About two weeks ago I went to Montana for 4 days. No, I didn’t take a trip to the amazing Glacier National Park. I didn’t go to Yellowstone either. I went to the thriving metropolis of Malta, Montana. Population around 1,900. Birthplace of my maternal grandmother.
My grandmother’s only living sibling was having a big birthday party for her 80th birthday. So my mom, my aunt, and I all flew into Great Falls, Montana to attend the party. After staying the night in the scariest Super 8 motel ever (I wouldn’t even take a shower there), we made the 200 mile trip to Northeast Montana for a few days in Malta.
I hadn’t been to Montana since I was 13. My great aunt and uncle lived in Malta – back then they owned the only fast food burger joint and pizza place in town – which was very cool to a 13 year old me. And my second cousin was there too – who as a child was pretty much my favorite person ever. I got to see my great aunt and cousin on this trip, and in an instant I remembered why I enjoyed being around them so much.
Malta also didn’t take long to remind me of the millions of mosquitos that swarm you as soon as you walk outside. Long sleeves and long pants are a must if you’re not a local. The mosquitos will literally eat you alive. This is no joke.
Another fact – the area around Malta is like the dinasour capital of the world. Malta even has a little Dinosaur museum. My mom and I paid the $5 entry fee and took a look around. It was actually very interesting. Funny to think of how much stuff has been found in this little area that was the home of my grandmother. Can you imagine if your 4 old found this?
One of the best preserved dinosaurs ever discovered and one of only four that were mummified is a 77 million-year-old Brachylophosaurus nicknamed Leonardo, unearthed north of Malta in 2000.
But there are beautiful sights to be seen. Like all the times you cross the Missouri River or the Milk River. Here’s a panoramic of an interesting turn in the Missouri River.
We spent one day driving to a relative’s house in Glasgow and then to Fort Peck and Fort Peck Lake.
The sky in Montana, aka Big Sky Country, always feels like you can reach out and touch it. When you look out onto the horizon, it’s as if there is no space between the land and the sky. Northern Montana is full of rolling green hills, filled with agriculture, cows, and horses. And little tiny towns that always have a rundown old casino. Big open two-lane highways where it’s easy to drive 90 mph. But you have to watch out for deer crossing the road or a loose cow, or even something like the red fox we had to wait for on our trip back to the airport.
My great-grandfather was one of the founders of the Long X Ranch. In 1902 my great-grandfather and 15 other men decided to pick up stakes in drought ridden Texas and travel by railroad and horseback with 5,000 long horned steer in tow to the open range of northern Montana. I can’t even imagine. I Can’t. Even. Imagine.
Sadly, because of thunderstorms, we were not able to drive out and see the Long X Ranch. But we stopped in the local museum and they had a file on my great-grandfather’s ranch.
And that my friends sums up my little trip to Malta, Montana.
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