“Gentleman… I believe it is time we adjourn and reconvene in Montana for a bit of a field trip.”
With that simple turn of phrase, I had the unique opportunity to finally visit a state I have been longing to see for my entire adult life.
I have been hunting and traipsing around the western states since my twenties, but for whatever reason, none of my travels have ever taken me to Montana. This was an opportunity!
Twice a month the MAJ and I get together with a handful of patriots for lunch and general discussions about important things. We have solved the world’s problems many times over at these little soirées. Now the group wanted to take the show on the road.
It was decided we would head up to Whitefish, Montana and observe free Americans in the natural habitat.
For those of you who have never been to Kalispell or Whitefish… it is amazing. The land is ancient, and the families who reside there are the beneficiaries of legacy lines that go back several generations. They are good people: warm, welcoming, surprisingly heterogeneous, and passionate about their state.
When we arrived at the hotel (The Whitefish Lodge… which, incidentally, got a five-star review from me), we were greeted by copious examples of taxidermy in the lobby and public spaces.
I was happy.
Each room was appointed with an instant romance fireplace and the type of furniture you would expect in a mountain lodge. Their aim was not to disappoint those looking for the “Montanian” experience.
After dropping off our luggage, we mustered in the well-appointed bar to have a cocktail and smoke an inaugural cigar.
The MAJ arrived slightly later than everyone else, looking a bit confused.
“Did anyone here have rose petals on their bed?”
“I got into my room and there was a trail of rose petals to the bed, and the bed itself was sprinkled with rose petals. Here… look… I took a picture.”
We looked and started laughing uncontrollably.
“No, Cosmo… maybe they figured you had expectations!”
(It turns out the MAJ had inadvertently requested the “romance package” when he booked his hotel room. Even if the trip had been a complete bust, this little nugget made it all worth it, and gives us material to tease the MAJ for years to come.)
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It is impossible to overstate the majesty of the area.
The mountains transition from rolling hills to severe peaks and lakes… substantial lakes, which dot the entire area.
In December there is a fair amount of snow on the ground and on the rooftops. The thousands of pine trees are coated in white and the entire location, especially at twilight, has the feeling of a Thomas Kinkade painting.
We took a drive down to Missoula to see a greater scope of the area. We then found ourselves back in Kalispell being entertained by a complete stranger at his home with his wife and his kids discussing local politics, the state of the world, and the future of Libertarianism. We had literally just met, and he invited the six of us into his home.
That is Montana.
“Where do you typically shoot?”
I had to ask the question.
“In my backyard. I built a berm out there.”
“Wow… that is amazing to someone like me from Aliso Viejo. It is legal to do that here, huh?”
“Funny… I don’t know. I guess it is. My neighbor is the Sheriff, and he shoots in his backyard, and occasionally comes over to share a cup of coffee with me while I shoot.”
There is an intellectualism that surrounds this place. People are connected here. They talk to others with respect, with warmth, and a genuine curiosity. It is communal to the extent that all harsh environments create a communal complex, while at the same time a rugged individualism manifests everywhere.
Oh yeah… and the food is f@#ing awesome.
The restaurants where we ate had the same complexity and quality as any fine dining establishment I have visited in the most sophisticated metropolis.
Sitting in the lodge restaurant the day we left, having a breakfast of huckleberry oatmeal and black coffee, looking out across the lake at the homes on the opposite shore, I realized that Sandy and I will be making our own trip out here in the very, very near future.