Pick A State


Montana Is More
by Rick Vanderpool

Once upon a time, during my first night in Montana, in an effort to make myself drowsy enough to fall asleep over the incessant yapping of a small dog held hostage in one of the nearby RV’s (while its owners patronized the Casino inside the truck stop at which I had stopped my truck for the night), I decided to total and compare the square miles of the states I’d been in over the past few days, having photographed Wyoming (23 counties and 97,105 square miles in three days) and Utah (29 counties and 82,168 square miles in four days).

Montana (56 counties and 145,556 square miles) has way more real estate than neighboring Idaho (just passed through a few of its 44 counties and 82,751 square miles). More, in fact, than any of the other Rocky Mountain States of Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada and Utah, or the other Great Plains states – the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. Montana is quite a bit smaller than Texas (254 counties and 261,914 square miles), but much taller, as in from the ground to the clouds and beyond. And while it has no coast, it still seems like Montana is just more of everything. Guess it’s all that “big sky…” Like an ocean overhead, as one lesser-known poet put it.

But if one is always looking up in the “Treasure State,” one will miss more than one can imagine – not the least of which may be on-coming traffic (just enough to consider keeping at least one eye on the road) and wandering wildlife…