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Top 10 Car-Camping Spots

It’s that time of year again: crisp air and cool mornings mean the last days of good camping weather are upon us. So after class this Friday, grab your gear, pack up the car, pick up some friends and head out for a weekend in the good ol’ Big Sky country. Here’s a list of spots to hit before the snow comes down.


1. Canyon Ferry Lake, south of Helena

Pull your Subaru up to the bank and prepare for a weekend relaxing in folding chairs—Canyon Ferry is a multifaceted recreational destination. Set up your spinning rods, break out the barbeque, and daydream about a fresh walleye dinner. You can scout the area’s great cliff-jumping areas for when you come back in the summer months.


2. Fairy Lake Campground, northern Bridgers

Take some buddies and trek up to Sacajewea, chill on the shores of the lake with a good book, shoot the breeze, or scope out the rope swing and try to dare one of your friends into taking the plunge. Be prepared though; it’s a long drive back into town.

3. Squaw Creek, Gallatin Canyon
Some of the most breathtaking sites can be seen just steps away from your truck, car, or tent at the top of Castle Mountain and Garnet Peak. Looking to climb? Just a short walk away, Scorched Earth and The Cave have some great climbing routes and stay warm in the afternoon.

4. Madison River, Ennis/Norris
Ever read Huckleberry Finn? There’s a reason they stayed on the river so long. Scaling Neat Rock, working on your cast, hiking the Bear Trap, and an apres-outdoor soak at Norris Hot Springs. This is the life.

5. Greek Creek, Gallatin Canyon
There is no place greater to catch a break than here. Take it easy while listening to the Gallatin gurgle down the canyon. Fish in Yellowstone Park for the day with friends, head south and catch an IMAX movie in West Yellowstone, or devour some onion rings at the Corral Bar.

6. Yellowstone National Park
The first of its kind never ceases to amaze. Take a dip in the Boiling River, run alongside the buffalo in the Lamar Valley, or take a hike up Slough Creek with your favorite fly rod. The best part? No traffic jams of summer tourists in taking pictures of bears and moose out their Winnebagos.

7. Yankee Jim Canyon, Gardiner
What’s better than paradise? Paradise with a cheeseburger. Set up camp and head to Helen’s in Gardiner to work on your belly. Head back to camp and lie next to the churning rapids of the Yellowstone. Take your chalk bag and crash pad for some nearby bouldering.

8. Pine Creek, Livingston
A little bit of music will always ease you into a nice slumber. Catch some live music at the Pine Creek Café and wake up curled nice a tight in your sleeping bag, ready to take in a hike to the picturesque Pine Creek Lake. Bring your rod. The Cutthroats are waiting.

9. Colter, Cooke City
Wouldn’t you love to trek into the Beartooth Wilderness without humping a 50-pound pack? Car-camp it at the Colter campground and rise with the sun to get a jump start on a day hike into this rugged alpine environment. Leave the whiskey at home; these majestic mountains deserve to be seen without the hangover haze.

10. Hyalite Recreation Area, Bozeman
Just a short journey from town lands you in this pristine paradise. You can choose from three campgrounds to start from. Mountain bike to the breathtaking Emerald Lake, trail run up Hyalite Peak, or take a trip around the reservoir in your canoe. This is car-camping at its finest. Casual, midday starts are expected and Town & Country is only a 20-minute drive away in case you run out of food.

This blog post is adapted from an article published in Outside Bozeman, Summer 2006, by Becky Edwards.

 

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Halloween at MSU: Costumes and Events on the Cheap

Parading around in the best costume can be difficult as a college student—since you have around $20 to your name. How can you possibly show up your friends and colleagues when you can’t afford the new Iron Man MKIII armor? I’ll tell you how.


First off, you don’t need to do all of your shopping at places like Spirit Halloween, Wal-Mart, or K-Mart. Sure, these stores have everything you could possibly need to blow away the competition, but then you have to decide if the cost of looking good for Halloween is worth skipping a semester of school. (Oh, it is? I’m sure your parents will understand.)
It’s time to get creative. Luckily, Bozeman is chock-full of places to get awesome costumes at great prices. They probably won’t have Batman’s utility belt, but you can still put together a costume that will have your friends in a dumbfounded stupor.
  • ·      Sacks Thrift Store
  • ·      Nu2u Thift
  • ·      Head West
  • ·      Community Closet
  • ·      Catwalk
  • ·      Goodwill
  • ·      Second Hand Rose
  • ·      Re-Couture Boutique
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For more info on these stores, check out pages 32-33 in the MSU Pocket Guide.
If you’re really short on cash, your dorm room has tons of hidden treasures. There are endless possibilities if you put your mind to it. First, you’ve got your basics:
  • ·      Cowboy
  • ·      Zombie
  • ·      Gangster
  • ·      Homeless Guy
  • ·      Nerd
  • ·      Your “Favorite” Professor
If you’re still not sure, mix and match different ideas.
  • ·      Toilet paper can easy transform you into a ghoulish mummy.
  • ·      An old umbrella can be cut into bat-like wings and ears.
  • ·      Your girlfriend’s make-up bag holds countless treasures for making fake cuts, bruises, and discoloration for that will make your zombie outfit come to life!
  • ·      Old cardboard boxes, duct tape, CDs, and literally anything else you can think of can be combined make a killer robot costume.
  • ·      Using a sleeping bag and duct tape, turn yourself into a caterpillar.
If you have a lot of outdoor gear on your hands, you can sure use that too!
  • ·      Snowboarder/Skiier
  • ·      Rock Climber
  • ·      Lumberjack
  • ·      Long-Distance Runner (short shorts and headband of course)
  • ·      Hunter*
  • ·      Fisherman*

*It’s probably a bad idea to bring guns to costume parties. Also be wary of fishing poles with hooks on them.
After you put together the perfect outfit, where are you going to go? Parties are always fun, but there are plenty of equally fun alternatives.
You and your friends can always head to the Procrastinator Theater on the 30th or 31st at 8pm for the annual screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Admission to the movie is one can of food (if you’re wearing a costume—two without).
If you’re not particular to singing transvestites, you can always head off-campus and engage in what Bozeman has to offer.
  • ·      The Voodoo Ball 2: This 18+ event is a giant zombie-themed dancefest held at the Emerson Ballroom on the 29th.
  • ·      Freaker’s Ball: It’s a dance party at the Zebra Cocktail Lounge from 8pm-2am. $9 in advance or $12 at the door.
  • ·      Compound Productions Halloween Bash: A 21+ costume party held at the Filling Station on the 29th.
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For more info on these events, check out this website.
So sure, you can spend the money and get that super-realistic Master Chief outfit—or you can go party it up and have a night on the town in your completely unique costume and leave a wake of amazement behind you… all while maintaining that precious wallet full of cash. 

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Pep-Rally Perceptions

Ah the joys of fall football season—the sound of the band, swishing pom poms, and even the smell of game-day barbecues. There is, however, one aspect to football season that I’ve never been accustomed to—the homecoming pep rally.
Because I’d never been to a pep rally, I took my friend Whitney, who is undoubtedly the biggest Bobcat football fan ever to have graced the Gallatin Valley. Seriously, this girl has been to every home game in the past three years, and she even wore a Bobcats sticker tattoo on her face for two days straight. Now that’s commitment.
Before approaching the pep rally, I couldn’t help but stop at the downtown Co-op to buy coconut water. I’ve recently learned to embrace the inner hippie-esque attitude that Bozeman has instilled in me after three years of living here.

Once we arrived, organic beverages in hand, the energy of the crowd overwhelmed us. The hyper-enthusiastic cheerleaders and dance team bounced around while the Spirit of the West Marching Band played music from the Phantom of the Opera. An admitted musical nerd, I was highly entertained by their song selection. After chasing down our mascot, Champ, for an obligatory Bobcat pride picture, we mingled our way through the crowd to view the front part of the stage.

It was there that I saw something I’ll unfortunately never forget. All the 2012 Homecoming court candidates made their way to the stage, and “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé started playing over the speakers. The four guys were dancing to “Single Ladies”… this is a sight I could have lived without.

Through all the excitement and loud cheers, I did notice something I wasn’t expecting. The crowd at the pep rally wasn’t just students—community members and their children were there as well. Both old and new generations of Bobcats were all together supporting our university. It was then I realized how proud I really am to be a Bobcat and I wasn’t afraid to shout out cheers for the Cats. Turns out these homecoming pep-rally things really do work after all!

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Are you a Bozemanite?

Whether this is your first year at MSU or your fifth, the question inevitably arises: are you a true Bozemanite? Take our quiz to find out if Bozeman is really the place for you.
1. Do you plan your class schedule so that you can make it up to the ski hill at least three days a week?
2. In the fall and spring, do you wear shorts underneath snow pants, to be prepared for any kind of weather?
3. Do you know at least three dogs names Bridger or Madison, and maybe one or two people?
4. Do you understand what the Barmuda triangle means?
5. Do you wait until July to remove your snow tires?
6. Do you start ski training in August?
7. Do you eat ramen all year so that you can afford outdoor gear?
8. Are cuts, bruises, and abrasions a source of endless story-telling rather than intolerable pain?
9. Have you worn Birkenstocks or Chacos with socks?
10. Does a “study day” involve throwing a couple books into your pack and heading up to the hill, whether it be to hike or ski?
11. Have you gone skiing every month of the year?
12. Have you danced the night away at Music on Main?
13. Have you guided your car through a cattle drive on a state highway?
14. Do you drive a Subaru?
15. Have you gotten up before dawn to go fishing?
16. Have you entered in at least one of Outside Bozeman’s contests in an attempt to score awesome gear?
17. Do you float the Madison or Jefferson every summer?
18. Have you watched live music at Norris Hot Springs while your hair forms icicles?
19. Have you gone extreme sledding down Peets Hill, sans helmet and knee pads?
20. Do you chuckle good-naturedly at the antics of obvious out-of-staters, calling them “tourons”?
———————————————————————-
0 points: What the heck are you doing here? If all you do is study and sleep, might as well be in Kansas or Nebraska.
1-6 points: You’re not a total loser, but you are pretty pathetic. Throw away the Valium, wipe the slobber off your chin, and explore this awesome town we call home.
7-13 points: Not a bad start, but you’ve got plenty of work to do. Keep doing what you’re doing; if you need some guidance, check out the MSU Pocket Guide and Outside Bozeman magazine.

14-20 points: Congratulations, you’re a Bozemanite! Now, the bad news: you’ll never be able to leave this awesome place, and for the rest of your life, envious house guests will take over your living room every summer and winter.

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The new MSU pocket guide is here!  Time to begin your treasure hunt; X marks the spot.  (Hint: X’s are found at the following locations).  Good Luck!

Around MSU:                                          
Admissions/New Student Services
Ask Us Desk
Bookstore
Career Services
SUB Cafeteria
Office of Student Success
Culbertson-Mullan Hall
Hannon Hall
Hapner Hall
North and South Hedges
Visual Communications Building
Langford Hall
Outdoor Recreation Center
Residence Life Central Office
Roskie
Bracken Center
Student Health Services


Around Bozeman:
Sola Cafe
Food for Thought
Joe’s Parkway
Junga Juice
Pack-Tech
College Street Cafe
Culture
Daily
Paulie’s
Spire Climbing Center
Wild Joes
Nova Cafe
Duds and Suds

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Cash-Saving Tips, Bozeman Style

 

Over half of all recent MSU graduates hold a student-loan debt of $24,000 dollars or more. To put things into perspective, that’s 3,000 hours of working at a minimum-wage job, one-tenth the cost of an average home, or 48,000 tacos. Put another way: twenty-four grand is a shit-ton of cash.
College should be a fun and rewarding experience, not a time to worry about falling into crippling debt—so start pinching pennies now instead of taking out more loans. Here’s a list of practical and creative methods to save some cash.
Get Books for Cheap
Remember that you’re in college to learn (we hope). Inevitably you’ll have to spend more money on books than you want to. Besides giving yourself time to shop around for the best prices, try a few of these tricks:
·      Ask if a friend owns the book you’re looking for. Bribe that friend with a case of beer, wash his or her car, etc. Do whatever you need to do.
·      Check out the library. Most professors will place a copy of your textbook on reserve. Read it there, take notes, or make a few photo copies to take home.
·      Make friends the first few days of class and split the costs of a single textbook. Take turns with the book or hold group study sessions.
·      Wing it like Maverick and Goose on Top Gun. Legend speaks of a chosen few who have made it through class without a book. It’s not easy, and we’re not advocating this to just anyone, but it can be done.
Stop Paying for Gas
A car is a blessing and a curse. The Bozeman area has dozens of places to visit by vehicle, so you can find out why Montana is called “the last best place.” But with gas, insurance, and maintenance, road trips can rapidly move down the priority list.

Biking, on the other hand, is away of lifefor many Bozemanites, as many ride to class year-round. What you lose in convenience, you’ll make up for in savings—the cost of maintaining a bike for a year averages a paltry three hundred bucks, compared to eight grand for a car. Not to mention that pesky MSU parking permit—$160 buys a lot of frozen burritos.

Try Bozeman’s awesome Streamline bus. As a free community service, these big yellow beasts run year-round, offer late-night service, and have routes to nearly every section of town. They’ve got racks for your bike and comfortable seating, so when you’re pooped or the weather’s crappy, hop onboard and take a break. For all you guys and gals who love to hit the powder, winter routes to Bridger Bowl and Big Sky are available on weekends and MSU holidays.
Eating & Drinking on the Cheap
If you’re not careful with your money, it will slowly sink into the quicksand of groceries, eating out, or even that daily cup of coffee. Living like a monk is one solution to saving cash, but not a fun one. Keep track of how much you spend, look for deals, and think about these tips:
·      Use coupons. You can only eat PB&J twice a day for so long, so enhance your intake with coups. In addition to the various coupon books found around MSU and Bozeman, the MSU Pocket Guide has nearly 50 cash-saving coupons,  many of which let you eat like a king on a pauper’s wage. Play “restaurant roulette” the next time you hit the town—flip through your Pocket Guide, find a coupon, invite some friends, and live beyond your means for a night.
·      The U.S. Department of Health notes that college students spend about $5.5 billion per year on alcohol, mostly beer. If you find yourself heading to the bar, bring only a predetermined amount of cash. Twenty bucks should be enough for a decent evening, especially at the Molly Brown, the Haufbrau, or the Eagles (check out the 2-for-1 drink coupon in this year’s Pocket Guide). It’s easy to get swept up in the moment and buy a round for everyone, but while this may make you a popular friend, it won’t do much for your wallet.
Be Creative with Your Leisure Time
If you think weekends in this town are a bust, you don’t know Bozeman. Music, art, outdoors; choose a topic and chances are there’s at least one event to pique your interest. If you make smart decisions and use a bit of creativity, you can have fun and save money at the same time. Try planning a picnic at the M, go window-shopping downtown, throw a disk in Rose Park, or check out a cheap concert at Reynold’s Hall. Any of these activities less than the movies and can be a lot more fun.
For additional money-saving tips, check out the MSU Pocket Guide’s Twitter feed or Facebook page for daily updates on area events, or visit our parent publication, Outside Bozeman, for an in-depth list of activities in the local area.
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Dorm-Room Décor

Your new home… yawn. Time to decorate!

As an impoverished college student, coupons and thrift stores are your two best friends. But that doesn’t mean you have to live a Spartan existence, devoid of comfort and style. Here are some affordable ways to spice up your dorm room—or your off-campus bedroom—on a limited budget.

Light it Up
Add interesting lamps for some nice mood lighting. Dorm-room lights are usually florescent and can hurt your eyes after hours of studying. Hit up local thrift stores to find funky lamps and shades. Get small Christmas lights, rope lights, or other decorative string lighting to hang on the walls and ceiling. This adds a nice touch and will make your room seem like a penthouse suite compared to those boring rooms with only an overhead light.
Outdoor Décor
Climbing shoes + hook = decor

Use outdoor gear as decoration. Instead of stashing your skis under the bed, prop them somewhere visible and useful—maybe in a corner, where they can double as a coat rack. Hang up a hook for your climbing shoes. Like the classic old snowshoes on the cabin wall, outdoor items add individuality to your room—and keep you from having to search the closet when it’s time to head outside. Just don’t forget that gear is for activity first and decoration second.

Get Creative
Make it new again with artwork. Art can come in all forms and it doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to make your room look awesome. Once again, Bozeman’s numerous thrift stores often have cool paintings for under $10. Rummage through the fabric bin and find a makeshift tapestry. Don’t forget about garage sales; scour Craigslist and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle for locations each weekend. If you can’t find anything you like, make something yourself. You don’t have to be Picasso or Rodin; just pick a medium and go crazy. You can also alter thrift-store pieces to make them more to your liking.
Thrift stores have cool stuff for cheap

 

Other Ideas
Use old fabric as a throw for your bed—just make sure it’s been washed. Make a collage with photos of friends and family (you might not miss your parents at first, but homesickness will eventually set in). Get a small potted plant to bring life and color to your room. And when they hand out free posters on campus, look at them from an aesthetic perspective; they might just be worth hanging up.
For a full list of area thrift stores, check out this year’s MSU Pocket Guide, which will be available around campus starting August 6 and online at digital.msupocketguide.com on August 13. More style-on-a-budget ideas can be found in last year’s guide.
Becoming a part of the MSU community.

Welcome to the Pocket Guide

So you were walking around campus and happened to find a copy of the MSU Pocket Guide lying around, its sleek cover and unassuming size standing out from the ubiquitous and humdrum reading material scattered around MSU.
Maybe while flipping through the pages you found a great place to eat, 
discovered a new study spot, or read about a cool MSU program you never new existed. Perhaps a special sale on skis caught your eye or you learned that you can rent a raft from the Outdoor Rec Center for only $40/day. Maybe that column on parent-sitting kept Mom and Dad from noticing that your laundry hasn’t been done in two months, or our list of student discounts saved you enough cash to finally get off that Ramen-only diet.
Whatever caught your eye, eventually you found yourself here, at the MSU Pocket Guide blog: an ongoing companion to our once-a-year publication. This blog is a place for staying informed, engaged, and entertained—we’ll post a little bit of everything, including the best spots to go fishing, updates on what’s happening around MSU, and weekly reports on what it’s really like to be a student. Not to mention life and leisure in and around the great town of Bozeman, Montana.
You already have enough homework, so let us do the research and planning for you. In addition to this blog, we’ve got a Facebook page and Twitter feed for daily updates. Head to our website for photos, money-saving coupons, contests, and more articles and info on student life.
If the outdoors are what you’re after, check out our parent publication, Outside Bozeman Magazine, and learn more about the recreational world of southwest Montana. With our help, you can get outside and experience the best of what Bozeman and MSU have to offer—without the frustrating and time-consuming trial-and-error period. School itself is an epic adventure; no need to make things any harder on yourself when you finally get a break for some outdoor fun.
So head down to the Western Café and eat like a king, then hike the M to burn off the calories, or shoot up to Bridger Bowl for a powder day. Hit-up a music venue downtown, climb the Bozeman Boulders, or simply enjoy a cup of coffee at Wild Joe’s, with ample seating, tasty treats, and reliable WiFi. These are just samples of the abundance and diversity that exist beyond the usual student haunts. Plenty more exist.
Once you get a chance to really see what MSU and Bozeman are all about, it will become pretty clear why this little mountain town will be one of the best places you’ll ever live. Our goal is to get you there sooner rather than later.
Welcome to MSU. Welcome to Bozeman.
—The MSU Pocket Guide staff

Student Life, Outdoor Advice