Stelling & Associates
Western Montana's Finest Rural Properties

Golden Forests of Western Montana

Beautiful Golden Larch/Tamarack Trees in Montana

Beautiful Golden Larch/Tamarack Trees in Montana

Autumn in Western Montana is an exceptionally beautiful time of year with all the changing leaves in the valleys and river bottoms, but also in the higher mountains where the Larch (known by some here as Tamaracks) burst into a yellow-gold as their needles turn with the season and fall off, leaving a short-lived golden carpet.

As the Larch trees go through their yearly ritual of transformation, many newcomers make the mistake of thinking these trees, or portion of a forest, are dying (especially after they lose their needles). Scientifically what is happening is the needles, on these deciduous conifers, lose their chlorophyll which then reveals the yellow xanthophyll pigments, and then the needles drop to the ground.

In the winter the larch stands tall and stark, with bits of bear-hair lichen dangling from random branches. But a few weeks each spring, finds soft, new, bright pale green needles appearing; this makes it easy to distinguish the Larch tree from the rest of the forest.

The largest Western larch in the land is a giant, standing 153 feet near Seeley Lake. “I don’t think it has ever been aged precisely, but some estimates place it at 1,000 years,” said Andrew Larson, an assistant professor of ecology at the University of Montana.

Native American Indians could gather, carry and stack the Tamarack firewood without an ax or saw because even thick fallen tamarack branches were easily  broken by hitting them on a stump or fallen tree. Natives also made wooden tamarack pots by hollowing out large pitchy burls. They used pitch to help heal cuts and bruises, and chewed it to ease sore throats. To relieve coughs and colds, they drank a tea made from the steeped bark. They made a sweet syrup by hollowing out part of the trunk and allowing moisture from the collected sap to evaporate, thus concentrating the thick liquid.

Bigfork holds its Tamarack Timber Festival in mid-October, and Seeley Lake’s Tamarack Festival runs the last week of September.

Why are visitors so enamored with Montana?

The "Montana Alps" - Western Montana's Mission Mountains

The “Montana Alps” – Western Montana’s Mission Mountains

Why are visitors so enamored with Montana? The skies, the mountains, the trees, and the people – all are every day reminders of how blessed we truly are to live here. As a recent visitor from the Midwest said, “Noone can tell you about the beauty of this place. You have to see it and experience it first hand, with your own eyes.   It is amazing.”

This time of year, especially, reminds us of how very lucky we are to live in Western Montana. As the holidays approach, weekends and evenings are spent on a myriad of events. November, December and January are spent creating new memories while participating in old family traditions. Houses are decked out in colorful lights, while inside, pine trees are embellished with favorite decorations. In the kitchen, recipes from generations past are seen baking in the oven, while the aromas mingle throughout the house. Perhaps the holidays are best described as a time for children, parents and grandparents to come together, enjoying each other’s company amid the sights, sounds and smells of the season.

Leading up to Nov. 28th, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1st, are many spirited events. What activities will become traditions and cherished memories in your family? Will you opt for a store bought reusable Xmas tree? Or will you choose to linger around the many Christmas tree lots, to find the perfect Blue Spruce or Ponderosa Pine? Many families make it part of their holiday tradition to go out into the woods and cut their own ‘perfect’ tree. A woodcutting permit from the Forest Service is required, and for a nominal fee ($5+/-) you will be given a choice of areas that are available. This helps assist in correct land management and forestation. We suggest you dress warmly: hats, gloves, boots even though the weather has continued to be dry and pleasant in the mid 30’s to lower 40’s, it can feel much cooler in shaded and forested areas. It is always a good idea to let a friend or family member know where you will be going and how long you should be gone (whenever you travel the back trails or logging roads of Montana and especially in the fall and winter months). Also, cell phones are wonderful to have along, in case of an emergency, but remember, depending on where you are in the back woods, there may not be adequate reception; although Steve Stelling can happily check in from atop “Snowbowl” during his once-a-week inspection of the ski runs. Remember to bring an axe, saw or chainsaw to cut your fine pine or fir selection and perhaps some rope, for tying to the vehicles rooftop. Many families make a day of it by bringing sleds and picnic baskets filled with snacks and hot chocolate. Afterwards, when your perfect tree is decorated and is seen shining through the front room window, you may wish to begin your holiday shopping.

Montana does not have a sales tax, which is very nice at this time of year. In Western Montana, Missoula is the shopping mecca, as it is the ‘Hub of 5 Valleys’ and the center for a large rural population, as well as numerous smaller towns. Missoula provides the services of a much larger city with a 100+ store Mall, an active Downtown and a growing commercial strip on the west side at Reserve Street, where you will find Costco, Michaels Crafts, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Staples, Target, Ross, T. J. Maxx, Home Depot and Lowe’s along with a Furniture Store, Video Store, Grocery Store, Cowboy Apparel, Pet Store, Sporting Goods, Computer Store, a Carmike 12 Theater, as well as, many other merchants, a few hotels (including The Marriot and The Hilton) and several motels, like the C’Mon Inn & the Grant Creek Inn and Staybridge Suites, as well as several others. Many wonderful restaurants like the Outback Steakhouse, Perkins, Famous Dave’s, The Montana Club, Mackenzie River Pizza, Johnny Carino’s, The Blue Canyon, Sean Kelly’s and yes of course a Starbucks. As you head South on Reserve Street, just past the Mullan Road juncture (where Super Wal-Mart is located; 1 of 2 stores), is the Humane Society where homeless animals await to be adopted. Continuing South on Reserve, we pass Rosauers Grocery store and Shopko, then meet with Highway 93 (which eventually turns into ‘Higgins’ as you head north) and where our other Wal-Mart are located and future site of Cabela’s and Kohl’s. Many businesses & restaurants are located on the ’93 Strip’ like Hu-Hot, Applebee’s, and Jaker’s Steakhouse, and as you head North the Southgate Mall with over 100 stores including Sears, J.C. Penney, Dillard’s and Herberger’s will be sighted on the west side. Enjoy lunch at the Asian/American ‘Mustard Seed’ or an original hoagie at Hoagieville or a refreshing and healthy drink at Just Chill’n or great burgers at Red Robin.

As we continue north, 93 turns into Higgins, you’ll notice the ‘Hip Strip’ just before you cross over the Clark Fork River; laced with a few great eateries and quaint shops to investigate, but then we cross over Higgins Street Bridge to where you’ll end up in the ‘Downtown’ area of Missoula. This is where many local artisans and store merchants are located and here is where holiday activities abound with concerts, caroling, programs, art shows, craft shows, tree lightings and Santa sightings. Local artists, dealers and museums host “First Friday” an Art Walk for everyone to enjoy beautiful fine art and sculpture in the many galleries to explore ‘Downtown’. And you can enjoy scores of great restaurants like Doc’s for great soup and san, Doublefront for fried chicken, the Uptown Diner for breakfast & lunch or Fine Dining at the Pearl, the Red Bird, or The Depot, to just name a few of the many fun and great places to dine Downtown. There are also two very nice riverside motels set alongside the beautiful Clark Fork River. One is the Doubletree Hotel Missoula Edgewater and the other is Missoula Parkside Holiday Inn Parkside with access to Riverfront Park, the Carousel for Missoula and within walking distance to the downtown area and only 3 blocks from our Main Office in the Historic Montana Building. We suggest you visit the Missoula Childrens Museum; made for kids; from toddlers to about age 10, you all will have a great time (it will keep them busy for hours – on Front Street; open Tues. – Saturday 10-5 Sunday 12-5). Downtown Missoula is where you’ll find plenty of activities for the entire family to enjoy and participate in like First Night (a family friendly event for New Years Eve), the U of M Homecoming parade in the Autumn, First Night the first Friday evening of every month, Out To Lunch in Caras Park every Wednesday, and the Farmers Markets every Saturday morning just to name a few of the annual events. We invite you to check out the “Destination Missoula” website to view and make plans to attend all the activities around town.

Experience Montana’s Four Distinct Seasons

Flathead Lake Montana

Sail Along With Me to see Stunning views of amazing Flathead Lake; the largest Fresh-Water Lake West of the Mississippi

Spring and summer in Montana are magical. Western Montanans know that we are extremely blessed; being able to wake up to spectacular sunrises, dew covered grass, & meadowlarks calling. Long days of endless azure skies and warm breezes, and daylight lasting until well past 9 or 10:00 p.m. Evenings allow us to catch our breath, offering a polite coolness that makes sleep easy with the windows open. Our days are filled with gardening, golfing, biking, water sports, hiking, fishing and wildlife watching.

Trips to Missoula’s Greenough Park to sit beside Rattlesnake Creek and watch joggers and picnicker’s, while enjoying the creeks coolness amid the cities hubbub. Hiking to the ‘M’ (the mountain overlooking the University of Montana) in the early morning to enjoy the pleasant Western vista below. Watching kayakers take on Brennans wave from the downtown Higgins bridge, or floating the famous Blackfoot River, or fly fishing along the banks of the renown Rock Creek, for rainbow trout. Strolling through the grounds of the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula or visiting the Elk Foundation and learning more about those elusive, majestic creatures. Attending the Farmers Market on Saturdays and ‘Out To Lunch’ at Caras Park on Wednesdays and then riding the colorful and quick Carousel or watching the children play around Dragon Hollow playground at River Front Park; alongside the impressive Clark Fork River. Enjoying the Current’s indoor pool & slide or the outdoor Splash waterpark on a hot summer day. Strolling the many local museums and shops in Downtown Missoula on a warm Friday evening for the First Friday Art Walk. Missoula really shows off its’ own special look and a feel that can only be described as eclectic. Enjoy playing 9-holes on the mountainside at Highlands Golf Course, and then sipping an ice cold drink on the deck; while surveying the vista of Missoula Valley in its summer green glory or, even better, a sumptuous late dinner here at The Keep, while viewing the city lights twinkling below. Missoula is, after all, nicknamed the ‘Garden City’ and oh, does it show.

Missoula is also known as the ‘Hub of 5 Valleys’ and just like the spokes on the Stelling wagon wheel logo, so are the valleys that flow from Missoula. They are: ‘The Clark Fork Valley’ to the West, the ‘Flathead Valley’ to the North, the ‘Blackfoot Valley’ to the NE, the ‘Deerlodge Valley’ to the East and the ‘Bitterroot Valley’ to the South. And like limbs of a huge tree these large valleys split into smaller branches (or valleys) and so on.

Yes, we are certainly grateful for being able to live in an area with such sheer beauty surrounding us daily. The sky, the mountains, the trees, and the friendliness of the people – all are constant reminders of just how blessed we truly are. As a recent visitor from the Midwest said, “Noone can tell you about the beauty of this place. You have to see it and experience it first hand, with your own eyes. It is amazing! . (About the pic: Sail Along With Me to see Stunning views of amazing Flathead Lake; the largest Fresh-Water Lake West of the Mississippi)

Discover Western Montana!

The Montana Building, approximately 1910, located in Downtown Missoula, Montana

The Montana Building, approximately 1910, located in Downtown Missoula, Montana

Welcome to beautiful Western Montana where the Rivers & Mountains are truly Spectacular, where most everyone is Gracious and Hospitable and where your Next Adventure is Right Around The Corner; we think you’ll feel Right At Home!

Why Montana?

Big Sky country encompasses a vast landscape. For many who have never experienced Montana, it may conjure up romantic images of the Old West and a Wild Frontier portrayed by Hollywood and fiction novels. We do have Indian Reservations, and more cows than people, but the real Montana may be very different than some people believe. So what is it that attracts people and makes those of us who live here love it so much? The people and the reasons may be as diverse as the land itself. Quite often our State is observed as 2 distinctively different worlds with the backbone of the continent, the ‘Continental Divide’, separating the wide open plains of the East side, from the mountains & valleys of the West side. There are, however, a number of things Montanan’s all share. A huge wealth of natural resources that provides countless outdoor recreation opportunities, eye-soothing scenery, and a place to contemplate our lives and the worlds in an inspiring environment. A relatively conservative approach to politics where government regulation and interference is frowned upon, yet different views, opposing opinions, and what seems like completely different personalities who are able to get along and live together. Almost everyone appreciates and values the quality-of-life, lower crime rates, and lack of traffic, congestion, stress, and fast-pace, that are common else where. The friendly greetings, courteous actions, and non-judgmental attitude are usually noticed and commented on by first-time visitors. The easy pace, more carefree lifestyle and smiles, of those enjoying every day, can be contagious. It may indeed well be, that it is the people that makes Montana so great, but Montana may also make the people better.
There could never be enough time to explore and take advantage of all the natural wonders Montana has to offer. So don’t waste any more time; get yourself and your family to Montana and treat yourself to the inspiration that makes every day a GREAT ONE!

Why Stelling Real Estate?

Our office is small enough to provide friendly, knowledgeable & personal service, yet large enough to help with all of your real estate needs. Missoula is where our “home” offices reside and we can be found in the 100+ year old Montana Building in the ‘Downtown’ area on the corner of Higgins & Broadway. Our agents are happy to be of service; if you don’t happen to see the right place in our current showings, we will be happy to do a Multiple Listings search of the 2 Largest systems. Keep in mind, we cover all of Western Montana & beyond and we would love to assist you in finding that ‘just right place’. Just drop us a line or give us a call, at your convenience. (About the pic: The Montana Building, approximately 1910, located in Downtown Missoula, Montana at the corner of Higgins & Broadway, at 101 E. Broadway. This is where President Teddy Roosevelt made a rousing campaign speech on this street corner in 1912. This has been the Stelling Real Estate home office for over 35 years, located on the 2nd Floor NE Corner. Our home is in Missoula but we cover ALL of beautiful Western Montana.)

Welcome to our new website!

Wild Horse Plains, Montana

We love small town living; beautiful “Wild Horse” Plains, Montana

We are excited to unveil our new website. We hope you find it as easy to use and informative as the original.

Thanks to ‘Gecko Design’ in Missoula, Montana for producing our vision. The goal was to keep it ‘user friendly’, offer more pictures, keep it informative (without overwhelming) and make it easy for people to contact us. We decided not to use mapping services, as often they give wrong directions to our rural locations and we find most individuals have access to GPS and other mapping devices already.

If you do find a property of interest, please drop us a line and we will gladly send you a full brochure that includes maps, pics and text.

The new website will offer a weekly, online newsletter discussing different local, regional, information and topics; you may wish to BookMark our site or sign up for the Newsletter.

Please let us know if you ever have questions or would like us to post information on a specific area or you have a topic of interest. We would be happy to be of assistance any time. (About the pic: We love small town living; beautiful “Wild Horse” Plains, Montana)