Missing Missoula

Living a nomadic lifestyle means saying goodbye more often than living a stationary life. Saying goodbye is never fun, so every transition we make is a melancholic experience. For me, leaving Missoula is particularly sad because this is my third time spending months in Missoula. I have established friendships here. I have favorite places and many things I love to do here.

When I retired, I researched places for an extended trip and after checking out many towns, I chose Missoula because of its similarities to Asheville. My thinking was that since I was going alone it might be a good idea to select a place similar to what I already knew. Missoula turned out to be a great choice and a couple of years later I returned to Missoula alone again. Because of my fondness for Missoula, Mary thought we should return to Missoula this trip and I eagerly agreed.

Missoula is always spectacular and a few of the reasons it was spectaular this time are listed below:
  • Spending time with long-time friends from Missoula, having long-time friends from other places visit Missoula, and making new friends in Missoula.
  • Spending time with family on Findley Point.
  • Mary loved the kayaking on the Lochsa, Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers. Her favorite was early spring kayaking on the Blackfoot when the water was high and no one else around. I enjoyed kayaking the Blackfoot and the Clark Fork. It seems like all the rivers in the west are beautiful - the water is clear and the scenery is beautiful.
  • Learning to play pickleball - the pickleball players in Missoula are the best. I knew nothing about the game and they taught me to play and worked with me to improve my skills.
  • Out to Lunch and Downtown Tonight in Caras Park with the 50+ group.
  • Saturday mornings at the market with friends. The market in Missoula has locally grown fruit, vegetables and flowers. It also has locally made baked goods, breakfast and lunch. There are also street musicians (many children) providing entertainment.
  • Spending time in Potomac with the Donkeys, dogs and wonderful friends.
  • Hiking in Pattee Canyon and the Bitterroot Mountains.
  • Mountain biking in Pattee Canyon, the Rattlesnake, Blue Mountain and on the Hiawatha, . Mary also enjoyed the Sunday morning group road rides through Missoula and surrounding areas.
  • Riding the carousel with friends from out of town.
  • Moxie loved the open areas and the variety of wildflowers on her daily walks.
  • The long summer days (up to sixteen hours of sunlight per day).
  • Fresh huckleberries along trails and huckleberries made into pies, turnovers, muffins, jam, ice cream, milkshakes, etc.
  • Delicious d inners prepared by Chef Niffer and whoever happened to be around at dinner time.

There is only one thing I do not like about Missoula and that is the smoke from fire season. It does not last long (generally a week or two is all that is really bad), but while it is smoky, you cannot see the mountains, the air smells bad and ash falls out of the air. The fires don't burn out in a week or two but the winds shift and/or it rains and the air clears. I really shouldn't whine about the smoke when there are people and wildlife who loose there homes and lives in the fires.

Missoula holds a special place in my heart, but life is an adventure and we must move on. We both will miss Missoula and I will be very sad for about a hundred miles down the road. I have found that a hundred miles down the road is where sadness leaves and the excitement of a new adventure takes over.