Two sisters find each other in Montana's hot springs, back roads and Big Sky

Gale and her sister Laura Straub had been dreaming of a reunion road trip since briefly visiting Montana when they were 16. They came to Montana hoping to see mountains, lakes, wildlife and small-town charm but when they hit the open road, they found a rekindled connection with each other.  “We always had it in the back of our heads to go back to Montana, but, as the story always goes, life got in the way,” said Gale.

Their journey began with Montana’s intoxicating hot springs in mind, as Laura had never seen one (or swam in any natural body of water, for that matter). But the pair soon found themselves immersed in the richness and variety of Montana’s less-traveled roads and charming small towns.

“We hiked, swam, soaked in hot springs, camped, sat by the fire. We relaxed. We drove down empty roads and kicked up dust. I rolled a fragrant hop growing wild on the side of the road in my hands until it fell apart. We saw wild animals, mountain ranges, families of flowers, dozens of landscapes at every time of day. We talked. We were together,” said Laura.

As is often the case with Montana, the sisters were sure they’d have one kind of experience, but left having uncovered something bigger, more satisfying, and completely unplanned.

“My sister and I were sitting in the first hot spring we went to, thick green-black forest behind us, sipping a cold local amber ale. The hot water made us sweat and lean back towards the sky. We’d finally arrived.  It was really special to experience it with my sister,” said Gale.

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