~Meniscus Archives~
Summer/Fall 2005
Issue #8

Issue #8 Home


Going Big in Big Sky Country
Chrystie Hopkins
Things run a little differently in Montana. The typical clientelle includes black bear cubs, wolves, osprey, owls and deer—a stark contrast to traffic lights and sky scrapers. Out here the cycle of life is much more basic then our complicated human lives—only the need to survive is essential.

Liz Simons
The World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA) is a living, breathing organization which will have 40,000 players registered worldwide by the end of 2005. Chances are if you meet me walking down the street I will be carrying big red rubber ball and I’ll hand you a card. But I’m not trying to recruit you for a cult. I just want you to take part in kickball, the new American—and soon to be worldwide—pastime

Photo Tour: The Smithsonian, Washington DC
Join Meniscus on a photo tour of the country's foremost collection of scientific history.


Published 9/18/05
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Montana is a vortex. It’s not easy to get there, not easy to live there, but so easy to be there. That’s why people stay. Maybe you have to drive a lot, perhaps you have to work three jobs, sometimes you have to battle the hordes of tourists, but it is all worth it. For us non-locals, we will just have to be satisfied with an occasional visit. There are a lot of things you have to leave at home when entering the Montana vortex; materialism, attitude, your watch, ADD, aversion to cheap beer, and fear of strangers to name a few.

Upon arrival at Glacier International Airport in Kalispell, I was quickly schooled on the ways of Montana. Things run a little differently there. Despite my three-hour layover in Salt Lake City, only one of my two bags made it to Kalispell. When inquiring about my missing luggage at the Delta counter (only three airlines fly to Kalispell), the Delta employee responded with such casualness I could not help but mood match. “Sure, my bag will arrive eventually, no problem. They will deliver it when it turns up.” He also mentioned that there was a 50% chance it might be on the next flight if I wanted to hang out. So I did, and out came my bag an hour later. All my friend could say was “Welcome to Montana.”


The next morning when I stepped outside for the first time to evaluate my surroundings I nearly fainted. I knew Montana would be beautiful, but I had no idea that it would leave me speechless. The friend I was staying with lives in a town called Columbia Falls. Her quant little house is surrounded by mountains in all directions. Not the jagged, rocky peaks like those in Glacier National Park, but more subtle hills.


Heading north from Columbia Falls we made our way to Glacier National Park on Route 2. We went through the interesting little town of Hungry Horse. One of the strange things about tourist towns is the outlandish attractions that pop up. Since you cannot actually build these attractions in the parks, they tend to land in the outlying towns.


On our way to Glacier we passed several go-kart racetracks, a giant wooden maze, the House of Mystery, and a live bear attraction where the sign read, “Your car is your cage.” Yes, you can drive through a fenced-in forest where old circus bears roam free. Being a tourist means that you can visit these attractions with little shame. While I passed on the bear attraction, I did visit the House of Mystery.


Although I think the entire state is a vortex, the operators of the House of Mystery claim the vortex is centered in that specific spot. They have several examples of how the vortex works, and they are working on scientific research to prove that the vortex does exist.


I highly recommend a visit to the House of Mystery. While I still go back and forth on whether it was a real vortex or simply an optical allusion, it made me laugh and wonder. It was definitely worth the $6 and I got a cool beer koozie from the gift shop. www.montanavortex.com


Glacier National Park

We entered Glacier National Park through the west entrance and past the Apgar Visitor center. Heading up the Going-to-the-sun Road I nearly lost my shit. Was I dreaming? Can this be real? I have never been to a more awe-inspiring place in my life. I must have said “Wow!” about three hundred times. Only 24 hours prior I had been staring at skyscrapers and traffic lights, now I was looking at the most majestic mountains and abundant forests in the lower 48 states.


Glacier National Park has more than 1 million acres of forests, alpine meadows, and lakes. To the northwest is the Livingston Range, to the southeast is the Lewis Range and the Flathead Range sits to the south. Glacier is completely surrounded by mountains. In addition to the 1 million acres of national park land, on the park’s border is also the Flathead National Forest, Great Bear Wilderness and Lewis and Clark National Forest. Basically, nature in all directions. This amazing land is home to over 70 species of mammals and 260 species of birds.


During my 11 days in Montana a few creatures decided to make an appearance in my presence. I was lucky enough to see a black bear cub, wolf, osprey, owl and deer. As a finale a moose wandered into my campsite.


Standing 50 feet from a beautiful young moose, my body trembling, I was amazed at the grace and composure of the giant animal. I did not do such a good job at mood matching the moose. He was so silent we almost did not see him. It took our two dogs a few minutes to even take notice.



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Meniscus Magazine © 2005. All material is property of respective artists.