Interview with Jessica: Un Paseo por el Centro de Missoula

We think conversation is one of the most fun parts of language learning. On Thursdays, we switch languages and ask each other questions to learn more about Tuesday’s topic. Today, Roberto interviews Jessica about her walk through downtown Missoula. You can read Jessica’s original post in Spanish here

Roberto: Is the river still as important in the daily life of Missoulians as in the story of A River Runs Through It?
Jessica: I think that by nature of the river running straight through the middle of the city, it does play an important part in people’s lives, even if it is just a matter of noticing how it changes with the seasons. The Clark Fork is not an industrial river like the Mississippi, where it is used for shipping or anything like that, but it is a clean river, which allows people to swim in it and interact with it more. And because the water level and the character of the river change so much throughout the year, Missoulians are very conscious of it.


R: There are so many activities you could do in a nice river like the Clark Fork–which ones are your favorites? Have you surfed the Wave?
J: I have yet to surf the wave,  but I hope to at some point. My favorite activity is to take a picnic to a swimming hole along the river and hang out near it and go swimming. There is an area near my parent’s house where the river divides in several arms and stretches out over a wider area. In that area, you can find several little deeper spots to swim in. One very popular thing to do this time of year is to “float the river” in innertubes. People drive to a spot a little east of town and ride the river down to Caras Park. It is common to take beers and to tie your innertube together with your friends so that you can all stay together like a huge raft.


R: What do you think about the idea of conserving part of the mercantile in the new hotel?
J: I am glad that they are going to make use of the space that sat empty for so long, and it sounds like the retail and restaurant space that is going in is going to be a good development. So, while I appreciate the history of the mercantile, I was most concerned about having more activities downtown. That said, I think it is a great choice to keep elements of the old building so that its story is still there. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

R: Is there any other place in Missoula that runs like a mercantile?
J: Not exactly, but there are some general supply stores with farming and agricultural equipment. One special thing about the old mercantile is that it is right downtown on one of the most trafficked blocks of the city, so its fate has been highly contested.


R: Why would you encourage someone to visit Missoula?
J: I think one of the most interesting parts about Missoula is how quickly you can go from a lively downtown to places that feel very remote. Just outside of town you can see wildlife and pristine mountain views. Along those same lines, you can get to world class biking, skiing, hiking, and climbing very easily. I have also been enjoying some of the more quirky events held by local businesses. This week, options include a cat video marathon at the Roxy Theater, a drink and draw event at the Cidery with a local boutique’s mannequin as the model, or a yoga class at a brewery which ends with a free beer. That’s if the mountains and river aren’t attraction enough!


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