Despite my breakdown on our first day in Bozeman, we had an incredible week. Hong liked the town so much that he spent several hours with realtors looking at condos and online looking at employment opportunities. Chris enjoyed taking us to some of his favorite eating establishments, including the Leaf and Bean coffee shop and the Pickle Barrel where we had sandwiches and, of course, pickles. Lots of pickles. We found a great taco place that included on its menu a very spicy sauce with an asterisk next to it that indicated they weren’t kidding. I tried it. They weren’t kidding. It was hot but delicious. Painfully delicious. Our favorite place in Bozeman, however, was not an eating establishment but rather the public library, a place where we spent a delightful 25 hours. Seriously…it was really delightful. With their wonderful wifi, Chris was able to work for 3 days outside of the Airstream and have a lovely spot in the library that was full of people and energy. While he worked, I found a comfy chair and that week became obsessed with the grizzly bear. Yes, the grizzly bear.
For about seven hours one day, I read Night of the Grizzlies, an amazing read about the grizzly bear attacks in Glacier National Park in 1967. Perhaps it was because I was just in Glacier and able to visualize the scenery, but this was one of the best books I have ever read. It was interesting to see how the National Park Service’s Bear Management Plan has evolved over the years. (And, I thought I was done with public administration related books…ha!) If you have the time, I highly recommend taking the time to read this book.
Throughout the week, we enjoyed walks around Bozeman and exploring some of the nearby cafes. One evening, on one of our walks, we passed a house where an elderly lady(91-years young as she later informed us) appeared to be having some issues stepping down from her sidewalk with her walker/oxygen tank. Chris walked up to her and offered assistance and she gladly accepted. She quickly started to talk to us and give us a “tour” of her oxygen contraption. Then, after having Chris look at her back porch and the apple tree in her backyard, she looked at me and said, “I bet you would like to see my doll collection.” I didn’t really but how could I say no?
So, Chris, Hong and I followed the woman into her home expecting simply to see a shelf of dolls. Instead, we were introduced to the largest doll collection any of us had seen. Her living room, dining room and some of the bathroom were covered from ceiling to floor with dolls. Old dolls, new dolls, doll pictures, doll blankets, doll lamps…you name it and it was there, with a doll plastered on it. She made us walk around her house while she stayed in the living room, shouting out instructions on where to look for a particular doll. Then, she had me read doll poems that were hanging on the wall. I saw dolls there that brought back memories from my own childhood. The moment was truly bizarre but in a really good way. I like to think that we were a highlight for her day. She was definitely a highlight for us.
At the end of our week in Bozeman, we took another hike. A much easier hike, thankfully. Chris took us to the Palisades Falls, a beautiful spot in the Gallatin National Forest, just outside of Bozeman. For years, a picture of this waterfall was appropriately displayed in the bathroom of our home. Needless to say, I was excited to see it and was not disappointed at its sight. I did, however, have an odd urge to use the bathroom.