Photography by Aaron Agosto

From the Editor: Back in Action

A collective calm descends each spring in the Northern Rockies. The ski resorts have closed, tourists have retreated, trails are muddy, and warm sunny days are sprinkled in between rainy or snowy ones. It’s a simmering of sorts, an in-between that allows us just enough time to develop a palpable anticipation for the rowdy summer season ahead. It’s when I plan my adventures, daydreaming about road trips and backcountry excursions.

And this year, for some reason, I’m at a boiling point — more amped to get outside and play than I’ve been in a long time. I’m ready to bask in the sun, conquer mountains, float and fish rivers, bike trails, sleep under stars, and enjoy the music festivals that are back after a forced two-year hiatus. I want to do it all, which is ironic because, as I write this, I’m in bed recovering from COVID. Maybe it’s the quarantine talking, but I feel strongly that, for those of us lucky enough to live in this region, it’s time to get back in action, shake off the pandemic hangover, and enjoy the people, places, and activities that drew us here in the first place.

This issue certainly helped ignite my excitement; the summer-centric stories serve as a reminder of just how incredible this part of the world is — culturally, ecologically, and recreationally. For instance, the profile of writer Doug Peacock — the “insurgent conservationist” who inspired Edward Abbey’s legendary character Hayduke — provokes us to consider the animal species that called this place home long before we did. But, more than that, reading about the adventures he’s experienced and the risks he’s taken to make a difference points to the importance of a life well-lived.

“I’ve been really lucky,” Peacock says. “I’ve glimpsed the edge, that quiet forest where something predacious is going on. You sense an animal that’s hunting you. Everything gets quiet. It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s the universe of our evolution as humans, the foundation of our relationship with the world. That’s an experience worth protecting.”

In this issue, you can also learn about the dedicated group of people who have made it possible for communities throughout Montana and beyond to experience Shakespeare performances each summer for the past 50 years; how and why Bozeman, Montana became what’s considered by many as the fly-fishing capital of the U.S.; the Montana Dinosaur Trail, which “offers a glimpse at the historic discoveries in the state and provides visitors with a better understanding of the giants that once inhabited our planet;” and Montana’s “forever faithful” dog, who touched the hearts of people around the world.

In addition, our music and arts festival calendar, collection of events celebrating Yellowstone National Park’s 150th anniversary, and humorous look at trail etiquette tips can help inspire your own summer plans. I hope you’re as excited for this season — and the adventures that are sure to ensue — as much as I am.

Together, let’s get back in action, make up for lost time, and, like Doug Peacock, strive to create a life well-lived.

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