Top 10 Montana Outdoor Resolutions for 2019
We all make New Year’s Resolutions. Some are easier to keep than others. Usually, the diet resolution only lasts for a few short weeks. Our annual gym memberships last about three visits. After a month, we forget what our resolutions were. It’s not that we don’t mean well, it’s just that we get lazy, forget, or become distracted.
Here are some great resolutions that are easy to remember, fun to do, and will keep you motivated:
DRINK and enjoy the many local distilleries and breweries throughout Montana. Use your neighborhood as a trailhead and work from there. Montana is a wonderful place to grow grains and ingredients for great brews and hard liquor. Cherry-based wines and liquor are common in northwest Montana. Every town and stop has something unique and different. Each venue offers a special twist or flavor to sample. Do a “brew tour” and compare the libations that Montana has to offer. Grab a new map/guide from Bozeman Magazine to get you started.
SHOOT with a camera, firearm, or bow. Pulling the trigger is empowering and fun. Montanans know how to shoot. If you do not want to hunt, try sporting clays, trap, skeet, or shooting at outdoor and indoor ranges. Zero In indoor shooting range will teach, train, and improve your shooting skills in a safe and professional environment. Archery is also a wonderful and popular sport. Big Sky Archery offers an indoor shooting range with clubs and team events. You will learn a new skill, make new friends, and learn personal safety. Shooting wildlife and the outdoors with a camera is a fun way to capture memories and the beauty of our amazing state.
EXPLORE a new destination. Search for new and curious interests that may be worth a trip. Maybe it is a cavern, canyon, or campground. Rock hounding can be great fun. Maybe an old gold town or historic area would be interesting to explore. Check out a state map and see what interests you. The Hiawatha Rail Trail offers miles of biking and hiking through the mountains of northwest Montana. This old train trail once hauled war materials west from mid-America. Now it is a wonderful recreational greenway. Museums, antique stores, and historical sites and parks abound. Our history is everywhere and can teach you more about the place you call home.
MEET new people and make new friends. Make plans to take a course, join a club, or schedule family visits. Share and learn from each other. Churches, community events, and local lodges offer a slew of choices. Many Montanans are just a discussion away from having so much in common. Friends are tour guides to new adventures.
CATCH a fish! Learn how to fly fish or simply sit along a bank and drown some worms. Ice fishing in Montana is great fun and beautiful for those of us who do not like skiing. Fish caught in the winter are delicious. Hyalite Lake, Canyon Ferry, and Hebgen Lake, along with many small local ponds, offer a wonderful way to catch a meal and have fun. Ice is a poor man’s yacht and allows you access to all waters. Fish caught the rest of the year can be released. Whether you prefer cold or warm water species, you are sure to find a destination that will get you hooked. Montana Fish are found in beautiful places.
DRIFT or float a river. The watersheds in Montana flow through amazing geologic and environmental areas. The critters that you see just make the float more fun. Take a picnic or some fishing gear to make the trip even more catching. You can use a variety of watercrafts. Kayaks and canoes are easy and inexpensive. A drift boat or Mackenzie-style craft allows the anglers to stand up and go with the flow. Using a paddleboard and a long-handled paddle allows you to scoot across a lake with ease while getting a full-body workout. Hidden lakes like Hyalite Lake are peaceful places to paddle away your cares. Many folks grab any inflatable that they can and float the Lower Madison when the summer gets hot. Wherever you drift, please pick up your trash and leave no trace.
SOAK your worries away. Hot springs abound in Montana. Whether you are soaking in the wild Gardiner River in Yellowstone Park or a developed venue, there is nothing like a healthy soak. Geothermal-heated waters are refreshing and feel great. Bozeman Hot Springs and Norris offer natural soaks. Mountain Hot Tubs has also been around for decades and offers wonderful Hot Spring Spas that are well-suited for Montana weather. For a deeper soak, try a Health Mine where radium radiation can soak into your bones. The deep mines near Basin and Boulder may be the ticket for serious aches and pains. Some folks believe that the natural radiation eases pain and helps address other health conditions.
EAT and sample some of the great flavors and unique foods found in Montana. Perhaps you need to nibble on some Rocky Mountain Oysters, or not. The beef and wild game in our state are delicious. Each town or city has a special breakfast spot or a unique restaurant that specializes in a taste you would enjoy. Montana can offer just about any style type or flavor of the west. Lots of small “Hole in the Wall” eateries are there to be discovered. Livingston and Gardiner offer a great Cheeseburger in Paradise. If you are a picky eater, maybe try a simple S’More around a campfire.
LEARN something new. Take a course or volunteer to help others. It is amazing what you can learn. Montana has several great universities and vocational schools for those hungry to learn something new. The Museum of the Rockies is an amazing place to expand your knowledge of history and science. Hobby skills, sports, art, crafts, agriculture, geology, mining and so many other choices are available. They say that the most important things that we learn in our lives are the things we learn after we already know everything!
HUNT for big game. Elk, deer, moose, buffalo, and other critters make for great sport and will test your skills. Hunting sheds in the spring can also be a way to decorate your spaces or add a Montana touch to your home. Hunting is about searching and discovery. What a perfect way to challenge yourself and put food on the table.
Most important of all is to have FUN while you are keeping your resolutions. All these resolutions will keep your body and mind active and in great shape. Life is short, so if you snooze you lose! Stay active, busy, friendly, and happy. If you choose to do some of these things, then 2019 will be a wonderful year for you and all you meet.
Celebrate life in Montana!