Five months ago in the jungle of Semuc Champey, Guatemala, we met a crew of students from Montana State University in Bozeman. They invited us to stay with them when we passed through in early fall. The dangerous thing about offering that to unemployed roaming dirt bags like us is that we will actually take you up on it.
So, after spending a day hiking and biking in Glacier National Park we pushed Baby Beluga eight hours across the rolling prairie and mountainous expanse of Montana to one of the coolest cities we’ve yet to encounter on our adventure. Five different mountain ranges surround this 40,000 person college town. Bike trails meander along creeks through the neighborhoods to second hand gear shops, coffee shops, and yoga studios.
Ryan opened up his home to us for a few days and we relished being able to use a kitchen for the first time in months. The first evening we took him out to a local brewery, Ale Works, and marveled at the simple joy of eating out (metaphorically, not literally on the tailgate of the truck). Canada heavily taxes alcohol and gas, and as we couldn’t avoid purchasing one of them, we mostly abstained from the other. Subsequently, after two drinks in Bozeman, both Tyler and I were tapped out and ready to sleep on a real bed.
Back in the land of cell service, the next morning we walked around the neighborhood and caught up with the family and friends who had occupied so much of our thoughts and conversations. Ryan treated us to a drink at his coffee shop, Zócalo, which was teeming with Macbooks, dreadlocks, and colorful artwork. He and his roommate/best friend Luke (who unfortunately was in Colorado while we were there) started the company a couple years ago and it has since flourished. They organized the service adventure trip to Guatemala, and due to the positive reviews and success of that trip they’re planning two more in the coming year.
Another friend from Guatemala, Matt, took us climbing at a local sandstone crag one afternoon where we huddled in jackets between belays as the October air wicked away any hint of sweat. The next day he gave us a guest pass to the local climbing gym, Spire, where we spent four hours in the multi-story playground ensuring that our muscles would be sore in the subsequent days.
Bozeman was just what we needed to exhale and recoup after Canada. We were able to hang out and share meals with friends, watch a movie on Netflix, and replace our worn out shoes at REI. This special place is high on the list of future places to live.