Geographically, Madison County is split into two areas – the Madison Valley and the Ruby Valley. In fact, three areas – don’t forget the parts of Big Sky that fall in our county line.
Though we’re divided by mountains, we share similar lifestyles. Except when it comes to wind. I’m sorry, Ruby Valley, but your wind is not nearly as bossy as the gusts in the Madison (yes, yes, we’re jealous).
During the past few weeks, the Ruby Valley has been calling my name. I have spent considerable time in Sheridan attending meetings about the town’s water system, and I’ve taken advantage of those trips. Instead of driving straight from Ennis to my meetings and directly home again, I’ve allowed time to explore the Ruby. These meandering experiences have triggered a renewed interest in areas of Madison County outside my home base.
I have a soft spot for Ennis and the Madison Valley. The community welcomed me with open arms and this is where I feel home. But when I first moved to Madison County, it was the Ruby Valley that won my heart.
Spend golden hour – the time before dusk – driving from Alder to Sheridan, and you’ll understand why. And if you really want to fall in love with the area, take time to chat with the folks you meet on the street, at the trailheads and in shops.
Last year Mike became infatuated with traditional archery when a friend gifted him a Fred Bear recurve bow. Since I’m always up for trying new things, I started shooting with him, and now we have a new favorite pastime. Just north of Sheridan along Wisconsin Creek Road, the Tobacco Root Archers have an awesome 3D archery course set up on some generously donated land. The range has around 26 foam targets, from bears to moose to six-point bull elk. Mike and I have too much fun spending an evening there. Not only is the location perfect – nestled at the foot of the mountains – but the design of the course is shockingly realistic! The foam targets are tucked into the brush and sometimes take you by surprise!
Unfortunately, I’m a weakling and it is necessary for me to stand about 10 yards from the target to fire the arrow with enough momentum to stick. Needless to say, I will not be an effective hunter, unless what I’m stalking is both blind and deaf without a sense of smell.
Regardless, it’s been fun to pretend. I have to say my favorite target at the range is a black bear attached to a pulley system … when you’re ready, someone trips the cord and the bear sails at you through the air! That’s high stakes archery, for sure!
It’s easy to explore your own backyard, but my time in the Ruby Valley reminded me to make time and put forth the effort to enjoy opportunities available across Madison County – every dirt road leads to an inspiring adventure.