The Love of Lone Peak

Posted on April 29, 2011


It’s funny when you grow up somewhere and you have aspirations, one of the only things that will quench that thirst is leaving. It happened to me–two days after I graduated high school I was gone. I can look back and be proud of where I grew up (especially now that the Packers are Super Bowl champions… ahem), but that doesn’t have any effect on what I was thinking back then.

I have this conversation with some of the students I substitute for regarding  Butte. They ask me why I live here-how can I stand it-and the memory of same philosophies come rushing back. It’s difficult to explain that I had already left-this is where I have gone. I eerily relate to them and that attitude. I was that conversation and I believe in leaving.

This post isn’t about leaving, though. This post is about reasons not to.

This past weekend a group of friends and I went to the final weekend of the ski season at Big Sky Resort, a two hour drive from Butte. This has become an annual trip full of fun, friends, and PBR (and the pond skim, of course). In the midst of all the tom-foolery, there was a moment. I call it a “Montana moment” and although they happen a lot; they never happen enough.

Montana has its issues just like anywhere. Butte… well, it’s Butte. Between the two they have a fair share of stereotypes to live up to and to fight against. One piece of advice I can share about all the places I’ve lived and traveled too: there are things you will love about a place and there are things you will hate about a place–typically, you cannot do a thing about either of them.

These moments are when the reasons strike me about why I chose to live where I live. Remember the conversation with the middle-schoolers? I have chosen to live here. I’ve never been forced. Perhaps that is an underlying seed of the conversation.

Sunday, tired and a little sore from the two previous ski days, Cassie and I were skiing out of the bowl underneath Lone Peak–the mountain on which Big Sky Resort is located. I stopped, mid-run, and looked back up the hill. Before us stood a majestic pyramidal peak set against sapphire sky. The white snow contrasted dark rock on the surrounding ridges leading up to the mountain’s pinnacle. The sun was warm on my face; the breeze was calm. In that moment, I was humbled. My life has brought me to a place of the utmost beauty and the gratitude I felt was overwhelming. It reminded me of why I love the mountains, Montana, those that share-and have chosen to share it- with me.

With all that is going on at this time of year, a moment this poignant couldn’t have come a better time.

Posted in: Think, Travel