Montana: by a Northern Californian

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-8-47-46-amIt is no secret that the majority of the University of Montana student body is made up of Montana born and raised students (we’re talking 74% in-state). It is also no secret that there are “Keep California Out!” signs on everyone’s lawn (not really).

“Oh where are you from?” – Seemingly interested older Montanan

“Sacramento, California!” – Me

“…I’m sorry…” – Now uninterested and bitter older Montanan

“I’m not 🙂 Thanks for having me!” – Smiling me

Take a minute to listen up. I may not speak on behalf of the rest of the Californians in Montana, but I have a perspective I’d love to share. The second I stepped on University of Montana’s campus I knew that it could be my home away from home. The city of Missoula, hell the state of Montana, felt like hugging someone that you haven’t seen in years. I’ve been here for 4 very short years and no, I don’t plan on staying, but yes I will be back to visit. The reason being that it offered the experience of a lifetime for this particular time in my life.
For anyone who’s interested, University of Montana allowed me to step away from most everything I knew in Sacramento (yes I had seen snow, every year in Tahoe minus the recent winters). I was able to clearly establish my values as a young adult, assess the type of future I wanted, and walk away with some of the best friendships I will have for a lifetime.
You see, us Northern Californians appreciate tall trees, snowcapped mountains, cleaning our campsites and wandering to find that adventure just doesn’t end. I can single-handedly agree that California has some extreme undesirables. But so does Montana (hello Meth Capital), so does Colorado, so does New York, and Wyoming and every other state you can name. How do you think Arizona feels hosting all the frail Montana old-timers looking for warm retirement? Probably a mix of “stay in your own state” and “please contribute to our economy; look we have handicap approved EVERYTHING!”

I’ll leave on this note. The amount of times that people think that I’m a Montanan prior to asking is remarkable. Let’s just say I’ve had to convince just about everyone I meet with a valid California drivers license. My experience with those who are excited to have me is what makes Montana “the last best place”. The nay-sayers couldn’t keep me out if they tried.

By: Lia Sbisa, proud Sacramento Native and Montana Visitor

Alaskan Malamutes for Dummies

* Be advised this is one person’s opinion and experience of owning an Alaskan Malamute… oh that’s kind of what a blog is.

Like owning a pet of any kind, Alaskan Malamutes are a huge responsibility.  You have to devote a part of every day to exercising, playing with, training, etc.

I got my Malamute, Simba, when he was about 10 weeks old, during winter break.  He’s now 11 months. Was it a smart idea to get a puppy while still in college? Probably not. None the less, I don’t regret my choice. He has changed my life for the better.20160131_141429

When I decided to get a malamute, I did a lot of research on the basics of the breed’s characteristics, personalities and training. Was I prepared to raise a malamute? Hell no.

I now had this little fluff ball in my life who was energetic and adorable. I was clueless to how to raise a dog, even with all of my research. I didn’t know what kind of shots he needed and for how long. It was one of those times when you call your mother to ask how to do your laundry. I did call my mother, got the vet’s number that we’ve used for ages and looked online about puppy kindergarten. I found out to participate in puppy kindergarten he had to have his first set of shots. Simba ended up going it Sit Happens for puppy kindergarten an hour a week. This is crucial for puppies to socialize with other dogs while they are under 5 months.

I also didn’t know how much to feed him, especially when he was rapidly growing until 7 or 8 months.  He gained about 10-12 pounds every 3 weeks when he visited the vet.  Therefore his food amount increased often.  I mainly followed the directions on the back of the food bag regarding how much to feed him.  While observing if he finished all his food, and if he was getting a little too skinny or fat. It was actually very hard to tell when they are still in the growing phase. When he was young I fed him 3 times a day because it was better for his digestive system. Now he has 2 cups of food in the morning and 2 cups in the evening. Furthermore while malamutes are younger, you shouldn’t allow them to jump over anything that is the same height or higher than their shoulders to prevent hip complications since they are more susceptible to hip dysplasia.

Malamutes need exercise. A lot of what I read said Malamutes are energetic and need exercise to the extent that they need work to do – whether it be running, hiking, walking or playing with you or other dogs. An exercised Malamute is a happy Malamute … and owner. That’s the truth. When Simba was younger, I left him while I was in class for 3 hours. When I returned, he’d chewed up the couch cushion and toilet paper is all over the floor. He now stays outside while I am away. Also getting a hike or an hour walk each day.20160722_181211

Malamutes are independent and at times stubborn. I constantly experienced this every single time we did dog training classes. Simba would only follow commands as long as it benefitted him. In other words, as long as you had food to give him.  So don’t be surprised or disappointed if your malamute doesn’t follow your every command. In many instances Simba still won’t come on command.

On hikes, due to being independent, he would wander off by himself for short periods of time. One time on a hike, when he was 4 or 5 months, he disappeared during a walk. I spent 20 minutes calling his name and walking back and forth on the trail. I was in full panic mode. I ended up calling my mother and brother to see if they could come and help me find him. Fortunately, my brother was walking his roommate’s dog in the same area and drove past my car. Sitting by the car was Simba. To say that I was relieved was an understatement.

Malamutes like many artic breeds, are extremely friendly. Therefore they don’t make the best guard dogs. They are more likely to invite an intruder in and ask them for pets. Simba displays this characteristic to a T. He is extremely friendly to everyone he encounters to an extent that he will occasionally jump on them. He doesn’t realize that most people don’t want an almost 100-pound dog in their face. Let’s just say he is still learning not to jump on people

All and all malamutes are  intelligent, energetic, independent breed that requires dedication to raise them.  But once you earn their respect they are a family member for life.20160723_082617

Bearly Puns at Montana’s U

Bear with me every one, these puns might not even koala-fy as puns.

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To be honest this might be one of your most grizzly online experiences ever.

Don’t be embearassed you can share this on your Facebook… someone will think you’re not crazy.

Just bear in mind that life may never be the same.  

I once hiked the M…bearly made it up alive…

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Did you know the M was built by forestry majors with their bear hands? 

The University should plant some strawbearies for students to eat at the food zoo garden…

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After the #UMLockdown should students be able to bear arms?

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Ever had a crush on someone in college and wanted to strip them bear?

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Stoop kids….such grizzled people they are….

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When I was a freshman I always lost my bearings finding my classes!

These dorms clawsits suck – said every UM freshman ever

A Student and his pet bear walk into the Iron Horse. As the night goes on they move from beer to mixed drinks to shooters. Finally, the bartender says: “Last call.” So, the student says, “One more for me… and one more for my bear.” The bartender sets them up and they shoot them back. Suddenly, the bear falls over dead. The man throws some money on the bar, puts on his coat and starts to leave. The bartender, yells: “Hey buddy, you can’t just leave that lyin’ there.” To which the student replies: “That’s not a lion, that’s a bear.”

Hope you bearly enjoyed this post, it was unbearable to write.

 Love,

 Unbelievab.ly

P.S.
Is it really pawsible the university puts laxatives in the Food Zoo food?

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Denali Seen From Above 10,000 Feet

Denali aka Mt. McKinley is the highest mountain peak in North America with a summit of 20,237 feet.  At some 18,000 feet, the base to peak rise is considered the largest of any mountain situated entirely above sea level. Measured by topographic prominence, it is the third most prominent peak in the world after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. They are working towards changing the name officially back to Denali, meaning the “the great one”, considering the fact that the mountain is named after a president that never even laid eyes on it. Located in the Alaska Range in the interior of Alaska, McKinley is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve. The air in Denali National Park is exceptionally clean, allowing for spectacular views of the Alaska Range when the mountains are free of clouds. National Park Service air quality monitoring has shown that Denali consistently has some of the best visibility and cleanest air measured in the country. That being said, I was blessed with these views due to the fact that the middle of July (time of my trip) is considered to be the rainy season, during this period these mountains are commonly covered by a blanket of clouds. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I do, and that they inspire as much awe as they did while I took them.

For any interested the flight tour was taken with K2 Aviation located in Talkeetna, Alaska.

 

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