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Visiting Big Sky Country

by Katie Dozier |  Published: Nov 20, '12


After having just returned from a week in Montana, I think “Big Sky Country” is the most apt state nickname I’ve yet to see. Collin, Wilbur and I made the trek to see his Dad, Marc. Bringing Wilbur meant that we couldn’t fly (it would have involved two legs, which doesn’t seem fair to impose on a four-legged creature that’s too big for the cabin). Marc kindly offered to drive Wilbur back to Vegas afterwards— since that’s where I’m hosting Thanksgiving, so our driving time was cut in half.

And thank goodness it was, because our drive up was downright scary for me at parts. We drove through baby blizzards, and the roads were very slippery. The worst moment came when we slid a bit on a sharp exit. The anti-lock brake mechanism started beeping loudly, and I thought we were either going to slam into the jersey barriers or run off the road. Despite my desire to sleep at the gas station and wait for the roads to be plowed, Collin said our best option was to keep heading north. I’m very happy to say it was the right choice!

Once we arrived in Rollins, MT, I soon knew for sure that the trek up north was going to be worth it. The scenery was gorgeous, with the deep blue of Flathead Lake juxtaposed to crisp green pines trees and snowy mountain tops in the distance.

We soon settled into a routine of eating scrambled eggs for breakfast, then setting out on a new hike. With an escalating altitude, most of the hikes were snowy. The first day, we hiked up a mountain surrounded by pine trees with snowflakes melting on our cheeks. The snow seemed to absorb all the sound in the world, and I hope my memory of those beautiful alpine landscapes will remain frozen in me forever.

Back in the cabin, I realized that I had no hope of a career in wood chopping. Both Marc and Collin were great at it though, and we enjoyed many intense fires which were even more beautiful because they didn’t spring artificially from a Duraflame log. We also went fishing (didn’t catch anything, unless you count having to coax Wilbur back to shore after he jumped in after the line), and shooting where I was pretty happy with my aim.

Wilbur had the time of his life, and swam in many lakes. So that no hunter would mistake him for a bear cub, we had to put something neon on him. Naturally, I only had hot pink. Here he is asleep on my lap on the way back to our cabin after a long hike:

Even with the water near freezing, he was always thrilled to fetch a stick:

Or a log:

Although it looks like Wilbur’s trying to push Marc off a cliff, Wilbur loves him even more than a 48-ounce NY Strip:

On a clear night, the sky in Montana looks different than any I’ve ever seen. Instead of just a few twinkling stars in the distance, the sky commands your attention and is closer to the moving thing it actually is than the stagnant art it often appears to be elsewhere. We saw a meteor shower, and the big dipper seemed so close that I almost asked the sky if I could borrow it to serve my pumpkin soup on Thanksgiving.

Even without a heavenly ladle, I’m excited to spend Thanksgiving in Vegas with Collin’s parents. I have some fun ideas for what to cook on my favorite holiday, and hope that everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Katie “hotjenny314” Dozier is a lead coach for Team Moshman and one of the Grindettes. An accomplished super-turbo and MTT player, she makes videos for Drag The Bar and PokerStrategy . Dozier, co-authored Pro Poker Strategy: The Top Skills and The Superuser. She posts more frequent updates on Twitter.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


9 years ago

seems like a very nice trip! but shouldnt you have been wearing neon too? nothing would ruin a stroll in the wilderness like being shot at! happy thanxgiving!


9 years ago

I made myself a huge hot pink bracelet out of florescent tape that I wore when we were in a hunting area. Thanks for your concern and Happy Thanksgiving! :)


9 years ago

Hi Katie, Thank you for posting those beautiful photographs. They make me want to catch the next flight back to the States. Right now I'm in northern Spain. The terrain here is actually quite similar, but no snow yet.

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