Montana is a big state. REALLY big. So it would seem impossible to put together a book called "100 Things to Do in Montana Before You Die".

But that's what Missoula author Susie Wall has been able to do, producing a handy volume that not only puts together that "bucket list", but also makes it easy to road trip with all the important information for those ideas.

However, she freely admits it was hard to pair down the list.

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Montana's turn

Susie's new book is part of a series of books produced by Reedy Press of Missouri. It's the first time Montana has gotten its time in the "bucket list" spotlight.

Susie told me she set out to research the book with the idea of collecting diverse experiences.

"I really wanted to have a cross-section of the state, and not focus on our larger population centers, or the mountains or around national parks, " Wall explains. "I really wanted to spread it from north to south and east to west."

The result is a book that includes more obvious stops like winter hikes in Glacier National Park, paddling down the Clearwater Canoe Trail or stopping at the Sip N' Dip, but also hitting the "Southeast Montana Burger Trail", or visiting the Bair Family Museum in Martinsdale.

Susie Wall's book gives important details; Dennis Bragg photo
Susie Wall's book gives important details; Dennis Bragg photo

Year-round ideas

Susie says she doesn't believe in just "holing up" during Montana winters, so the suggestions cover all 12 seasons. And while many focus on the outdoors we're famous for, many suggestions, like enjoying craft breweries, or shopping Rockin' Rudy's are good for the "off-season" too.

It was a big job

Susie loves to travel, calling the book her dream job. Yet she admits it was hard to pare down the list of attractions and activities to just 100.

"That was probably the biggest challenge of writing the book," Wall says. I probably had 200 or 300 on my list."

She says one of the biggest satisfactions is meeting lifelong Montana residents who admit they've never heard of many of the book's ideas, and that's "really the greatest compliment" she can get.

Book signings

Wall will sign copies of her book Tuesday evening in Hamilton, at the Westslope Distillery, 172 S. 2nd, from 5:30 until 8 pm. There will also be a signing and book launch party on Sunday, March 24, from 5 to 8 pm at Bayern Brewery, 1507 Montana St in Missoula.

Copies of "100 Things to Do in Montana Before You Die" are available at Amazon and local bookstores.

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