Yellowstone Park – World Class and Next Door

by Phil Knight

One of the best things about Bozeman is its location close to Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park and still one of the most amazing places on the planet. People come from all over the world to experience Yellowstone, but you can jump in your car and be at the north or west entrance in an hour and a half.
Yellowstone sprawls across a high plateau in the heart of the Rockies. Within the two-million-acre park is a vast and diverse landscape which will take some time to absorb. Plan to make repeated trips there and see it in its many moods and seasons. Spectacular rivers and falls, wide open valleys, geyser and hot springs, endless forests, plateaus, cliffs, canyons, and peaks combine in sublime and timeless scenery.
Geothermal Features
Geothermal activity in Yellowstone
Seething, bubbling, steaming, stewing… Yellowstone is unique on Earth for its diversity, and sheer number, of geothermal features. Also known as geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles, they are fueled by the immense Yellowstone Volcanic Caldera. Over 10,000 distinct thermal features turn Yellowstone into a wonderland like no other.

With over 300 waterfalls 15 feet or higher, Yellowstone is truly the land of falling water. The most well-known falls are of course the Upper (109 feet) and Lower (308 feet) Falls of the Yellowstone River, in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. You can stop at the popular viewpoints, or head out on the rim trails for quieter, more intimate views of this incredible canyon. Nearly every creek and river in the Park has falls and rapids on it. All this running water also means great swimming opportunities. For warm and hot water swimming, check out the Boiling River or the Firehole Canyon.
Grizzly bear scratching its back
All native mammal species still roam here, including gray wolves, reintroduced in 1995. Before mid-November you still have a chance of seeing grizzly and black bears. Bison number about 3,000 and are concentrated around Hayden and Lamar valleys. Elk gather in and around Mammoth Hot Springs during the fall breeding season, with males bugling, battling with other males, herding their harems, and chasing the occasional touron. You may also spot moose, bighorn sheep, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, eagles, badgers, hawks, osprey, and any number of other wild animals. Best of all is when you get to watch different species interacting. Just be sure to give all the wildlife plenty of room, and don’t offer them any food. 

With a dozen campgrounds, Yellowstone has lots of campsites, but they fill up fast in peak season. Some sites can be reserved through Xanterra, the concessionaire who runs the campgrounds. During the off-season—starting in late September—some campgrounds are still open and there are far fewer people. Catch some good fall or spring weather and you can have the place nearly to yourself.
Backcountry Hiking
Nearly a thousand miles of trails lace Yellowstone’s backcountry. From two-mile strolls to 100-mile expeditions, Yellowstone offers unparalleled wilderness hiking. Be sure to keep the bear spray handy, and make some noise on the trail—ALL of Yellowstone is bear country. If you’re going overnight, you’ll need a backcountry permit, available free at any ranger station.
Fly fishing in Yellowstone 
If you like catch-and-release fly fishing, the Yellowstone, Firehole, Madison, Lewis, Gardner, Gibbon, and Lamar are the place to go in the Park, which is open to fishing but closed to hunting. Other more obscure creeks may provide more solitude and challenge. A Park-specific fishing permit and barbless hooks are required.

If you want to see the Park at its most wild and desolate, take the winter drive through the north entrance and out to Lamar Valley. This is the only road in the Park kept open to wheeled vehicles in winter. Wolves are easier to spot in the snow and more active in the winter. Bring the skis or snowshoes for a good taste of the frozen season. You can visit the Park interior by snowcoach (multi-passenger tracked rigs), snowmobile, or cross-country ski. Mammoth Hotel is open in winter, as is Old Faithful Snow Lodge (both run by Xanterra). Or stay outside the northeast entrance for an easy trip into the Lamar—try Pine Edge Cabins in Silvergate or one of the motels in Cooke City.
For an in-depth Yellowstone experience with a seasoned instructor, check out Yellowstone Safari Company  or sign on to one of the many classes offered by Yellowstone Association Institute.


Battle the Homesick Blues

by Meghan O’Neal

You’ve moved into the dorms, said goodbye to your parents, and survived your first week of classes. After the whirlwind rush of the beginning of your new chapter in life, you finally have some time to wind down. And this is when the homesickness hits you like a toddler on roller skates.

Leaving home is hard, and whether you ventured to MSU alone or you came with a group of buddies,
sooner or later you’re going to ache for some sweet home cooking and a hug from mommy. It’s something everyone goes through after leaving home. When you start to feel down, here are some tips to keep the homesickness at bay.
Keep Busy
You’re in college, man. Left with no parents, no curfew, and a new sense of freedom, the only thing holding you back is your disturbingly light wallet. Never fear; the school provides more on-campus activities than you can possibly attend specifically designed to get you out of your dorm and meeting new folks. I know many of you may think that you’re too cool to attend an ice cream social in the basement of South Hedges. You’re not. Remember, the majority of the people in your dorms are looking for friends just like you. And what better way to meet someone than over a school-provided ice-cream sundae?
There are also many inexpensive activities off campus where you and your new ice-cream-social friends can go and get to know the town. Come to the Bozeman Bowl on Monday nights for cheap bowling and, for those of you over 21, cheap drinks. The place gets hopping, so be sure to get your lane early.

Explore Bozeman. You now live in the greatest town in the country. Get to know it. Don’t have a car? The Streamline Bus goes all over town and is completely free. And, of course, there is always the vast outdoor playground – and you don’t have to travel far to get there; the Main Street to the Mountains trails system is right off campus. Our motto isn’t “Mountains and Minds” just for kicks. Try a new outdoor adventure. The Outdoor Recreation Center offers rentals, classes, and general information on Bozeman’s outdoor activities. Drop by and try something new.

You do yourself no favors pining for home while drowning yourself in a bucket of half-melted Moose Tracks alone in your dorm. Get out, stay active, and you’ll soon forget all about your homesick woes.

                                                                Keep in Touch
Skype with family and friends to keep in touch

Now that you’ve established yourself in your new home, it’s important to keep in touch with those you’ve left behind. I’m not saying you should keep your nose attached to your phone while you text every kid you had a class with your senior year, but it’s important to maintain a connection with your besties back home. Plan group Skype dates once a week to swap college stories. Call your parents on the weekends to let them know what’ s going on. These connections are important and give you the boost you need in order to get through the week.

Keep Your Door Open

I know you’ve probably heard this from just about everyone, but there’s a reason. Keeping your door open shows that you’re willing to getto know your floormates. Remember, the majority of the people in your building are going through the same things you are: trying to meet new people, establishing their friend groups, and becoming comfortable with their environment. Don’t drop an opportunity to make a new friend. Even if you don’t become best friends with everyone who stops by, you will become more acquainted with the people you live with and gain a friendly reputation rather than getting a knock on your door because your RA hasn’t seen you in a few days.
Homesickness is difficult, and it’s okay to feel a little overwhelmed. You have to work hard in order to establish yourself and make Bozeman your home. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself pining for the Bridgersevery time you visit Mom and Dad, but until then, it’s okay to feel sad and scared and generally miserable. If you find your homesickness to be unbearable, there are resources to help. Visit the Counseling Center above Student Health Services. They provide free counseling for any student going through anything from slight homesickness to serious depression, so be sure to drop by whatever the need.

Hiking the ridge

Bozeman Slang

by Drew Pogge
Every town has a vernacular: a local lingo, idiom, or dialect.  For instance, in the Northeast, an ordinary ice cream cone is called a “creemie.”  Gross.  But Bozeman is no different and unless you want to sound like a creemie-slurping fool, study up before heading downtown.  Here are some terms you need to know.
Ridge Hippies earn their turns
Ridge Hippies—locally envied dirtbag ski bums who devote their entire lives to skiing Bridger Bowl’s famed steeps.  Also: sculpted, chiseled, and otherwise modified-looking hipsters who “fake bake” between yoga sessions and mugs of yerba mate at the Ridge Athletic Club.
Hunting Season—the specific time of the year in which it’s legal to kill some kinds of game animals.  In Montana, that time is, well, any time you want.
Bozeman Blight—a beloved part of northeast Bozeman that is undergoing large-scale renovation and improvement.  Also refers to the fact that the growing season for fruits and vegetables in Montana is approximately four days a year.
Cougar—a predatory cat native to the mountains of Montana.  Also, a predatory middle-aged women native to divorce courts, expensive rug galleries, and Plonk.

Downtown Bozeman
Downtown—in Bozeman, it’s the place to meet friends.  It’s also the title and infuriatingly redundant chorus of a 1965 “oldie” that radio DJs continue to play only because it’s fun to watch 
Belgradian—a resident of nearby Belgrade (also: Belgradite, Belgradonian, and “Mel”), and a blue-collar, beer-based beverage.
The Barmuda Trianglesounds like an area of the North Atlantic Ocean in which suspicious numbers of vessels and artcraft have vanished without a trace.  But it actually refers to the triangular configuration of the Molly Brown, Scoop Bar, and the Haufbrau, where suspicious     numbers of brain cells and inhibitions have vanished without a trace.