An Ode To Montana

Sometime the soul is in need of a good break. The longer the break the better. I believe that is what Montana is for. John Steinbeck say in Travels with Charley: In Search of America, “Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans talk”. I one hundred and ten percent agree with this statement. And no matter what any Texan can ever tell me, Texas is no where as cool as Montana. New Mexico is the only state that comes anywhere close, chiefly because of the food.

Montana is a special place I go in my mind when times are tough. I imagine myself deep in a granite canyon. The smell of the spruce and fir permeates my memories and I slowly drift back to reality. I often find myself missing Montana, particularly it’s trout; trout that don’t care. Trout that don’t care are getting harder to find. You know the ones, trout that will gobble up any decently presented dry fly, or brutally attack your streamer. I love those trout, therefor, I love Montana. The steak is amazing, not to mention the beer! But I just cannot get over those damn trout. They may not be any bigger than your average Pennsylvania trout, but there sure seem to be more of them.

Though the trout are what I go to Montana for, the lack of cell phone service is enough to make me want to move. Where I currently live in northern Baltimore county, there is only one area without cell coverage. I enjoy fishing there, but most of Montana seems to be without. In Traver’s Testament Of A Fisherman, he says he fishes because “mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters”. Though it is true, that with the advent of cellular devices, humans can converse with almost any other human at anytime anywhere in the world; except half of Montana. Which is one of the main reasons I love fishing there; for one merciful second, there are no telephones on trout waters.

Above all, I love Montana because my favorite part of Yellowstone National Park lies within the state lines. Cook City may be my favorite town I have ever been too. There are 140 year round residents and the main road is closed to all but snowmobile traffic during the long, frosty winters and the city possess the best steak and ale house I have ever patronized. The most notable feature is the beer menu, it is thicker than the entire Denny’s menu; beer from around the world awaits you. You want a Kalik mon? A Belikin beer from Belize? They have it. There was also some weird Turkish beer I was too afraid to try. The second most notable feature is that the John Steinbeck quote I spoke of earlier, is prominently displayed next to the door of the ale house, which may actually qualify as my favorite part; mostly because I imagine all the pissed off Texans getting huffy over a humorous quotation.

However, the best part of Cook City is that the Soda Butte runs right through town. The Soda Butte is the my favorite river in Montana. Ya’ll can have the Madison, Yellowstone, Missouri, Bighorn and so on and so forth. I can be found deep in the mountains with the bears. Where the thick, heavy smell of the coniferous penetrates your nostrils; making you wish you could only breath deeper. This is where I go when escape is needed, deep into the canyon. The cutthroat in the canyon are encouragingly fat, causing one to push further into the darkness of forest.

You are probably thinking: why hasn’t he moved already? See, I am not a huge fan of winter. Sometimes I like to pretend, but the truth is, I hate the cold. Now I have been told multiple times by a few Montanans that it isn’t that cold; horse s***. I spent two weeks winter camping in the Wyoming range just south of Jackson. It is snowy, windy and cold, regardless of what anyone says. But, other than that fact, I really have no good excuse why I haven’t moved to the Big Sky State.

By Rob Lepczyk

One thought on “An Ode To Montana

  1. Montana fly fishing is the best! Definitely missing it there right now. Everything is a little quieter, a little prettier, and a lot bigger in Montana. It’s just a special place. Nice post!


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