“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.)


(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here…)


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.

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Comments (8)

  • George Jacob Reply

    Steve good morning.

    I have been to Montana a few times to visit a Amateur Radio friend of mine.
    Everything you mentioned in your article is true. I have had the opportunity and pleasure to enjoy the hospitality the state and people of Montana have to offer.

    12/15/2021 at 07:52
  • Mike Siegel Reply

    We moved to Kalispell this summer from Lake Forest. We absolutely love it. For purely selfish reasons, I do not want to share how wonderful it is. It might entice the masses to take temporary refuge here (e.g. vacation/retreat). After the temporary refuge, it’s easy to realize that Montana will become your new home.

    12/15/2021 at 09:01
  • Rodney Brenneman Reply

    Interestingly, we had a get together this last weekend with old friends, one of whom had fallen in love with Montana and bought a home just outside Yellowstone in a small town the TV show Yellowstone is loosely based on. My wife and I mentioned loving the Montana scenery while watching the TV. Our friend informed us that that area is the coldest in the continental US, regularly seeing temps below -20F and even down to -40F. That’s another level of cold if you’ve never experienced it. It’s really beautiful for about 3-4 months of the year though. Our friend said they get regular transplants from California, etc who last one winter and sell.

    So you might want to check the year round weather wherever you are falling in love with before taking the big plunge!

    12/15/2021 at 10:03

    Steve, we escaped California to Kalispell. We lived ho the hill on Santiago Canyon Road. When will you open a firearms training facility up here?

    12/15/2021 at 10:17
  • Rodger Borge Reply

    Glad you made the trip to Whitefish. It truly is AMERICA And beautiful!! Get Sandi up there in the summer and visit Glacier National Park!!It is Awesome

    12/15/2021 at 11:10
  • COL Daniel E. Woodward Reply

    Glacier NP was one of the most spectacular places to visit. MT was one of the potential drop zones when we bailed on CA. But we got halfway there when we landed in UT!

    12/15/2021 at 12:26
  • Arthur George Grant Reply

    Steve, I have found very much the same atmosphere here in South Texas, largely rural areas. Well I can’t shoot in my backyard, by two local ranges are both within 4 miles of my house, I can hunt locally, and people are friendly, welcoming, generous and more than helpful. I found this was true in the Midwest to the South in Louisiana, Georgia.

    12/15/2021 at 15:50
  • Ben Townsend Reply

    Having enjoyed much of the Rocky’s skiing extraordinar, Big Sky, Grand Targhee and even Jackson Hole the area is quite beautiful. They don’t call it “God’s Country” for nothing. I was stationed in Idaho Falls went to college at the University Of Wyoming Laramie bordering Montana and yes it can get cold with lots of snow. Very good advice Rodney. Having now retired in much more subtle weather conditions but still enjoy 4 seasons, if I feel a need to get back I can always fly or drive and visit. I do have the pleasure of locking and loading my firearms and taking shots in my backyard with a 200 yard range for the hunting arena and steel poppets for the home defense and tactics which I will always be truly indebted to Artemis for their training. Hopefully when all this covid nonsense settles I will make a trip out to get a refresher course from Steve and his team.

    12/17/2021 at 12:21

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