Wolves and Alaska. Neither would I have seen if I did not live so close to such amazing facilities or in a community that values using technology to express nature.
From time to time when I do drive down to West Yellowstone I stop at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center to see the northern saw-whet owl Acadia, who is blind in one eye after being hit by a car, but is easily the cutest owl I've ever seen.
Rainy days in Montana are a normal part of spring and early summer, but they are easily enjoyed with the right plan and right attitude. The clouds are breaking up as I write this, yet now all I want to do is hold an owl named Acadia.
Northern saw-whet owl Acadia at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center.
Trex at the Museum of the Rockies.
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
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
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