Although Montana has a lot of “dos,” it also has some “don’ts.” I am negotiating these through trial and error. I will add to the list after I have been here a bit longer.
Drive 85mph with no consequences
Bring your dog to the bar, the restaurant, etc.
Talk to everyone like you have known them for years
Try to smell nice on a hike
... and I am sure there are some other things.
The don’ts can be tricky. My friends and I decided to go for a short nature hike last weekend up in Bridger Bowl. My first Montana hike!!! I got ready, putting on my only pair of brown shorts, a black shirt, my hiking books (okay, okay… sneakers), and some deodorant and perfume. Sounds fine right? Wrong.
The second I stepped out of the car, I was assaulted by a mini swarm of (six or seven) large black bugs. They were so loud and they continuously dove for my head, neck, shoulders, etc. So, I did what any smart, confident girl who lived in a large city for the past five years would do. I screamed. I ran. I skipped. I jumped. I twirled. I said “NO!” to the bugs… My friends thought it was hilarious. I was essentially giving them an improv ballet. I assumed as soon as they were out of the car the bugs would distribute among the three of us and I would be able to defend myself from only a few bugs. Wrong.
The minute we hit the trail, the bugs multiplied ten fold. My friends were mostly ignored, while I became the center-point of a cloud of these insects. I felt like I was the nucleus of an atom, and all of these black bugs were electrons, spinning around me erratically. Every time the pests dove at my body I squealed and ran laps around my friends who continued to laugh. They finally suggested we could go – after about ¼ mile on the trail. That is, we were ¼ mile from the car, but with my running about, I had essentially jogged a mile. I begged my friend to hurry with the car keys as I danced around her, swinging my arms wildly as she fished around in her backpack.
She finally connected with the keys and I took off at a sprint. In my mind it was like a cartoon – I was Charlie Brown (okay, okay, Porky the Pig) sprinting for safety, while the swarm of bugs behind me formed large shapes to communicate their message. I pictured them forming an arrow pointed at my back, the words “get her!” and a giant sledge hammer. I ran that trail so fast my old PE teacher, Mr. Hanson, would have been proud. I made it back to the car, locked the door (in case these giant black fiends could open it with their horde mentality), and caught my breath while my friends walked back.
My friends say next time I am not allowed to wear perfume. I say next time I bring a tennis racket and kill anything that tries to get NEAR my face – or as I have begun calling it, my Money Maker… I am going white water rafting in Yellowstone this weekend. I don’t think I will even put on deodorant. The ratio of men to women here is 2 to 1 so I probably don't have to try too hard.