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Lessons in the Landscape

When you stand on the Gallatin Crest, you can see every prominent peak in the Madison and Gallatin ranges—Lone, Cedar, Sphinx, Hilgard, Hyalite—all blended in a single granite sea. Cirques, a glacial erosion feature common in the Gallatins, form dramatic, gaping amphitheater-like formations, while lodgepole pine, hundreds of years old, stand as silent spectators to the show.

It’s quiet up here at 9,000 feet; no drone of freeway traffic and even other recreationists are sparse. Reaching Windy Pass, on which is perched one of many rentable rustic Forest Service cabins in the region, it’s just a three mile hike down to the parking lot, then a bumpy ride back to
Highway 191 where I’ll grab a post-run brew and bite to eat in the canyon. The freedom to escape is alive and well in Big Sky, Montana, and it’s very much possible to make it home in time for dinner.

I moved here five years ago to do exactly this: stand atop a mountain range and level with things that are older and wiser than I, to learn their lessons and see what mere humans are capable of in their presence. I wanted to do so without the days-long commute, the accommodation costs, the time off, and related logistics that accompany life in a bustling metropolis.

I also wanted to take in the landscape I devoted my life to. To see it from my living room window while reading a book, from the park where I walk my dog, or framed in my windshield on the way to work, the same commute where I pass strings of RVs with miscellany license plates snaking their way to the next adventure.

As more people move here to find their own escape— whether from their daily battle in rush-hour traffic, a change in scenery or a global pandemic—more people will be learning what draws them to southwest Montana.

Even if, for a span of time, the busyness of life prevents me from escaping into the granite sea as often as I’d like, there’s still that view, the silent lessons it whispers and its indifference to how much snow is waiting to be shoveled from my driveway, or the amount of traffic in the canyon. The landscape, its peaks and valley and cirques, acts as a constant reminder for why I moved here in the first place.

Within the pages of VIEWS., our second edition, you may find these same wondrous discoveries. Enjoy the read. Enjoy the VIEWS.

– Mira Brody, Managing Editor