The Rich and Famous Experience Montana

This past summer my mind was blown as I was introduced to Montana in a completely foreign way. Growing up a Montana local in the small town of Anaconda, I am no stranger to the multitude of activities Montana has to offer.

I had heard of this prestigious and almost fictional resort where people who want to enjoy the ‘Montana Experience’ can come and take part in a whole range of activities from going on a cattle drive to white water rafting. This place is called Paws Up Resort.

Paws Up Ranch, Greenough, Montana
Paws Up Ranch Entrance, Greenough, Montana

Paws Up resort is located in Greenough, Montana. This resort is not your typical getaway, five star service is delivered on 37,000 acres of Montana countryside. The famous Blackfoot River runs through the middle of the property and the resort captures all of what Montana has to offer.

Paws Up TroughThe ‘Tank & Trough’ at Paws Up Resort.

Along with cattle drives and the white water rafting activity mentioned above, the resort also offers guided ATV rides, horseback trail rides, repelling, fly fishing trips, covered wagon rides, sporting clays, paint ball, archery, mountain biking, and hot air balloon rides. Guests are also able to spend time on Seeley Lake at a private lake house with the ability to rent powerboats and personal watercrafts.

Trail ride

 

The location that guests lay their head is also not the typical hotel room or even luxury suit. There are many different log homes located throughout the property that include a hot tub on the deck and a complementary vehicle to travel around the property. Some log homes also have a tent included.

mountain house

 

A popular option for guests is camping alongside the Blackfoot river. Any outdoor enthusiast who has explored Montana’s beautiful backcountry can attest to the relief once the tents have been constructed and camp has been made. One of the most popular amenities at Paws Up is the option to camp glamorously, or Glamp. Paws Up coined and pioneered the glamorous camping experience.

Glamping threw everything I knew about backpacking and camping into a blender, added some ice, tequila,  fresh squeezed lime, Cointreau, Damiana, and blended that shit into the best margarita possible. A camp butler then served that margarita in a salted glass to a guest on a leather couch, sitting by a fireplace overlooking the Blackfoot River. This act of Glamping astounded me every time I walked into the camp pavilion.

pinnacle-dining-pavilionThis is one of five camp pavilions associated with the Glamping tents.

The tents are a whole different story. Each pavilion is home base for six different wall tents, a camp butler to assist guests, as well as a private chef for breakfast and dinner. Each insulated wall tent is complete with electricity, running water, a full sized bed, sometimes bunkbeds for the children, heated blankets, heating/cooling unit, tiled bathroom, walk-in glass shower and the occasional hot tub on the deck. One of the most known and favorited tents is the ‘Honeymoon Tent’ at Cliffside Camp. This tent is perched on a cliff and has a copper tub that overlooks the Blackfoot River.

Cliffside camp

Honeymoon tent 2

Honeymoon tent

Camp Bathroom

As you can see, this is not the normal camping experience that a majority of people are accustomed to. A bell staff is on call for all Glampers for rides to and from all activities. Fresh linens are supplied daily, a fully stocked fridge awaits at the pavilion and a campfire awaits marshmallows.

The Wealthy and the Famous

Throughout my employment at the resort I was a bellman for a short period then an activity guide for the remainder of the summer. Paws Up stays fairly full throughout the busy months- June, July, August, and attracts a large range of customers. As you could conclude from the lavish amenities, the price tag to put your family up at the resort in Montana is far from comparable to a night at the Days Inn. This resort caters to a clientele that is very well off financially. One large car company had a week long demo at the resort debuting their new electric sports car. Other big corporations hold massive company retreats inviting management to come and enjoy what MT has to offer.

 

Included with the wealthy, is the famous. Due to non-disclosure agreements and not being able to gain permission from publicists I cannot say exactly who I interacted with so aliases will be provided.

Many of the famous travel for pleasure just as everyone else does. Movie stars and even royalty enjoy the activities with their families and loved ones, and have a blast doing it. I had the pleasure of meeting a Princess from Saudi Arabia. Her group was a complete blast, I was the archery guide for her group one afternoon and the lake guide another day. During archery, everyone got their turn in learning how to use a compound bow. Everyone really starts to have a great time once they start hitting the targets with the arrows. The competition between family members ensued shortly after.

I also had the pleasure of meeting a guy that has starred in some great action movies. I’ll call him Tim, his publicist wouldn’t grant me permission to use his name. He was a great, down-to-earth guy who thankfully wasn’t as fierce as some of the roles he has played. Tim was there with his family and also had a great time with me on the archery course. His son really started to excel with the bow and Tim was a natural, hitting the vital area of the target multiple times.

 

In conclusion, I was glad to meet everyone I encountered throughout my employment, at Paws Up Resort. All the guests were enjoyable and a pleasure to guide and interact with, while the management and fellow employees made working there a very fun experience.

 

Author : Chris Stokke

 

 

 

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Around The World And Back

It all started one day sitting in high school not sure what in the heck I was going to do when I graduated. A Marine Corp. Recruiter came in to our class and I gave him an ear to talk to. Little did I know he would sell me on a trip of a life time. So three months down the road I was graduated from high school, sitting in sunny California, getting yelled at in boot camp. To flash forward a year or so, I was done with all my training and getting ready for what I really signed up for. To see the world of course!!!

So we set out on our deployment, The 13 MEU, and this hog right here was how we were getting around. Its a fine ship, a little crowded but damn it can do some damage if need be. The USS BOXER.

The first stop after leaving San Diego….you guessed it, Hawaii!! After spending three weeks on a boat I was much do for some R&R. I’ll tell you four days here wasn’t nearly enough though.

The second stop of the trip was beautiful GUAM. With its amazing sunsets and sunrises… I never wanted to leave. I’ve made it a point in my life to venture back to this fabulous place.

I guess if you need something fixed you better call on us. Taking a little break during the flight schedule while the jets launch.

Next up Phuket, Thailand. If I could get on a plane and truly leave any where in the world right now, this would be the spot I would head. The people are amazingly friendly. The weather is wonderful and the food is some of the best I’ve ever had.

Next stop Dubai. Here in this pic is the worlds tallest building, the Burj Khalifa @ 2,717 feet high. Being a Montana kid born and raised, when I stood at the base of this marvel I couldn’t help but stare up at it for hours. Its pure bliss, you can see it from 30 miles away. Its incredible!!ski-dubai_2406593kSkiing in the middle of the desert? Dubai is known for many things and yes this is one of them. They have an indoor ski slope there. Being thousands of miles away from home…of course I had to give this a shot!

Some more flight deck fun somewhere out in the middle of the ocean.

The next stop was in Jordan. During leave we were allowed to visit the ancient ruins of Petra. Above is the Treasury, standing at a staggering 40 meters tall, the view was breathtaking. Above is the the Monastery, another building carved into the red rocks of Petra.Deployment was quite an experience. Getting to travel the world with great people was something I always wanted to do. I would do it all again if I could, no regrets. Well maybe without the working part. The leave time was amazing. When the ship ported in places like Hawaii and Thailand, I was ecstatic with joy. Thanks for taking time to read my blog. I hope you enjoyed it.

 

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Montana’s Top 10 Natural Wonders

Did your favorite Montana natural wonder make the list?

10. Ch-paa-qn Peak west of Missoula, Montana

Ch-paa-qn Peak west of Missoula, Montana
Ch-paa-qn (pronounced “cha-pock-qwin”), is unique in that it is one of very few peaks in the state that possesses at least 4,000 feet of prominence.

9. Gunsight Pass in Glacier National Park

Gunsight Pass in Glacier National Park
The Gunsight Pass Trail is one of the most spectacular hikes in Glacier National Park, the diversity and variety of the landscapes, wildlife and vegetation are unbelievable.

8. Humbug Spires near Butte, Montana

Humbug Spires near Butte, Montana
The Humbug Spires are a grouping of over fifty granite spire formations that sit just a couple miles South and East of the hook in the continental divide, which makes its Westerly shift from the Boulder Mountains to the Anaconda Range just north the little town of Divide.

7. St. Mary Peak in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains

Saint Mary Peak is one of the most accessible 9,000+ ft peaks in the Bitterroot Mountains and offers spectacular views.
Saint Mary Peak is one of the most accessible 9,000+ ft peaks in the Bitterroot Mountains and offers spectacular views.

6. Belly River Valley along the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail in Glacier National Park

Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail is a tough trail, but it is worth it. Words cannot express the feeling you get after coming out of tunnel into the Belly River Valley.
Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail is a tough trail, but it is worth it. Words cannot express the feeling you get after coming out of tunnel into the Belly River Valley.

5. Flathead Lake in northwest Montana

Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States.
Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States.

4. Great Bear Wilderness near Glacier National Park

Great Bear Wilderness near Glacier National Park
The Great Bear Wilderness is on the west side of the Continental Divide, just south of Glacier National Park. In its 286,700 acres, it boasts some wonderful recreational opportunities for all ages.

3. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in Southeast Montana

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
A landscape of sheer cliffs towering 1,000 feet above a ribbon of blue water. An area sought the world over for magnificent fishing and as a place where wild horses still run free. A landscape overlaid with 10,000 years of human history.

2. Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park

Tripple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park
This spire is the three-faceted jewel in the Crown, dividing Rocky Mountain waters among the Columbia’s plunge to the Pacific Ocean, the Misssouri-Mississippi’s slide to the Gulf of Mexico, and the Saskatchewan River’s amble to the Arctic Ocean.

1. The Chinese Wall in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness

Bob Marshall Wilderness
With no roads dissecting the area and no motor or mechanical vehicles allowed, the Bob Marshall Wilderness hails as one of the best preserved mountain ecosystems left in the world. This 1 million acre wilderness holds one of the most brilliant natural features of the Rockies- the Chinese Wall, a 1,000 ft deep limestone escarpment that continues on for miles.

Honorable Mention: Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park (Ron Niebrugge)
While not included here because so little of it lies in Montana, Yellowstone National Park is spectacular. It sits on top of a dormant volcano and is home to more geysers and hot springs than any other place on earth. Approximately 50 percent of the world’s hydrothermal features are at Yellowstone National Park.