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George Ferguson Column: There's no place like home...in the summer

From The Fringe …


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

The scenic Milk River Valley is just one of the countless outdoor recreation areas Havre, the Hi-Line and Montana have to enjoy each summer.

The summer is a fun time, there's no denying that. And where we live, I hope none of you are wishing the summer away. Not with the winters we seem to be having around here lately.

Please, please, I beg of you, don't wish summer away. No matter how much you love football or hockey or basketball, volleyball, curling, snowmobiling or anything else we don't normally do, please don't wish summer away.

I'm asking you this for two reasons:

First, I don't want summer to go too fast because of that nasty word I mentioned earlier, winter. I love Havre and I love Montana, but, geez, the last couple of winters have been awfully rough.

I just saw the recent U.S.D.A report on how many cattle were lost in the winter of 2017-18, and even though I was there, and I lived through that winter, too, I was stunned to hear of those cattle losses. It just puts in perspective how brutal that winter really was.

Last winter may not have been as bad, but February and the beginning of March was certainly worst than most. In fact, it was record-setting, even if it only lasted for about 40 days and 40 nights.

So again, I have to ask, why would anyone want summer to go by too fast? I know I don't. I know I am nowhere near ready for the 2019-20 winter. I can wait.

But it's not just winter, or how short the summers around these parts already are that makes me hope the days and the next two months move along at a snail's pace.

No, perhaps more importantly is the fact that we live in an absolutely amazing place in the summer.

Right here at home, we have the Bear Paw Mountains, Beaver Creek Park, Fresno Reservoir, the Milk River, golf and golf courses, tennis courts and the Baltrusch trail. We have fishing and baseball and soccer and all kinds of sports that make being outdoors in and around Havre a heck of a lot of fun in the summertime. Heck, next summer there will even be a marathon to run in in the Bear Paws.

And we also have this entire state. We have Montana to enjoy, and when Montana wakes up for summer, in my humble opinion, there's no place else like it on earth.

I was in Glacier National Park with my wife last week. And in a trip that lasted just over 24 hours, we did an eight-mile hike up Apgar Mountain and road bikes in the majestic North Fork area of the park. And it was then that I was once again reminded how great Montana is in the summer time.

So now, I'm reminding all of you, whether you need it or not, how lucky we are to live where we live. How lucky are we to have Glacier, Yellowstone, Flathead Lake, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers in our backyard?

How lucky are we as Montanan's to have thousands and thousands of miles of trails to hike, and thousands of miles of rivers to float? How lucky are we as Montanans to have some of the best blue ribbon fishing on earth within in our borders?

Yes, we are even lucky with our summer sports.

Playing baseball games in the summertime against the backdrop of the Bitterroot Mountains in Hamilton, or the amazing peaks of the Missions in Polson only adds to the romance of the game.

And how about golf? Yes, Montana doesn't have Pebble Beach or Augusta or any truly famed courses, but if you're a golf enthusiast, I guarantee you the backdrops we golf against all over this state every morning, afternoon and evening are second to none. Play golf in Whitefish near sunset, or in Ronan, or anywhere else, no matter the course, the scenery is unrivaled in this country in my opinion. Hell, we have it right here at home. Those of you who have played Beaver Creek or Prairie Farms on a perfect summer evening in Havre, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

So again, I'll ask, and answer the question myself: How lucky are we to have what we have here in the summertime? We're damn lucky.

And that's why, I'll moan and groan all winter long, but I'll also get through it, because I know, another Montana summer will come again, and to me, there's nothing better than that.

So, with the first official day of summer almost here, I'll say to all of you, have a great summer, make it special, slow down and enjoy it because there's just no place like Montana in these few, amazing, warm months. So make the most out of it, all of you. I know I plan to.


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