Earlier last month, I had the pleasure of visiting Pintler's Portal Hostel, a niche, hidden gem in Anaconda that is captivating travelers worldwide and making its mark in the community. From the moment I arrived at the hostel, the owners, Steve and Marsha Hill, and their granddaughter, Blakely, welcomed me with good vibes and open arms. Not long after, I met their other delightful granddaughter, Desi, an encounter that sealed the deal on understanding how family-oriented the Hills were. From there, the plan behind my visit involved learning more about this intriguing place that opened its doors to the public in August of 2021. From my encounter with the Hills, it was apparent how much pride they took in their facility. Located in the heart of Anaconda, at 218 West Park Avenue, the beautifully remodeled structure was once home to the Freemasons' Masonic Lodge. (continued...)

As I toured Pintler's Portal Hostel with the Hills, they explained how plans to construct "their vision" in 2020 came with a few obstacles. Initially, some community members were concerned about whether a hostel was a good idea for the area. Not missing a beat, the Hills explained that their goal was to work with the community and to reassure business owners and residents that the hostel was created to accentuate Anaconda in a positive way. Fortunately, as time went on and with the vision and support of Headwaters RC&D, Discover Anaconda, and the community, the Hills were able to secure a business plan and a grant to move forward with their dream. To this day, the facility offers a clean, practical, and innovative environment for hikers, skiers, climbers, and a realm of family and friends to stay during their visit to the unequivocally 'Gateway Community to the Continental Divide Trail.' (more on the hostel below)

So, exactly what is a "hostel"? Hostels first came about in Europe in the early 1900s as a place for young travelers to acquire affordable lodging. Hostelling is considered short-term shared living quarters where guests can rent a bunk bed in a space comparable to the size of a dormitory. It is estimated that Europe has at least 10,000 hostels. The United States is quickly catching on, with an estimated 300 hostels currently in place. The boutique-style lodging accommodations at Pintler's Portal Hostel in Anaconda are EXCEPTIONAL, with private rooms (named after lakes in the area) or bunk beds available to rent. There is even the option to rent the entire hostel, their meeting room, and more. 

The facility offers many amenities, including private showers, private bathroom stalls, an accessible shower and bathroom area, security lockers, laundry facilities, wifi, two magnificent and cozy fireplaces, shared kitchen facilities, an entertainment area with a flat-screen TV, a piano, games, and a room for business meetings, birthday parties and where outdoor enthusiasts can map out an adventurous nature walk or their next hike. Youth indoor sports and ski teams traveling to the area for tournaments and other competitions have also stayed at the hostel and family and friends for reunions, retreats, and the holidays. Gear swaps, winter markets, plus Spanish, first aid, and dog training classes, have also been held at the portal. During the summer, guests also have access to a patio on the premises. (continued...)

A mural of Anaconda's mountain range, which vividly graces the wall of the hostel's entertainment quarters, was inspired by Marsha's daughter Vanessa. The duo even painted it themselves, with Vanessa having to "fix" her mom's paint job on occasion. Lol. On site, you'll also find a public 5518 Designs outlet store & gift shop, trail maps, and a world map denoting the hometowns of visitors near and far. The Hills have gone to great lengths to make Pintler's Portal Hostel unique and special, so it's safe to say they've succeeded in doing so. As retired professionals, Steve once a remediation geologist and Marsha a strategic planning consultant, it seems they have found their second calling at the base of the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness Area. ...and locals and travelers alike are glad they did. To learn more about Pintler's Portal Hostel, visit their website right here -> PINTLER or call (406) 563-4555. See more pics of the ultimate "gathering place" below.

Montana's scenery will leave you breathless.

Here's a photo collection of Montana's BEST views and terrain for you to enjoy

Yellowstone National Park Rebuilds After Historic Flooding

After catastrophic flooding damaged portions of Yellowstone National Park in June of 2022, major reconstruction was necessary to make the park passable again. The following are photos of the improvement projects at Old Gardiner Road and the Northeast Entrance Road. All photos are courtesy of the National Park Service, photographer Jacob W. Frank.

You Know You're a Montanan If You Can End These With 'In the Woods'

Here's a fun way to see if you're a "true" Montanan. If you can end any of these phrases with "in the woods" and it applies to you, you might be a Montanan. Enjoy.