Last minute trip. One way tickets. Fly rods and bear spray. Our first family adventure in a state we’ll definitely want to see again!
That’s when I sprang the question. You may not know, but travel and me are oh-so-happy together. My hubby? Let’s just say he’s…not. So I have to get creative. One thing he loves is fly fishing, and a place he’s never been is Montana. So after breakfast one morning, I just said it… “What about a trip to Montana?” Literally three days later we were on our way — with one-way tickets to Missoula!
We decided to focus on Western Montana. Fish a few famous rivers. See Glacier National Park. Maybe even Yellowstone? One thing is for sure: One way tickets take much of the time-pressure stress off a trip. You don’t feel like you’re “wasting time” as you figure things out, and if you wanna hit a spot again, guess what? You can.
We started our time near a quaint town an hour and a half south of Missoula — Philipsburg. We really feel like we were stepping back in time. No chain restaurants. Nothing really at all except a single street, western feeling town.
There’s a blue ribbon trout stream in the area with cabin rentals (way far out of the tiny town) so that’s where we spent a few days. It was magical. Our cabin was literally a stone toss from the creek (more like a river) and within minutes of getting on the water, Kyler caught a beautiful brown and cutthroat trout. Let’s just say… Kyler was in Heaven. We all were.
The area was more lush than some other areas of Montana by the end of a summer. Tall, gorgeous pine trees were everywhere. Later in the season, Rock Creek is much lower than in the spring (snow melt / runoff), which made it a haven of fun for our big five-year-old who loves to explore while Daddy fishes. Another plus is that this area of Montana doesn’t typically see any Grizzly Bears! Up north, you can’t even go to a river or on a hike without taking bear spray.
After a few fun days at Rock Creek, we drove up to do some glamping just outside of the Glacier National Park. We’d never done glamping, and the Under Canvas setup looked amazing, from their website.
When we pulled into the glamping site, we were shocked to realize it was a stone’s throw from the highway. So instead of birds and nature, we heard the constant sound of cars whipping by. Honestly, that was a pretty big let-down. But we focused on the cool tent experience (which was truly so much fun!) and had a great time anyway. It was very well-done — just the location was a shocker.
Next on our newly-formed bucket list was — fishing the Madison River. So we drove to the quaint riverside town of Ennis, and loved the experience! Ennis exists solely because many fly fisherman come to fish The Madison. It’s crazy to think about. But seriously, the town has almost more fly shops than restaurants.
We ate good food, watched wild deer roam through the town, fished on the Madison river, and saw more mounted game and guns than you’ll find anywhere else in the United States! It was free, open, and a literal breath of fresh air from typical 2020 madness.
All in all, the trip was so much fun, relaxing, filled with nature. We all wanna go back. I personally caught my first cutthroat trout, all on my own, with my very own fly rod! Kyler knew how to hook me up with the best of the best. New reel and all. We also saw old cabins, antelope, bison tracks, and some of the most beautiful streams and rivers probably on the planet.