When people think of Montana, they think of mountains. And we do have lots of mountains, especially in the western part of the state. But just east of where I live the Great Plains begin. North and South Dakota, Saskatchewan, and Nebraska join us in making up the Northern Great Plains — land of playing antelopes and roaming buffalo. Or at least that’s how the song goes.
The mountains in central and eastern Montana are called island ranges. They pop up out of the plains like rooster combs, unconnected to longer chains like the Rockies.
The Bridger Range lies just north of Bozeman. The storms we get in winter come screaming across the valley and get caught on the Bridgers; we can get an inch of snow in town and the mountains will get 20. We call this the Bridger Bowl Cloud and there is a light on the tallest building on Main Street that blinks to let the skiers know that though it’s dry in town, it’s snowing in the hills.
I’ve lived in Bozeman for 13 years now and sometimes I get the urge to leave: there are so many amazing places you could live. But learning patterns like the Bridger Bowl Cloud — the little secrets about a place that make it unique — make it awfully hard to leave.
Tell me, what are the idiosyncrasies about where you live? What makes you stay? Tell me the story of your town.