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Bed and Breakfast Montana: Aerial Fire Depot

Smokejumpers are highly trained specialists who parachute into remote areas of national forests to fight the spread of wildfires.

Smokejumper Suit Display

Smokejumper Suit Display

The nation’s largest training base for smokejumpers is located in Missoula. This is a great place to learn about wild land firefighting and smokejumping in particular. Tours of the working parts of the smokejumper base at 10 and 11 AM, and 2, 3, and 4 PM all summer long. Some of our favorite parts of the museum include the cool parachutes, the airplanes and talking with actual fire jumpers and hearing their stories.

This can be a good place to bring the family while staying at our Missoula lodging. The last guests that visited told
us their tour guide was led by an actual rookie Smokejumper and included a visit to the working Smokejumper facilities. If you have very good/bad timing, you might see the Smokejumpers suit up and board the aircraft to go to a fire!

If you are interested in learning more about what it takes to protect the wild areas around our Montana Bed and Breakfast, like the Rockie Mountains just North of us, the Aerial Fire Depot is a must-see for you. The tours are usually a great learning experience and fun for the kids. Adults will probably find the information about firefighting and national fire policy interesting. The tour takes about 45 minutes, is free of charge, and includes a visit to a real fire lookout.

Just one of many interesting excursions near our bed and breakfast Montana. See you soon!

Bed and Breakfast Montana: A Carousel for Missoula

“If you will give it a home, and promise no one will ever take it apart, I will build A Carousel for Missoula.” That was the promise Missoula cabinet-maker Chuck Kaparich made to the Missoula City Council in 1991. And now, in the heart of town, is a Carousel for Missoula. The Carousel stands as a stellar of community involvement.

Kaparich, who had spent many childhood hours on the carousel at Columbia Gardens in Butte, Montana, had already carved four carousel ponies and had purchased an antique frame in thousands of pieces. The City Council agreed and the journey for our community began. This Carousel is only 15 minutes from our Missoula lodging, and a must-see for families!

Woodworkers instruct young & old to create a community masterpiece

Woodworkers instruct young & old to create a community masterpiece

A board of directors was formed to facilitate organization and fund raising, Kaparich taught others to carve, mechanics began the process of restoring 16,066 pieces, painters were recruited, and Missoula began working together to create a treasure.

By Opening Day, May 27, 1995, over 100,000 hours of volunteer time had gone into the construction of 38 permanent ponies, three replacement ponies, two chariots, 14 gargoyles and the largest band organ in continuous use in the United States, all within a jewel box building.

The finished project

The finished project

School children collected over one-million pennies to adopt four ponies! Although this beautiful piece of work started for the kids, it enriched the hearts and souls of all that worked on it! The project continued with the Dragon Hollow play area right next door to the merry-go-round. It took just nine days to erect this expansive play structure through the hard work of volunteers. This children’s play land is in the heart of Missoula. It would be a great place to stop during some window shopping while staying at our Montana Bed and Breakfast and have a picnic or let the kids run wild for a little while you get off your feet.

We have always been proud community members and are looking forward to sharing the beauty and wonder of the Bitterroot Valley with you when you come to our Missoula MT Bed and Breakfast. See you soon!

Chipmunks Awaken!

As February comes to a close, and March is just around the corner, Montana turns its thoughts and desires to spring. Mostly it is just thoughts right now, for winter’s chill and new snow are still on the menu and many of us are still hoping for some of that “white gold” our mountains and forests need so badly. But spring is on our mind none the less, and the first buttercups and returning birds are telling us that the winter is on its way out. The first chipmunks have started to appear and it reminds me of one fine spring day a few years back when I spent some time out in our backyard with my camera and these fine little “people”. They were out in great numbers making the most of the sun and warm weather. The older ones were scurrying about, some times in groups, while the babies, cautious only of their own less then skilled and unfamiliar agility, explored the world in wonder. One in particular, feared nothing and was as curious of me as I was fascinated by him. He climbed over, behind and around the large rocks that make up the cliff-like wall that holds the hillside at bay from our house and makes a backdrop for our pond and waterfall. Each step was cautious and planned as he tested what his new little body could do. No fear seemed to enter his thoughts or actions, just fascination and wonder as he made his way up a vertical face of a rock. Then he stopped to see just what he had accomplished, and a moment later, he was on to see what else about himself and his world was waiting to be discovered. These tiny creatures are innocence at it purest form, and their simple but beautiful lives are undeniable proof that we humans must live with nature and share in its splendor, not just use it for our own.