Monday, July 24, 2006

Northern Exposures

Let me just preface this post by saying that about 4 hours in to my picture taking excursion on day 1 of my trip, my freakin camera broke. Dead. Done. Don't ever buy a Kodak Digital Camera LS400. So the last few pictures here are from my cell phone.

So anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Helena. It's the iconic small town America if there ever was such a place. It's the type of town you'd see painted in Norman Rockwell's artwork.

This shot was taken from about 2/3 the way up Mt. Helena. Just a small town. Friendly people. Working people. Nothing fancy. Simplicity in its finest form. I like that.

I managed to get out away from the "big city" and explore the outlying countryside a bit.

The landscape is just jaw-dropping beautiful. Look at that picture above and below. Take a deep breath. Not too deep, because you're not in Montana. If you're in Delaware, you just got a lung full DuPont freshness. But not in Montana. Maybe it's my uber-sensitive sense of smell, but I noticed the clean air right away.

Look at this place. And me without my kayak! What's a paddler to do? Perfect weather. Perfect clients. For a moment, just a moment, I forgot I was there to work.

One night we joined the local community for a good old fashioned local baseball game. The Helena Brewers had a home stretch and we opted for some roasted peanuts, brats, and beers. It doesn't get more "Ain't that America" than that folks.

I love that you can kick back and take in a game like this, with Mt. Helena in the background, and the atmosphere completely makes me forget that I freakin hate baseball. Seriously. I can't stand it. It bores me. But you know what? It didn't matter. I had a good time. It was about living in the moment.

The Helena Regional Airport was interesting. Both gates of it. Perhaps the thing I found most interesting was the interior design of the airport.

The interior was designed to look very rustic and very much represented the town. How many other airports have you seen where the support beams are built to look like trees with bark and have wildlife action scenes over looking the patrons. I found it to be a nice relief from the hustle and bustle of airports like Detroit, Minneapolis, or Baltimore. Well done, Helena.

This trip re-energized me in my drive to explore places I've never been. Shortly I'll be back off to St. Louis, but after that, I may actually take a (cover your ears) vacation and head back out west. Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe are calling my name, but for now, it's house finding time. And that needs to take priority, no matter how stress relieving Montana was. That, and the fact that I now need to buy a new camera....