When my family first moved to Montana, i had just turned 8. I was told that it was very beautiful & where we would be living had "mountains all around it."
So i was disappointed when we first arrived in Bozeman. Yes, there were mountains all around, but the distant mountains were 75 miles away or more. I had been picturing a narrow valley with mountains close by.
I got over the disappointment, of course. And i do think Bozeman very beautiful. But i never forgot that original expectation of "mountains all around." Big Bear is rather like that.
When i was growing up i never learned to ski. So i didn't spend much time in Bridger Canyon where the ski hill was located. But when Duane & i honeymooned in Yellowstone & later Bozeman, we stayed at a B&B in Bridger Canyon. It was there i saw the "mountains all around." These are two pics of that canyon. It was what i had imagined i would be moving to. And, if i were independently wealthy & could live wherever i wanted, this would be it.
A funny story from that move to Montana. I thought i'd told it before, but i can't find it.
On our trip to Bozeman, we stopped at Custer's Battlefield, since politically-correctly renamed the Little Bighorn Battlefield. This national monument is in eastern Montana. I rode most of the trip with mother, Sis #2 (who was 4-1/2) rode most of the way with daddy.
(As retold by daddy):
When we were maybe half an hour past the battlefield, Sis #2 asked, "Daddy, are there Indians in Montana?"
The reply was, yes, there are Indians in Montana.
Perhaps 20 minutes passed, & Sis #2 asked, "Daddy, are there bears in Montana."
The reply again was, yes, there are bears in Montana.
Some time passed & Sis #2 said, "Daddy, i don't think we should move to Montana."
When asked why, Sis stated, "If the Indians don't get us, the bears will!"
I can add that at 8 years old i really hadn't any idea what we were moving to. We had been told many stories & i expected wild country. It was rather tame to drive into town & stay at the Best Western. I think i'm a generation behind those that thought all the "west" was wide open plains, ranches, rodeos, & Indian raids. (Largely because of the presentation of Hollywood of those things.) But i think many of the stories my young uncles told before we left must have reflected these ideas.