Moving to Montana surprised a bunch of people back in the old country, New York. I mean everyone in NY goes south, Florida or the Carolina's. Who goes west to Montana?
A few observations of living in the Rockies to date:
Before I sat for my Master’s license I had to take an Advanced Weather course. Oddly enough it was never mentioned that it is possible (maybe probable) to have three seasons of weather in three minutes. Working on the property the other day it was pleasantly sunny, seconds later it was a bit rainy, mere seconds later hailing, in less than four minutes it was sunny again. Dress for the season(s). The back seat of the truck now has multiple coats/wind breakers because, hey, at any given moment the season can change.
I have also noticed that weather in the mountains can be very local, raining in my part of the valley and bright sun in the some other. Even if that some other is just across the road. Snow covers the mountain tops like powdered sugar while its tee shirt weather in the valley.
In the Hudson Valley we had evergreens. For those not familiar, evergreens stay green all year round, hence the name. I thought I knew this stuff, silly me. To fool me (and the rest of us non-native Montanans) they have Tamarack trees here. This tree is almost as confused as some of my old students when I tried to explain the celestial sphere. The tree is both coniferous and deciduous. An ‘evergreen’ that turns bright yellow and drops its needles. Actually, it’s pretty cool. I thought by moving west I would miss the autumn colors, not so. We have Aspen and Tamarack.
When telling people where we were moving to some would ask, “Oh, is your town like Aspen or Breckenridge?” No, thank goodness, my town is not like those ski destinations. There is a moderately well know ski resort (Whitefish) not far away, but Kalispell is the kind of place where they talk about cutting firewood and hunting/fishing in the barber shop. The kind of place where plaid never went out of style and where there are only two types of vehicles, pickups and Subarus. We have both covered by the way. You might not find that conversation stimulating but it suits me very well.
One of the reasons for moving here was to experience the incredible outdoor activities available. One of the differences though seems to be with wildlife. Now we had wildlife in New York: coyotes, turkeys, squirrels, we even had a black bear a couple of times in my back yard. The difference here seems to be that wildlife in Montana is actually wild. Everyone carries bear spray and many, particularly back country, go armed. Yes, that is not only legal it's normal. It’s interesting to note that Montana has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the country and also one of the lower rates of gun violence. Not to get political, just saying.
One last thought. Back in New York the general direction of human movement is out, away, New York in the rearview mirror. I’m finding the opposite is true here. I go up to the house site almost every day. I have my work to do and the construction guys have theirs. Of course I can’t help but look in on things, sort of check things out. Maybe they think I’m a pain in the anchor but I’m spending a lot of money and it needs to be done right. Anyway, talking with the guys I’d estimate that half are transplants from somewhere else, east coast or, God forbid, California. Human migration is inbound, not outbound. That says something.
But, don’t get any ideas of moving here.
This is a terrible place to live.
Stay where you are. Go to Florida.