It became America’s 41st state on November 8, 1889. It’s so sparsely populated, there is an average of only six people per square mile. In fact, there are more cattle than people. This state was where the first woman elected to the US Congress was born, Jeannette Rankin, in 1916. It’s home to the record for the greatest temperature change in 24 hours anywhere on Earth, an incredible change of 103 degrees Fahrenheit, in 1972. It’s one of only three states with an official State Ballad and the first state to adopt a State Lullaby. And it is officially America’s least obese state. Today, we’re in the Treasure State, Montana.
Montana is a state in northwestern America, bordered by Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, North Dakota, Saskatchewan, South Dakota and Wyoming. It is the fourth largest state at just over 147,000 square miles, but has the 44th largest population at just over one million people. In 2001, the state flag was voted the third worst flag in America and Canada. Hmm, yes, well, that’s understandable. The state was given its name by Spanish explorers, coming from the Spanish word ‘montaña’, meaning ‘mountain’. The state’s motto is also Spanish, ‘Oro y plata’ or ‘Gold and silver’. Makes a pleasant change from all the horribly butchered Latin mottos many American states seem to have adopted. But that’s just my two pesetas…
Montanans are friendly, welcoming, artistic, cultured and nature loving. An outdoorsy sort of folk who like their beer, meat and cars. The state is massively diverse, despite its small population. It’s primarily an agricultural state, defined by its vast mountains, open prairie landscapes, thousands of rivers and its big blue sky. Hiking, fishing, hunting, watercraft recreation, camping, golf, cycling, horseback riding and skiing are popular activities. Over the decades, many hundreds of artists, photographers and authors have flocked to the state, inspired by the dramatic scenery, varied wildlife and rich culture. It’s also hugely popular among tourists, and it’s not hard to see why.
There are sights to see such as Bozeman, set in a dramatic landscape dominated by a colossal mountain looming large over the charming city below. Paradoxically ominous, yet somewhat calming. The city really is an alluring old girl. Elsewhere, there is history to digest such as Pompeys Pillar National Monument, a rock formation jutting suddenly and sharply from the ground, 150 foot into the air. Containing the signature of William Clark (of Lewis and Clark expedition fame) and many petroglyphs by the indigenous peoples of the land. The pillar is a mirable marvel. And then there’s Helena, the state capital. It’s beautiful and old-timey. An Elysian grace unlike anything modern, with mountains surrounding and that big blue sky encompassing her. Truly lovely.
I think the greatest site of the state is Glacier National Park. Over one million acres, over 130 lakes, over 1,000 different species of plants and hundreds of species of animals, all existing in one of the most stunning landscapes on Earth. It is a canorous and empyrean wonder, a staggering canvas of deep blue water, dominating jagged mountains and rich green trees. It’s like the gorgeous landscape of an unimaginable alien world orbiting a distant star, radiating hazy rays. It’s a boscaresque widdendream of unearthly delight.
Montana. The state of beauty, culture and thinness.
Images: 1) The flag of Montana (credit: wikimedia.org), 2) Glacier National Park (credit: mkalty.org), 3) Glacier National Park (credit: mkalty.org)
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