Discover Weird and Unusual Things in Montana

Are you curious about the wild and wonderful world of Montana?

Prepare to be amazed, as we dive into the hidden gems, peculiar wonders, and fascinating facts that make this state truly unique.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Montana’s weird and offbeat places that will leave you scratching your head in wonderment.

From the ghost towns that whisper tales of the past to the majestic National Parks that take your breath away, the state is a treasure trove of bizarre and unexpected experiences.

Ready to get started? Join us as we delve into the weird and wonderful world of Montana, where the unexpected awaits at every turn.

Montana Weirdness: Reasons to Embrace It

A wooden building in Montana with a picnic table in front.

Whether you seek historical significance, unconventional attractions, or simply the chance to create your own story, Montana’s weirdness beckons you to embrace the strange and unknown. 

Here are some of the reasons why the state’s bizarreness may call your name:

  1. Historical Significance – From the famous ghost towns that echo with whispers of the past to the Northern border that was pivotal to US history, each corner of Montana holds a captivating story waiting to be unraveled.
  2. Unconventional Attractions – Montana offers the unexpected, from Grasshopper Glacier’s frozen grasshoppers to the haunting Elkhorn Ghost Town or Elkhorn State Park, a testament to its past glory.
  3. Quirky Entertainment – Montana offers unique events and festivities, like a ball game in Castle Town or lively city council proceedings in bustling towns. 
  4. Technology and Innovation – Discover the innovative use of drones in ranching and environmental conservation in Montana. It brings together the old and the new in fascinating ways.
  5. Off-The-Beaten-Path Adventure – For adventure seekers, Montana’s limitless opportunities await, from hiking in Waterton Lakes National Park just beyond its borders to exploring Beaver Creek Park’s rugged terrain.
  6. Authenticity – Experience genuine hospitality and community spirit as locals share their stories and traditions, offering a taste of Montana’s authenticity.
  7. IG-Worthy Moments – Capture stunning landscapes and unique features for your photography dreams, from Glacier Park to Pompeys Pillar and Berkeley’s Pit.
  8. Personal Stories – Embrace Montana’s weirdness through personal narratives, learning about figures like Jeannette Rankin, or listening to stories passed down through generations of Native Americans.

So, why embrace the weirdness of Montana?

Because it’s not just about beautiful towns or famous mountain ranges; it’s about uncovering the extraordinary within the ordinary and finding fascination in the unexpected.

Montana’s Must-Visit Weird Locations

An aerial view of a open pit mine in Montana.

From the mesmerizing Berkeley Pit to the mind-bending Montana Vortex and House of Mystery, brace yourself for a whirlwind tour of must-visit weird locations.

1. Berkeley Pit

Berkeley Pit in Montana

Nestled in the heart of Butte, Montana lies a peculiar attraction that both mesmerizes and astounds visitors with its otherworldly beauty.

The open-pit copper mine that has into a deadly lake is a sight that must be seen to be believed.

Stretching for a mile in length and half a mile in width, the Berkeley Pit is a jaw-dropping testament to Montana’s mining past.

Its inviting turquoise waters, reminiscent of a tropical paradise, belie the danger that lurks beneath the surface.

This toxic water, a byproduct of the mining process, is responsible for the mesmerizing shades of blue and green that color the pit.

For a small admission fee, visitors can stand atop the viewing stand and marvel at the sheer magnitude of this man-made marvel.

Curious explorers must exercise caution when exploring Berkeley Pit, as its waters are highly poisonous.

Venturing too close is not only ill-advised but downright dangerous.

So, if you find yourself in the vicinity of Butte, Montana, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the enigmatic allure of the Berkeley Pit.

Just remember to keep a safe distance and let your eyes feast upon this strangely captivating, yet perilous, piece of Montana’s history.

2. Montana Vortex and House of Mystery

A wooden cabin with signs in a wooded area in Montana.

In your search for adventure across Montana’s geographic regions, consider taking an interesting detour to Montana Vortex and House of Mystery.

This mind-boggling attraction defies the laws of physics and gravity, creating an experience that is equal parts laughter and scientific challenge.

Located just a stone’s throw away from the majestic Glacier National Park, Montana Vortex is a must-visit for travelers seeking a unique and perplexing adventure.

As you step into the crooked shack, you’ll feel the world around you shift, as if gravity itself is playing tricks on your senses.

Objects appear to roll uphill, water flows in seemingly impossible directions, and the laws of nature take a backseat to mind-bending phenomena.

Prepare to have your perception of reality turned upside down as you explore the House of Mystery, as it will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about physics.

What are you waiting for? Gather your sense of curiosity and head over to this enchanted destination.

And as an added bonus, you’ll find yourself just a short drive away from Glacier National Park, America’s Crown Jewel.

Discover other must-know Montana travel tips when journeying across the Treasure State.

3. Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Montana

The enchanting world of the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is a captivating fusion of Tibetan Buddhist and Native American spirituality.

This sacred space was born as a pilgrimage site for Buddhist practitioners, with the intention of promoting peace, harmony, and global healing.

Adorned with hand-crafted stone statues arranged in a pattern mirroring the sacred Dharma Wheel, this garden emanates a profound sense of tranquility.

As you wander through the vibrant lavender gardens that encompass the site, you’ll be serenaded by the gentle whispers of the wind and touched by the essence of ancient wisdom.

What sets this garden apart is its inclusivity.

Regardless of your background or faith, all are welcome to embrace the transformative energy that permeates this hallowed ground.

It serves as a bridge between cultures, inviting visitors to engage in self-reflection, inner exploration, and a deep connection with nature.

The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas beckons to those who crave solace and seek a meditative retreat.

It serves as a reminder that amidst the chaos of the modern world, a place of peace and serenity can still be found.

Experience the timeless harmony that dwells within this sacred space and allow it to fill your heart with a sense of profound well-being.

4. Pompeys Pillar National Monument

A rock formation in the middle of a grassy field in Montana.

In your search for answers about the state’s Indian reservations, you may want to take the road less traveled.

This “road” stands tall and firm along the banks of the Yellowstone River and is a majestic pillar that holds a significant place in Montana’s history.

Pompeys Pillar was named after Captain William Clark’s young son, Pompey, and serves as a testament to the journey of exploration undertaken by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Its ancient symbols, left behind by Native American tribes, offer a glimpse into a bygone era and stand as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Montana.

Situated within a sprawling national monument, the pillar is easily accessible from Interstate 94, making it a must-visit destination for travelers passing through the area.

Its surrounding park offers a serene escape, with its picturesque hiking trails and breathtaking vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Beyond the allure of Pompeys Pillar, the region boasts other remarkable attractions, like the captivating Ptarmigan Tunnel in Glacier National Park.

A journey through this tunnel evokes a sense of wonder and adventure, with its winding pathways and awe-inspiring views.

In the heart of Montana’s captivating landscape, this historic pillar stands as a symbol of exploration, cultural heritage, and natural beauty.

It serves as a reminder of the untamed spirit that has shaped this land and continues to captivate the hearts of all who venture here.

5. Barstool Ski Races

A person sitting on a barstool with ski attached in the snow in Montana.

In the heart of Martin City, Montana, an eccentric event takes center stage during the annual Cabin Fever Days celebration – the Barstool Ski Races.

This quirky competition has captivated locals and visitors alike, becoming a signature highlight of the winter season.

Dating back to the 1970s, the Barstool Ski Races were conceived as a lighthearted way to combat cabin fever and inject some laughter into the long, cold winter months.

As the legend goes, a group of friends decided to combine two beloved pastimes – skiing and enjoying a cold beer at the local watering hole. And so, this peculiar fusion of sportsmanship and libations was born.

The rules of the Barstool Ski Races are as whimsical as they sound.

Participants must navigate a treacherous icy slope, all while seated on a barstool with skis attached.

The main challenge? Keeping a firm grip on their beer as they glide down the slope with the wind in their hair (and a smile on their face).

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Montana offers a plethora of other unique and thrilling winter sports for adventure enthusiasts.

From carving through the snowy slopes on downhill skis to gracefully gliding along cross-country trails, there is no shortage of excitement.

For those seeking a faster pace, snowmobiling ventures through the winter wonderland provide an exhilarating rush.

And for a more leisurely adventure, snow coach tours offer a cozy way to explore the serene landscapes.

In Montana, the Barstool Ski Races are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to winter entertainment.

So grab your barstool, hold on tight to your beer, and prepare for a one-of-a-kind thrill ride in the state’s wintery wonderland.

6. Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

Inside Lewis and Clark Caverns

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park is a truly extraordinary and enchanting destination nestled in the heart of Montana.

Located just a stone’s throw away from the world-renowned Yellowstone National Park, this hidden gem offers a mesmerizing underworld of limestone caverns waiting to be explored.

With guided tours available, visitors have the incredible opportunity to venture deep into the subterranean depths and witness the breathtaking natural beauty that lies beneath the surface.

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park isn’t just about underground adventures; it also boasts a variety of hiking trails that meander through lush forests and rolling hills.

And for those who prefer to spend the night surrounded by nature, the park offers both RV and tent camping options.

Beyond the park’s boundaries, adventure awaits along the Jefferson River, where canoeing and fishing opportunities abound.

Whether you’re a seasoned spelunker or simply seeking an unforgettable outdoor experience, Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park is sure to captivate your senses and leave you spellbound.

From the mysterious depths of the limestone caverns to the scenic hiking trails and outdoor activities, this park has something to offer every nature enthusiast.

7. Grasshopper Glacier

Aerial view of a glacier in the mountains of Montana.

In the enchanting Custer Gallatin National Forest lies a hidden gem that can leave you equal parts bewildered and captivated: Grasshopper Glacier.

Legend has it that in the early 1900s, a tenacious geologist made an astonishing discovery while exploring this icy wonderland.

Millions of long-extinct locusts were encased in the frozen embrace of the glacier, frozen in time as if a cataclysmic storm had swept them away.

This jaw-dropping sight serves as a stunning testament to the extraordinary forces of nature that once shaped our world.

The best time to visit Grasshopper Glacier is in the summer months when the snow begins to melt, revealing the hidden marvels beneath.

The recommended hike starts from Highway 212, leading you through awe-inspiring landscapes and soaring mountain vistas, all the way to Goose Lake.

From there, a trail takes you to the saddle between Sawtooth Mountain and Iceberg Peak, offering a breathtaking panoramic view of Grasshopper Glacier and its frozen inhabitants.

However, it’s important to note that the hike is not for the faint of heart. It’s only recommended for serious hikers with experience in challenging terrains.

The path can be rugged and demanding, rewarding those who dare to venture with an experience unlike any other.

A visit to Grasshopper Glacier is an opportunity to connect with a piece of the Earth’s history, to witness a spectacle that leaves you in awe of the wonders our planet holds.

8. Castle Ghost Town

An old log cabin sits in the middle of a forest in Montana.

Castle Ghost Town—not to be confused with the mining camp, Castle City—is a place that can shed shivers down your spine.

This mysterious ghost town nestled in the heart of Montana holds an intriguing history about the American West that is sure to captivate even the most skeptical of souls.

Once upon a time, during Montana’s silver rush, Castle Ghost Town was a vibrant and bustling mining town. It was the epicenter of activity, teeming with life and hope.

However, as the silver boom waned, economic difficulties swept through the town like an icy gust of wind, forcing its residents to abandon their dreams and flee.

In its heyday, Castle Ghost Town was home to around 2,000 spirited souls, including the notorious Calamity Jane herself.

Imagine, the Wild West spirit coursing through the streets, echoing with the clinking of glasses and the laughter of cowboys.

But now, all that remains are derelict residential houses and abandoned shops, standing as a melancholic ode to a bygone era.

It’s a surreal sight, wandering through the silent streets, imagining the stories that once unfolded within these weathered walls.

The once-thriving town now stands frozen in time, its atmospheric creepiness adding to the allure for those who dare to explore its eerie depths.

While Castle Ghost Town lies on private property, you can still glimpse and feel its ethereal presence from the highway.

As you embark on your adventurous Montana journey, make sure to keep an eye out for this haunting relic.

Even a glimpse will leave you pondering the mysteries that lie behind its crumbling facade.

9. Dumas Brothel Museum

Dumas Brothel Museum in Montana

Hidden in the heart of Uptown Butte, Montana, stands a relic from a scandalous past—the Dumas Brothel Museum.

This Victorian-era structure holds within its walls the secrets and stories of a time long gone, a time when the vices of society were shrouded in shadows.

The Dumas Brothel, with its opulent facade and elegant rooms, was a place where desires were indulged and fantasies took flight.

But what makes this place truly extraordinary is not just its history as a brothel, but its remarkable longevity.

The Dumas Brothel remained open, against the law, until as late as 1982.

Imagine the audacity, the defiance that must have been required to keep this forbidden establishment alive for over a century.

It is a testament to the resilience of its owners and the allure it held for those seeking an escape from the constraints of society.

Today, visitors can step back in time and experience a guided tour of the museum’s premises.

Each room holds whispers of the past as if the walls themselves can still remember the scandal and secrets that once unfolded within.

From the grand parlor to the intimate bedrooms, the museum offers a window into a world rarely spoken about. The historic Dumas Brothel Museum serves as a testament to the hidden histories of Butte.

Step inside and let the stories of the past surround you, for within these walls lie the echoes of countless untold tales.

10. American Computer and Robotics Museum

American Computer and Robotics Museum in Montana

Bozeman, Montana is home to a place where the evolution of technology comes alive.

Founded in 1990 by computer collector George Keremedjiev, the American Computer and Robotics Museum stands as a testament to the incredible advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics.

It holds a mesmerizing array of ancient and modern artifacts that tell the story of how we have saved and shared information throughout history.

From the abacus to the latest cutting-edge robots, each exhibit showcases a different chapter in the ever-evolving world of technology.

Moving further into the museum, state-of-the-art robots captivate the imagination.

These machines, with their intricate designs and impressive capabilities, serve as a glimpse into a future where robots play an even larger role in our lives.

What sets the American Computer and Robotics Museum apart is not just its collection of artifacts, but also its location in Bozeman.

The fact that this small city is the birthplace of such a remarkable institution is a testament to the passion and dedication of George Keremedjiev.

His love for computers and robotics has blossomed into a treasure trove of knowledge and inspiration for visitors from all walks of life.

This is a place where the past, present, and future of technology converge, reminding us of the limitless possibilities that lie ahead.

11. Beaver Creek Park

Beaver Creek Park in Montana

Have you ever heard of a park so massive, it could practically be its own county? We’re happy to enlighten you!

The majestic Beaver Creek Park in Montana spans a mind-boggling 10 thousand acres, arguably making it the largest county park in the United States.

Since its opening to the public back in 1916, this expansive natural wonder has been maintained with utmost care and devotion by Hill County.

It’s truly a testament to their dedication that this sprawling paradise has been preserved for over a century.

The park offers a sheer range of recreational activities.

Anglers can cast their lines into the crystal-clear waters, hoping for a big catch to brag about.

And if you’re one who loves the great outdoors, you’ll find yourself in paradise among the abundant camping spots.

Set up your tent, roast marshmallows over a crackling fire, and let the starry night sky mesmerize you as you drift off to sleep.

Beaver Creek Park is an oasis of natural beauty where you can lose yourself in the wonders of Montana.

So don’t hesitate to unleash your adventurous spirit and immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes that await you.

Montana Fascinating Facts

A pair of glasses and a magnifying glass sit on top of an open book

From its intense coldness and unique wildlife to its enchanting residents and fondness for berries, our journey into the weird and wonderful world of Montana continues as we discover fascinating facts about the Treasure State.

1. Montana’s Intense Coldness

A group of pine trees covered in snow in Montana.

Upon setting foot in Montana, visitors are immediately enveloped in a bone-chilling coldness that seems to defy nature itself.

The biting frost, a hallmark of this vast state, can make even the hardiest individuals shiver in their boots.

From subzero temperatures that can freeze even your eyelashes to snowfall reaching over 300 inches in some areas, Montana’s extreme cold reigns supreme.

Regions, from the towering Rocky Mountains to the expansive Great Plains, boast their own unique climate zones, each displaying the cold’s different forms and intensities.

One of the most astonishing showcases of Montana’s bone-chilling coldness occurred in Rogers Pass, where a staggering -70°F (-57°C) was recorded on January 20, 1954.

This served as a chilling reminder of the raw power of the state’s winters and the resilience of its inhabitants.

2. Montana’s Elk Haven

Two elk fighting in a field in Montana.

In Montana, you can’t turn your head without catching a glimpse of majestic elks gracefully navigating their vast habitat.

These elegant creatures are abundant in the state, with their migratory patterns closely tied to the grandeur of Yellowstone National Park.

The ranching and agricultural industries in the area have played a significant role in bolstering the elk population.

These industries provide ample grazing lands for their sustenance and serve as vital corridors for their movement.

Elks are known for their impressive migratory patterns, covering massive distances as they navigate between different elevations and habitats throughout the year.

These magnificent creatures have unique characteristics that make them a true wonder to behold.

With their towering antlers and regal presence, they are the embodiment of wilderness and power. Their social dynamics and mating rituals are equally fascinating, showcasing their strength and tenacity.

Despite the abundance of elks in Montana, these animals still face survival challenges.

Habitat loss and fragmentation pose threats to their migratory routes, while increased human activity can disrupt their natural behaviors.

To mitigate these risks, conservation measures have been implemented, such as protected areas and wildlife corridors, to ensure the elk population thrives for generations to come.

In Montana, the elks are a testament to the state’s commitment to preserving its natural treasures.

3. Montana’s Fondness for Berries

An up-close view of huckleberries in Montana

The state has revealed some of the most extraordinary secrets within its rocky embrace.

Among Montana’s treasures, the Huckleberry reigns supreme, thriving in the cool mountain air amid dense forests and requiring specific growing conditions unique to the state.

The region’s untamed wilderness offers a bountiful array of succulent delights like chokecherries, serviceberries, and wild raspberries, each bursting with flavor.

While exploring Montana’s berries, you might come across the ever-resilient Bitterroot, the state flower, which blooms vividly in sandy and arid landscapes and mirrors the indomitable spirit of this majestic state.

Come and discover the magic of the state’s wild berries amid its mountainous enclaves, savoring nature’s treasures and awakening your spirit to the untold stories of this captivating land.

4. Montana’s Love for Buffalo

A lone bison grazing in Montana

In Montana, the spirit of preservation runs deep, and nowhere is that more evident than in the efforts made to save America’s buffalo, the Bison.

These majestic creatures, once on the verge of extinction, have found a haven in Montana’s National Bison Range.

Established in 1908, the National Bison Range has become a sanctuary for Bison, ensuring their survival and safeguarding their future.

It is a testament to Montana’s unwavering commitment to conservation.

Montana’s dedication doesn’t stop there, though.

The state has also played a crucial role in preserving the moose population.

These magnificent creatures, with their towering antlers and graceful presence, have found a home amid the state’s pristine wilderness.

Every year, the National Bison Range welcomes a new generation of bison calves, a heartwarming testament to the successful preservation efforts.

These adorable little ones embody the hope and resilience that Montana harbors for the future of America’s buffalo.

Montana is devoted to protecting its natural heritage.

Its commitment to preserving this iconic species is an essential part of its identity, ensuring that future generations will continue to marvel at the beauty and majesty of the Bison.

5. Montana’s Crazy Games and Laws

A man throwing a frisbee in a park in Montana.

While Montana may be known for its awe-inspiring natural beauty and rugged wilderness, it’s also home to some delightfully bizarre games and laws that are sure to raise an eyebrow or two.

First up, let’s talk about Folf. No, that’s not a typo – it’s the quirky name for a unique game that combines Frisbee and golf.

Picture this: you navigate a course, hurling a Frisbee into a metal basket instead of sinking a golf ball into a hole. It’s a whole new way to play, and Montanans take their Folf seriously. In fact, there’s even an ordinance dedicated to this wacky sport!

But Montana’s oddities don’t stop at games.

The Land of the Big Sky is also home to some truly peculiar laws.

Did you know that it’s illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone in Montana? Yes, you read that right. It seems like sheep need a little company during road trips.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Montana’s unusual regulations.

From perplexing parking restrictions to curiously specific fishing laws, like not allowing married women to fish alone on Sundays and barring unmarried women from fishing alone at all, this state knows how to keep things interesting.

So, if you’re up for some eccentric fun and want to experience a place where even the laws have a touch of quirkiness, look no further than Big Sky Country.

6. Montana’s Swan Princess

A white swan swimming in the water in Montana.

Montana is not only home to breathtaking national parks and quirky laws, but it also holds a unique story that captures the imagination.

In this enchanting narrative, the state takes center stage as the dwelling place of the Swan Princess.

What makes the story of the Swan Princess truly remarkable is the fact that Montana holds the largest population of Trumpeter Swans in the United States.

These majestic birds, with their pure white feathers and resonant calls, find solace in the region’s vast landscapes.

The Trumpeter Swans, known for their migratory nature, flock to Montana seasonally, creating a spectacle that sparks wonder and awe.

Montana’s proximity to Waterton Lakes National Park, the splendid abode of the Prince of Wales Hotel, adds to the allure.

This stunning park, with its pristine beauty and captivating charm, has inspired the tale of the Swan Princess and lured these magnificent birds to call Montana their home.

Montana Weirdness Final Thoughts

A brown cow in a field with mountains in the background in Montana.

Embrace the allure of Montana’s weird locations and fascinating facts as you embark on a journey that weaves history, adventure, and quirky entertainment into a captivating tapestry.

From the haunting depths of Berkeley Pit to the rugged beauty of Beaver Creek Park and the enigmatic Grasshopper Glacier, each site carries tales of historical significance, inviting you to explore the state’s rich heritage.

Beyond the postcard-perfect landscapes, Montana’s identity lies in its intense coldness, fondness for wild berries, and the powerful symbolism of America’s buffalo, the Bison.

Embracing the state’s unique offerings leads you on a path of discovery, where you become a part of the living history, leaving an indelible mark on your soul.

Montana Weirdness FAQs

1. What Is an Unusual Fact About Montana?

In a truly astonishing record, the largest snowflake ever measured was an incredible 15 inches (38cm) wide and 8 inches (20cm) thick!

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this remarkable event took place during a January 1887 storm at Fort Keogh, Montana, and it was a ranch owner named Matt Coleman who meticulously measured the dimensions of the snowflake.

2. Is There Anything Special About Montana?

Oh, you bet there is!

From the untamed beauty of Glacier National Park and the quiet serenity of Flathead Lake to weird locations like Berkeley Pit and Castle Ghost Town, Montana delivers a harmonious blend of natural wonders and fascinating peculiarities.

3. Is Montana a Fun Place to Live?

Montana is an incredibly fun place to live, offering endless opportunities for outdoor adventures amid its breathtaking landscapes.

Whether you seek the heights of Glacier National Park or the geothermal wonders of Yellowstone National Park, the thrill of uncharted territories awaits.

You can also embrace the wild in the Barstool Ski Races and Montana Vortex’s bizarre offerings, making Montana your playground for fascinating adventures.

4. Why Is Montana So Popular?

Montana’s popularity as a destination can be attributed to its stunning national parks like Glacier and Yellowstone, drawing adventurers and nature enthusiasts from around the world.

Its vast wilderness, rich mineral deposits, notable residents, and abundant public land add to the allure, creating limitless opportunities for outdoor exploration and unforgettable experiences.

5. What Is a Fun Food Fact About Montana?

A fun food fact about Montana is Cream of the West, a roasted wheat cereal that has been delighting local families since 1914.

Its toasty flavor and delightful crunch set it apart from ordinary oats, making it a versatile and delicious addition to any dish.

Whether enjoyed as a warm, nutty breakfast or sprinkled on ice cream, Cream of the West is a true Montana treasure that will leave you craving more of its roasted wheat goodness.

If you’re eager to unlock the wealth of information about Montana, immerse your mind in these amazing reads that will broaden your understanding of the state:

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Written by:

Chris Hall
Hi, I'm Chris Hall, co-founder of Growing up among Montana's breathtaking landscapes ignited my passion for travel. While I've journeyed to many corners of the world, the allure of Montana's wild beauty always draws me back. To me, travel is about understanding the soul of a place, and Montana has a special place in my heart. It's where endless adventures meet raw nature.

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