5 Best Views in Missoula

Montana, the Big Sky State, is home to some of the most beautiful photography spots in the world. Many of these underrated views are within an hour drive from Montana’s second largest city, Missoula. Here are a few of my favorite Missoula spots:

  1. Mount Sentinel “M” Trail

This is probably the most iconic of Missoula views. The trailhead for the widely popular “M” Trail is right on campus, and a 30-minute hike will give you some of the best views possible of the valley.

2. Mount Jumbo

The Mount Jumbo hike is a bit longer than the “M” Trail, but certainly worth it for a lesser known lookout of the city.

3. Blue Mountain Recreation Area

Blue Mountain is a great area for a morning dog walk or a round of frisbee golf. This beautiful area is just a 10-minute drive from the city and has some amazing views of the South Hills.

4. Pattee Canyon

The Pattee Canyon road goes from the southeast corner of Missoula all the way to Bonner, Montana. Just be careful on the roads in winter.

5. “Top of the World”

“Top of the World” is the easiest of these spots to access. Simply drive all the way up Whitaker Drive and loop back down on Spanish Peaks Drive. Make sure to check out this view before the area is completely covered in real estate developments.

All photos by Elias Snyders (@EliasSnyders). To see more visit http://www.eliassnyders.com

More amazing spots near Missoula. Photos by Elias Snyders.


Top 5 Most Poisonous Human Foods for Dogs

By: Jake Briski

            Dogs are very selfless animals that love their owners more than they love themselves. Unfortunately we can’t share everything with them even though we wish we could. There are many dangerous human foods that can cause minor and major issues with your dog. I myself have two dogs that I treat like family and know how fun it is to share my food with them. Even though I do my best to be careful about what I give them, there have been a few instances where they have gotten into something they cant have. I have researched the top 5 foods that create harm to your favorite furry friend. Many of these foods cause a dog’s body to change certain substances within the food to a toxin after its metabolized. These toxins can then trigger cardiac arrest, low blood sugar and organs to start shutting down. The severity of these issues is based on weight, type of dog, and amount consumed so always contact your vet if you think your dog has consumed any of these foods.

1.  Raisins/ Grapes

            Even a small amount of Raisins or grapes can cause the kidneys to start shutting down.  Raisins are more poisonous than grapes since the drying process creates an increase in the level of the toxic substance. When consumed, this substance, once metabolized, attacks the kidneys in rapidly. Unfortunately I have had a terrifying situation with my dogs eating raisins. They both got into a half eaten granola bar that included raisins.  At first I didn’t think much about it until I started researching toxic food for dogs. Raisins were always high on the list, which made me panic. I ended up calling the local emergency pet hospital for advice. I didn’t know which of the dogs or if both had gotten some of the granola bar. I have one medium dog (Buddy) and one small dog Bella so it’s possible that the large dog didn’t share any of the granola bar. Either way I was advised to induce vomiting to look for the raisins and even after that to call our vet the next day to get a blood test done. To induce vomiting hydrogen peroxide is used based on the dog’s body weight. Even if symptoms are noticeable, kidney damage could already be taking place. With the help of a vet this damage can somewhat be reversed so that the kidneys don’t completely shut down.  Thankfully neither of my dogs had harmful levels of the substance in their system. This was a huge relief but now I know how dangerous raisins can be.

2. Snacks with Xylitol

            Many snacks and dental products include this dangerous substance called Xylitol. The most commonly known product with this ingredient is chewing gum. Others include cereals, sugar-free candy, peanut butter, and fruit snacks. Some people may be wondering about peanut butter being on that list but it’s true. Many manufacturers use this toxic ingredient to sweeten their peanut butter flavor. Make sure you check the labels because there are many options that are in fact a healthy and tasty treat for dogs. Xylitol can cause low blood sugar and liver damage.  I know this blog is about dogs but this substance, in particular, is more dangerous to our feline friends so be careful with all pets.

3. Macadamia Nuts

            Many nuts are ok for dogs to have but this one specifically is very dangerous. A substance in the macadamia causes damage to a dog’s nervous system, which could be permanent. This one, unlike the others, seems to be less researched since we don’t know exactly what happens and why this nut causes so much damage. This is a very good reason to simply keep this snack far away from dogs and other fur friends.

4. Onions

            There is a substance in onions and onion powder that when consumed by a dog causes a decreased ability for the red blood cells to carry oxygen. This triggers a process of red blood cells breaking down which could cause anemia. If anemia becomes acute a blood transfusion may be needed to help replace the bad blood cells. Being a dog owner I know that they are little vacuums so make sure when cutting onions that bits and pieces don’t end up on the floor for your dog to get.

5. Chocolate

            This one seems obvious but I feel it’s worth mentioning. The darker the chocolate the more toxic it is to dogs. It creates a toxic substance that raises heart rate and can even lead to cardiac arrest. Very small amounts may give your dog an upset stomach and diarrhea. Even though milk chocolate is diluted of this substance, dogs shouldn’t have any type of chocolate regardless of its type.

            I didn’t mention the symptoms that come along with eating these foods but many of them include vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, seizures and lethargy. If your dog ever seems out of the ordinary always consult you veterinarian to make sure things are ok. If left untreated many of these toxic foods can cause permanent damage and even death.

The Nonprofits You Need to Know Right Now -Missoula, MT Edition

Written by: Kayla Sheridan

The Missoula community has over 1,500 listed Nonprofit organizations.

As donors and volunteers, we want to spend our dollar and time on causes that produce the most significant welfare gains. However, many of us actually spend our resources on the causes that we care aboutCharity is exceptionally dependent on our own personal identities & Nonprofits help create a culture within communites.

The Nonprofit sector in Missoula has more organizations per capita compared to most other cities in the United States. The majority of these organizations work hard to both engage and educate individuals on issues and opportunities in the community. For the most part, Nonprofits strive to make positive change, provide a sense of community, and help individuals create an identity. Our Nonprofits in Missoula are essential in sustaining our unique community here!

Below are steps to help you find a Nonprofit you can support -I’ve included a link to the article further explaining these steps at the end of the post.

1)    Align Potential Organizations with Values
2)    Decide What Type of Do-Gooder You Are
3)    Research Online
4)    Fill Your Experience Gap
5)    Search Social Media
6)    Exercise Your Options

Nonprofits make change by bringing people together around a common goal. For anyone who needs to hear it, go find your Nonprofit community and help make our whole community a better place right now! In today’s tech-savvy world, it’s easier than ever to support your favorite Nonprofits.

Article link here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesnonprofitcouncil/2017/08/23/how-to-choose-the-right-nonprofit-to-donate-your-time-to/#6af567a39f10

Battle Between ‘America vs. Europe’

I would like to start off with saying that I am not trying to attack Americans, I am just trying to describe the differences and the way I feel about it.

Beyond the stereotype (because we all love to generalize (including myself)), there is more to the image of the average American. European people tend to image the average American as a big person with oversized clothes preferably an American flag on it and an XXL Coke or a hamburger in the hand, and then a gun somewhere around the belt. Since I moved to America, first I got a huge culture shock, but I surprisingly found some great things about this country and their citizens. The fascinating thing is that there are so many differences between the two continents; Europe and America, besides just the language. I mean give it a try and Google; ‘differences between US & EU, you will see what is popping up first. 😉

To not be too offensive, let’s balance it up with stereotyping an average Dutch person; direct and honest in words which can be received as rude, trying to be funny 24/7, blond (&dumb?), blue eyes, tall, wooden shoes and preferably a joint in the hand and a Heineken bottle in the other hand. People tend to think that The Dutch like to visit the ‘coffee-shops’ and the ‘Red Light District’ often, since it is all legal. Oh and Germans like to call The Dutch ‘Cheese-heads’. 


  1. Education

When you think about America, we tend to think that everything is huge. True, universities and campuses can be insanely big, something that doesn’t exist in Europe. But in Europe, a college education is cheap or even free and offers no frills. But, you won’t necessarily find these cute liberal arts colleges where the classes are small and the professors are eager to be mentors. No, in Europe, classes are typically held lecture-style and professors don’t consider their roles to be mentors. But, size alone doesn’t explain the difference. Most Americans, after all, desire to attend large state schools. At European universities, there is mostly no central campus, the university buildings are scattered across the city and lots of these buildings look more like office complexes. No quadrangle to meet. No dormitories. No sports teams. No mascots. Which was for me the solution to come to America and play college tennis.


  1. Dress code

I already started off with the stereotype American with oversized clothes and no desire for fashion. Students for example, love their hats, wear them in class or to a bar/club and never take them off, it looks like they are glued on. Are they so insecure about their haircut? Well, it looks like, Americans don’t always seem to care how their hair looks. While European boys can be sometimes too much, they take hours in the bathroom to make sure that their hair is on fleek. I received a major culture shock when I arrived; I can now basically go straight from waking up or Netflix into business class, since in the classroom athletic clothing or pajamas are considered as business casual.

As in Europe there is a higher standard of what you wear. Guys with skinny jeans could be a normal, daily outfit. Europeans care more about what you wear and how you dress, in the eyes of some Americans it could be ‘overdressed’, for them it would be what you wear to prom.


  1. Transportation

Again, America is huge and so are the distances; things are reversed when it comes to distances. Europeans would like to think that driving 100 km is quite a long way, while for Americans that would be rather near.

Yet, Europeans travel much more than Americans, inside or outside their own continent. This might be because Europeans are used to go “abroad” since their childhood, European countries being so small, and do not feel the whole experience to be so exceptional. Supposedly Seattle residents feel the same about going to Canada, a stone’s throw away.

Almost all Europeans have small cars with manual gears, while Americans have a marked preference for big and automatic ones, since the size matters in America. The whole world is trying to go ‘green’ and think about the environment, but America seem to have lack on that, since the trucks and the huge cars are still around in large amount.

Besides the car, public transportation isn’t a big thing in America, but the solution in Europe. In Europe, every city or even country is reachable by train or bus, there are even night trains in which you can sleep. Probably because of the smaller distances people are used to take the bike to do a grocery (seen the exercise of the day for an American, but part of daily life for Europeans), while in American people seem to drive for every minute they have to walk longer.


Some short facts that made me realize the differences;

  • European countries all have a lot of traditional dishes from their region or city. The Netherlands is an exception, the Dutch aren’t famous really for any traditional dish. Fast food and the drive-thru really is a necessity in the American culture. Deep-fried food covered with sauces galore is an actual thing. This travesty they have the audacity to call “French bread.”
  • Restaurants that serve ice in your water, no matter the weather. Waiters that come check on you every minute & fill water when you just had 1 sip. At least water is always for free, which is not the situation in Europe, a true downside of Europe in my opinion.
  • Exaggerate behavior of employees in restaurants, I feel like they all graduated with a theater degree in school.
  • Dutch people eat (good quality) bread in the morning and for lunch, in America they barely eat actual bread.
  • Ungodly portion sizes at restaurants. The biggest size coke in EU is here the smallest, and there is not even refill in Europe.
  • People fill your grocery’s in bags at the grocery store, I have never seen anyone doing that in Europe.
  • The huge 3-liter wine bottles that I have never seen in Europe before. Quality before quantity I guess.
  • The price for (quality) cheese $ in America……….
  • Toilet visits are always free in America, great thing because you often have to pay to go pee in Europe. Even in de nightclub..
  • Americans never put the fan on when they cook, just when it is necessary and the food is on ‘fire’.
  • When I go to the shopping mall, every minute some employee comes up to me to ask if I need help (especially Victoria’s Secret).
  • Being asked for your ID for every bar/club you are entering, even though you are way older than 21, and you look rather closer to 30.
  • Texting is still big in America. For Europe, ‘Whatsapp’ is the shit. I haven’t ‘text’ someone in like 5 years I think. We all use Whatsapp, it just uses data/wifi and you can text and call. So, no one has a phone plan which has messages included.
  • In America, they like to say ‘hey’ and ‘bye’ on the end of a message even though it is a good friend. Ending with XXX is inappropriate somehow.
  • In Europe, they say more f*ck than anyone ever says in America, and English isn’t even our first language. It is received as rude in America, same as ‘shit’ and ‘pissed’.
  • Stores, shops and gyms are 24/7 open, you won’t see that often in Europe.
  • When someone says, “how are you?” but they really mean “hello” and actually DGAF how you are.
  • There are so many people smoking (cigarettes) in Europe, in restaurants, clubs, in between breaks from classes. The smoking percentage is way lower in America, which is great.
  • American flags. Everywhere. I don’t think you will ever see a Dutch flag by just walking through the city or neighborhood.
  • Religion what is that? Religion is significantly less important to (western) European countries (Netherlands, Belgium etc.) than to Americans.
  • Americans and Europeans don’t always agree on questions about morality, especially on issues related to sexuality (abortion etc.).
  • I really have the feeling that people ‘hurry’ to get married/engaged. Which is not the situation in Europe, nevertheless people don’t always marry anymore, just because religion became less important.
  • Then tipping, tipping is a necessity in America, for coffee, drinks and even tattoo’s and they prefer 20%, even if the service was mediocre. Which is a ridiculous amount in Europe. A couple of euros for a good meal is more than enough, especially for the stingy Dutch people.


I might seem to hate America, but don’t get me wrong, America is still a great part of the world with beautiful nature and people.


~ Stanzi Stuijt, Senior and International student from The Netherlands, studying Business Marketing at The University of Montana.

The Best Bar in Missoula That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Missoula Montana has a pretty phenomenal variety of bars to choose from for your weekend endeavors. The themes and varieties range from dive bar, burger joint, dance bars, wine bars… and the list goes on. Well today my friends, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The best bar in Missoula is not located at the heart of downtown but rather off of the intersection of Brooks and Stevens in the Stevens Shopping Center. Yes, my fellow beverage enthusiasts, I’m talking about the one and only Katie O’Keefe’s!


Now if you are unaware of this magical establishment I am speaking of that is quite alright. It’s an easy to miss location in a shopping mall, with barely even a sign out front. Don’t let the street view fool you because inside is where all of the magic happens.


When you walk into the establishment you are greeted with a buzzing red sign that assures you that you’re right where you want to be. Don’t walk up to the bar top just yet or you might miss the single best thing about Katie O’Keefe’s.


Before you get to the bar top there is a room to the right where you can pick the prettiest horse out of the group and put money down on some ponies. Yup, I’m talking about horse race gambling. In this room, there is a window where you can place your bet with a fine woman to put your money on a horse in accordance with The Tote. This might be the most unique feature of this little-known bar is that you can bet on live horse races. This is a great spot to be when the Kentucky Derby rolls around!


Let’s go back to the bar top and check things out.


Ah this beauty here, this is called the Wheel of Destiny. This is a fun bar game where you get to spin the wheel and you purchase the beer it lands on for only ½ of the price. The trick to this game? Don’t land on a beer that you don’t want to drink! There are 30 different beers that include Highlander, Red Stripe, Colt 45, Skull Splitter, Dragons Breathe, Mickeys, Old English and many more. Ah there are possibilities for some great half prices beer on that wheel but also some beers I NEVER want to drink. May the odds be forever in your favor…

Moving on… The bar top is made of a wooden counter top with plenty of bar stools for you and all of your friends. The employees here are kind and true friends that make the place feel like home.


This first room is filled with gambling machines for you to try to win some money playing Poker, Keno, or Line games. You gotta love Montana for making it easier to gamble than any other state. So we have pretty much covered the first few rooms and the main bar area in Katie’s. You might think this is the end of the tour but OH NO!! There is another level to this amazing hole in the wall bar that I know you are excited to go check out!

There are a few stairs towards the door of the establishment that take you down a lower level of Katie’s. There you will find so many tables and fun bar games that you could spend all day there. There is a plethora of tables in this lower part of Katie’s that pretty much guarantee you a place to rest your booty, even on the busiest nights.  I know these tables are a few extra steps away from the bar, and let’s face it that makes some of us a little uneasy. But don’t worry because cocktail waitresses flow between the tables making it easy for you to get a beverage without ever leaving your seat.

Don’t feel like sitting down and enjoying your drink? There are plenty of bar activities for you to pass time with your friends. These games include two separate dart boards as well as multiple pool tables.

Now that we have seen the games, the other half of the downstairs part of the bar includes many, many more tables for you and ALL of your friends to enjoy. The decorations of this bar include many Montana bar staples such as an Elk mount, a Moose mount and plenty of TV’s to watch your favorite sports programs.

Katie O’Keefe’s has a few more perks to mention before I let you go. Where do you usually go to watch your favorite team play when football comes around? Are the local bars too crowded that you can never get a good spot? Katie’s is definitely the place to be on football Sunday because they have catered food provided by The Montana Club restaurant.

Are you a person who enjoys the dying card game of cribbage and just don’t know where to go to play? Don’t worry because Katie’s has a cribbage club that allows for some card playing fun.

Thank you for joining me on this journey through the best bar in Missoula that nearly no one knows about!

Written by: Raelin Jaqueth