• Mary Anderson

Big Sky Hospitality

People warned me about Big Sky. They said it was full of billionaires and I'd have a hard time finding a place to stay. They were only partially correct.

There were a lot of people in Big Sky who were not billionaires. There was the woman who ran the grocery store, the guys who worked at that store, and all the other assorted people who worked for the rich and famous.

I did have a hard time figuring out where to stay, even though the grocery-store woman made some calls on my behalf. I was even taken for a homeless woman as I sat in the parking lot under a tree eating my storebought meal. But then I met the ski bum crowd: the people who tuned the skis, cleaned the condos, and did construction. They would be considered the riff-raff of such a town, and some of the ones at the bar would have been dismissed as alcoholics. But those riff-raff are the ones who took me under their wing. I was welcome to hang out with them, even though I refused way more drinks than the one I ingested. They befriended me and made me feel welcome. I had a number of offers for places to stay, and in the end was even driven back to the trailhead the next day.

I’ve never been picked up hitchhiking by someone with a fancy car. A majority of the rides I've gotten were in cars with broken windshields driven by working-class people. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a really wealthy trail angel.

I have some friends who are quite well off and plenty generous with their wealth. But why is it that those with less are often more generous and kind to strangers on the trail? Is it that suffering and lack breed compassion? Are those with less money richer in spirit? Going by my experiences in Big Sky, Montana, and on the rest of the trail, I’d have to say yes.

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