I’M JUST OUTSIDE BOZEMAN, leaning against a rail fence beside a dandelion-strewn meadow, gazing up at a ridge dotted with fir trees. Nearby, winding through a birch grove, is a stream about 10 feet wide, the bottom churned up by the spring snowmelt on this May morning. From a stony beach that widens into the channel, I can see the Bridger Mountains across the valley, heavily treed and glowing in the sun. This is the Montana of my dreams.
Over the next week, I aim to play rugby in Missoula, swim across a glacial lake near Whitefish, bicycle up some 6,000 feet on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and raft down the Stillwater River. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.