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Images of the West: Big Sky, Montana, Before the Resort

Dating back thousands of years to the Native Americans and then into the 19th and 20th centuries, trappers, homesteaders, dudes, loggers, miners and recreationists all contributed to Montana's best-known community

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Fall 2013 Round Up

Events, news and reviews from around the Northern Rockies

Photo by Val Atkinson

Letter from the Editor: Falling Short

This issue, more than any has a visceral connection to our natural world

Written by Seabring Davis  

Seabring Davis

Other Contributions

Summer Camp Perfect Harmony Winter Getaway: Red Lodge, Montana Beyond the Cabin A Fine Balance Good Country Authentically Western A Home for the Ages Where the Living is Easy Music in the Mountains The Flight of the Hummingbird Living the Dream Integrating Nature Mountain Exposure Eclectic Parkitecture Uniting Color Historic Symmetry The Year Of The Horse A Yellowstone Club Retreat Hearth and Soul Building a Timeless Legacy An Uncommon Cabin in the Woods Timeless Fusion Mountain Tradition A Modern Vision Dining Out: Lone Mountain Ranch Serves Up a Sense of Place Western Design: Uniquely Rustic Western Design: JLF & Associates Letter from the Editor: Season of Possibility Dining Out: A Montana Tradition, Chico Hot Springs Letter from the Editor: Design Trends Dining Out: The Ranch at Rock Creek Redefines Montana Cuisine Dining Out: Seasonal Bliss Western Design: Refined Rustic Letter from the Editor: Winter Wave Letter from the Editor: Blending Seasons Western Design: A New Mountain Lodge Western Design: Historic Haven Western Design: In the Studio with the Viers Western Focus: Classic Connection: Miller Architects Western Design: Reviving the Barn From the Editor: Seasons of Simplicity Dining Out: Innovation Meets Tradition at Bisl Letter from the Editor: What is art? Dining Out: Holland Lake Lodge, Rustic Wonderful Letter from the Editor: The Secret Weapon Letter from the Editor: Fly Fishing for the Greater Good Western Design: Mountain Zen Western Design: Creekside Contemporary Living Big Sky on HGTV The Spirit of the West in Jackson, Wyoming Letter from the Editor: First Snow Dining Out: The Old Hotel Letter from the Editor: Signs of Summer Letter from the Editor: The Angler’s Sojourn Dining Out: Simply Good Food From the Editor: Hit the Road Making a Statement: Miller Architects Letter from the Editor: Winter’s Toll Letter from the Editor: Evolving Home Dining Out: Comfort Food Western Design: Cowboy Modern Western Design: The Idaho Club Letter from the Editor: Talking Art Dining Out: Conserving Montana One Table at a Time Dining Out: Cosmopolitan Cuisine at TEN Dining Out: Ranch to Restaurant Letter from the Editor: Waiting for Summer Letter from the Editor: Arts Economy Letter from the Editor: First Frost Letter from the Editor: Why Art? Letter from the Editor: Up Close and Personal Letter from the Editor: A Tradition of Talent Letter from the Editor: Winter Reflection Dining Out: The Taste of Whitefish Letter from the Editor: How Big is Your Bucket Letter from the Editor: Falling Short Western Design: Rustic Allure Dining Out: Fish Food Western Design: In the Studio with Painter Hugh Wilson Western Design: Home Base From the Editor Dining Out: Tradition, with a Twist Letter from the Editor: I Know Where the Fish Are Letter from the Editor: Big Sky Country Letter from the Editor: Forging Ahead Dining Out: Barn Dance Letter from the Editor: Like an Open Road Letter from the Editor: The Language of Fishing Letter from the Editor: Cast Again Editor’s Letter: The Passing Season Dining Out: Saffron Table Letter from the Editor: Staying Power
September 2013


Whenever I think autumn, all my senses are engaged. I feel the cool morning air on my face. The softened sun alights the end of season leaves. The breeze brings a rhythmic crackle to the dried grasses and shrubs on the trail. The air smells slightly smoky, palpable enough that I nearly taste it on my tongue. There is an urgency to this time of year that quickens with the end of summer.

This issue, more than any, has a visceral connection to our natural world. In E. Donnall Thomas, Jr’s essay, “The World According to Elk,” experience the nuance of hunting with a longbow. Thomas’ keen observations and stealth offer wonderful detail of the wilderness. This writing is part of the series, “From the Vault” a continued celebration of the magazine’s 20th anniversary archives. Thomas is one of BSJ’s original contributors.

Another vital veteran contributor, John Holt, waxes about his pursuit of Merriam turkeys (“One Big Turkey”). Methodical, ever introspective and wonderfully honest, Holt always brings us into the moment. Both stories uniquely express the need to get out into the elements to understand seasonal changes, to feel the turn of the breeze and think about a placement of a foot, a snap of a branch, the patterns of wildlife. It’s simple, primal and sublime, whether it happened 20 years ago or today.

Likewise, a new voice in this issue, Darcy Lohmiller, proves that adventure can be a sentimental experience as much as it can be a thrill. In her feature, “Ode to a Hunting Trailer,” she tugs at the threads of childhood, then romance, endurance and simplicity, sewn together like the coziness of an old quilt under the roof of a funky propane trailer.

Our stories will also guide you through the honey harvest in central Montana (Local Knowledge) and give you a new perspective of Big Sky before the resort (Images of the West). Finally, the landscapes of W. Steve Seltzer punctuate the beauty of our region, any time of year, but in autumn, they seem most poignant.

Perhaps that’s because fall in the Northern Rockies is relatively brief. The beauty of it is subtle. We don’t have the dramatic foliage of the Northeast, or even the contrast of aspens like Colorado. In Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, the shift from summer to fall frequently seems to be an overnight occurrence. One day in early October a cold snap freezes all the leaves in the wee morning hours and by sun-up the warming day brings them to the ground. The landscape that was brilliant a day before, quickly appears barren, but look closer and the season will engage you.

Take it in with all your senses before the snow flies.