I’ve been enjoying Missoula, MT thanks to a speaking engagement at #NSSTS13 held at the University of Montana. I’ve been to Yellowstone as a child, but didn’t know much else about Montana or what to expect when I arrived. The first thing that stood out was their friendly, kind nature. Even the drivers were very nice. They slowed down and stopped, in case I wanted to cross the street. This is not the case in my city.

Artsy
The next thing that stood out was their electric boxes that control stop lights. The city I live in, they are littered with graffiti. There’s no other way to describe it. The graffiti is usually littered on a wall or fence – but they also scrawled their moniker with a permanent marker on most of the electric boxes. It’s financially cumbersome. Each year, it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove or paint over, with the unfortunate knowledge it will return again soon. I report it through a mobile application, Go Request, to save time. But, in Missoula, these boxes are painted by artists, with a variety of scenes depicting the town and the activities the residents enjoy.

That’s cool. Not hippy-dippy cool. Just I love my city cool.

#WallOfWater
The main attraction is the Clark-Fork river. I walked across a bridge and enjoyed its beauty daily on the way to and from the University of Montana. In the morning, I’d see men fishing for trout and people with their dogs along the trails next to the river. Often, the dogs were playing in the river. They were so cute. At lunchtime/afternoon, people would float by, relaxed on inter-tubes or small inflatable boats. I’d still see the dogs and people along the riverside. By evening, they were still there, and the fishermen were back. The water was clear, clean and inviting. I was reminded about Lewis & Clark, because their expedition took them through here and I walked by Hell’s Gate

The last day of the conference ended at lunchtime, and my flight left the next morning. I needed to get on the river. The temps had been in the high 80’s to low 90’s and the water was lukewarm. A group from the Summit booked a river rafting trip and I asked to tag along. I had never been river rafting, so I was pretty excited. Truth be told, I thought they were renting floating tubes, and I was pleasantly surprised. You can check out the rafting pics here.

Abundant Wildlife
I was on the lookout for wildlife as we traversed our course. Ask anybody who knows me, I love animals. I stop and pet domestic pets quite often. I can’t seem to help myself. During the approximate three-hour river adventure, I saw four bald eagles, a family of mule deer, a wild turkey, variety of jumping trout and a beaver. It was pretty exciting. Every rapid seemed to have a name, in addition to a few land structures: Tumbleweed, Fang, and Washing machine are a few I can remember. The guides at ZooTown Surfers know them all and I recommend this company if you want to go river rafting.

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