Tower Street Trails: A Bold Dinner Date

Publisher’s Note: Make It Missoula is publishing the writings of University of Montana students enrolled in Nadia White’s autumn semester 2014 Adventure Writing class. Each student was assigned a Missoula area trail to explore and write about. Read more about Nadia White, this assignment, and the University of Montana School of Journalism’s Adventure Writing class.


I take a look around and I see trees. Trees and squirrels everywhere, squirrels that are so bold they get right next to me then turn and run as if they’re playing chicken. I grab my backpack off of the ground, sling it onto my back and start walking through The Tower Street Complex Trail.

My favorite place on the trail looks like a tree graveyard. There are dead, fallen-over trees everywhere. One tree is perfectly placed, almost as if somebody had picked up this huge trunk and laid it down right next to the river. I sit down on this barkless expanse as I have done so many times before, pull out my book and read for an hour or so. Eventually I put my book down and stare out across the river, admiring the view.


Tower Stree Trail. Photo by ©Brenden Sperr

The Tower Street Complex is a small but hikeable park built on a cottonwood-filled floodplain along the Clark Fork. It is about three miles from University of Montana campus. The trail has two parts to it, each about a half-mile long. I took the trail that has an absolutely beautiful view of the river. It is stunning. It is a very relaxing and easy trail to do if you have an hour or two of free time you want to kill.

As I read, squirrels are running around and chattering at me. I feel like they’re yelling at me, trying to tell me this is their tree and I need to leave. I stand up, and continue along my path.  It is about 6:30 p.m., and I start to feel a bit hungry, so I backtrack to a little opening I passed 10 minutes earlier, throw down my backpack, sit back against a tree and pull out my dinner. I’ve got two sandwiches and a ton of chocolate peanut butter granola bars. As I take my first bite of the sandwich, I see squirrels running around. It almost seems as if they’re following me around the trail and I laugh to myself, feeling like a prisoner under the close eye of my big bad jail keepers.

I continue to eat, wondering if I could somehow tame a squirrel and have it be my pet and train it so it would follow me around the way the squirrel-like Pikachu follows Ash, the adventurer, around in Pokémon.


The Snack thief. Photo by ©Brenden Sperr

I finish both my sandwiches, and open one of my granola bars. I put the open granola bar down on top my bag and take a sip of water. I go to pick up my granola bar, but its not there, so I get really confused. I think maybe I ate it, so I go to grab another one, take a bite, put it down, and after I put my water down I see the second bar is gone.

Now, I know something’s weird, so I take out a third bar and purposely set it down when all the sudden this squirrel comes racing out of the tree, snatches it up and runs back up a tree. I stare after him, speechless. I look up the tree and notice the other two wrappers right next to him. I am utterly amazed. How bold of the squirrel! And I’m a bit ticked off; the jerk stole three of my granola bars! So I take another one out, and decide to split it with my new friend. He comes down, more hesitant this time, knowing I’m watching him. Eventually after giving this guy close to seven full bars, he just sits down right next to my bag and starts napping. I laugh to myself again, “This is freaking awesome!” I may have lost half my dinner, but I made myself a new friend.


Tower Street Trails

Round Trip Distance: Two trails each offer a half-mile loop

Total Elevation Gain: None

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Trail Surface: Packed earth

Description: It only takes about 20 minutes to complete both trails in this small park on a floodplain of the Clark Fork River. It features soft rolling trails, quiet woods and views of the Clark Fork River.

Directions to the trailhead:

To drive, take South 3rd Street West three miles west, cross Reserve Street and turn right at Tower. Tower dead ends at the trailhead parking lot.

To bike, follow the Kim Williams-Clark Fork River-Milwaukee Road bike trails to Reserve Street. Pass under Reserve Street, turn left on North Grove Street, right on South 3rd Street West, then right onto Tower Street, to the trailhead.


BrendenSperrSelfieBrenden Sperr was born in Minnesota, in a little town named Columbia Heights. He started to write short stories when he was 18 years old. He loves reading fiction, jet skiing and alpine skiing. Brenden is currently studying Sociology at the University of Montana. He intends to graduate in 2018.