After an idyllic summer and the tourists have all gone home around the middle of September, a crispness returns to the air in Montana. We wake to sunrises a little later and a little cooler each morning while the tops of the mountains are dusted with a little more snow each the night before. Eventually, snow falls in the valley and we all settle in for winter. Winter in Montana has a quiet, ethereal quality to it, and one I’m not quite skilled at enough to adequately describe.
December and January are dark and cold, and these two months see an influx of vacationers looking for a ski getaway, some snowmobiling, or a unique experience.
But in February, the days get a little longer, the sun is a little brighter, and a few birds start coming back. While still cold (today’s high is negative 4 degrees, but in a few days it will be up to 34 above), it feels a bit different. It’s the home stretch. Sunrises linger in pink; the evening alpineglow on the snowy peaks of the Madison Range are breathtaking. February is Montana’s best kept winter secret. It is perfect for building snowforts, backcountry touring, and yurt hopping.
“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”
― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
For some reason, this famous quote by John Steinbeck never gets old to me. Some feel it is overused and possibly abused, but the thousands of times I have read it I get a lump in my throat. I was born and raised on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Montana, and after leaving for ten years or so to see the world and experience what I thought life should be all about, I came back. I couldn’t resist the pull of simplicity, of the live and let live of my youth.
Alpine Honey Glow:
2oz Montana Honey Moonshine
.5 oz grenadine
Top with Orange Juice
Also excellent with our Eau de Vie, found only in our tasting room.