The Story Behind the "M"

The "M" is 620 feet above the Missoula Valley floor. It is 125' feet long and 100' feet wide. University of Montana forestry students cut the switchbacks into the side of the hill in the early 1900's. The first "M" was assembled out of whitewashed rocks in 1909, and given a fresh coat of paint by freshmen every year, until 1968, when all those rocks were cemented together with concrete.

Photo by Nelson Kenter,

Archive for the ‘Elke Blog’ Category

A Count of Blessings

By ELKE GOVERTSEN - After yesterday's tragedy, all I can count to today is two. That's the number of my blessings, and I will count them over and over.... more

A Mama Ode to Oula

By ELKE GOVERTSEN - Oula is dancing. Oula is working out. Oula is social. Oula is Missoula-grown. It sounds dramatic, but it's true: My life is better since I started Oula.... more

Montana Summer Survival Guide: Go Jump in the…

By ELKE GOVERTSEN - The lakes of Montana are really the sprinkles to our family's ice cream, the little bits of extra fun and color, and in the summer, cool-down-ness.... more

Big Business in the Other Valley

By ELKE GOVERTSEN - It's not Silicon Valley, but Missoula is a valley of innovation, hard work, and big ideas. It's the Other Valley - you know, the one with no traffic.... more

Bookworms and Whangdoodles

By ELKE GOVERTSEN - The only advice I should ever give other parents is this: When you don’t know what to do, default and do something you are really good at. For me, it's reading.... more

The Right Guy

By ELKE GOVERTSEN - The perfect wedding: stress-free, beautiful, and all of that paled in comparison to the simple fact that I was marrying the right guy.... more


By ELKE GOVERTSEN - Hunker. I really love that word, and not just because it has “hunk” in it (shout out to my hubby!). Thursday was a snow day, and boyohboy, did we hunker.... more

F*#%ing Laundry

By ELKE GOVERTSEN. I hate laundry!!!! For goodness sake. I know how to do it. Really I do. But I just don’t care enough. Or more to the point, I do care, but not as much as I care about things like my childre... more


By ELKE GOVERTSEN. My sister in law is from Panama and when she crosses the street with her little ones she says, “Contacto.” Contact. “Contacto.” It isn’t safe. I will protect you. We will go togethe... more

Summer Feet

By ELKE GOVERTSEN. Say it ain’t so… summer is, gulp, over? But I don’t have my summer feet yet.... more

Camp Elke

By ELKE GOVERTSEN. When I was in college, my dream job was to be a camp director. Perhaps it still is. I was MADE for camp. One thing I never thought of was the fact that somewhere other than camp, there was ma... more

Get Outta Town…

By ELKE GOVERTSEN. Sometimes the very best way to love a place is to get the heck outta there. This is consistently the case for me with Missoula.... more

Norman’s Got Nothing on Missoula

By ELKE GOVERTSEN. The nostalgia of our town is also its future. The ability to take people back to their childhoods, to a time when the grasses were hip-height and adventure called from right outside your door... more

Getting Schooled

By ELKE GOVERTSEN. About this time every year I start getting calls. Worried calls. Trying to make the right choice calls. Trying to not make the wrong choice calls. Calls from terrified, about to start kinderg... more

It’s All Relative

By ELKE GOVERTSEN. My grandpa died this week and Missoula lost some of its twinkle. So if you read this website to try to understand why Missoula is so special, think of this: there are little houses, on quiet ... more


By ELKE GOVERTSEN. Someone asked me yesterday how I was doing and without even thinking I replied, “I am right on the very edge of my capacity.” I was feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.... more

This is the Ride I’m On

By ELKE GOVERTSEN. I sometimes get it right, but sometimes I get it very wrong. That pretty much sums up my career as a mother.... more

The Dude Can Dance

By ELKE GOVERTSEN. Valentine's Blog: After the sting from my first real heartbreak had subsided, I decided that my next fling would be simple. If he could dance, that would do. I wanted no complications, obli... more


By ELKE GOVERTSEN. I am usually out of gas at bedtime. I am ready to quit. I don’t know how I will make it through the next hour of showers, towels, flushing and brushing. But once we hit the bedroom I am go... more

F*#%ing Mittens

By ELKE GOVERTSEN. Like mittens. This time of the year I can hardly think of them without calling them F*#%ing Mittens. At my house they are either missing, mismatched, wet or lost. Always.... more


By ELKE GOVERTSEN. I know this is a blog about being a mom in Missoula. I will take every advantage to tell you about my sons, how brilliant and beautiful and sweet they are. How very difficult it is to keep up... more

Anywhere But Missoula, MT

11/09 Blog by Elke Govertson. If you had asked me in college where I would live when I “settled down” (is that what has happened? I have settled? Like a flat cake? Like an upset stomach? Yikes.) I would hav... more

Having it All

Blog by Elke Govertsen of Mamalode. It is gone. There used to be this lingering itch, like one in an unreachable spot on my back. It drove me nuts. It kept me from sleeping. It was completely out of reach. It w... more

Point A to Point B

Blog by Elke Govertsen of Mamalode. I love walking my kids to school this time of year. It is cold; our noses turn pink and runny. The sky is a quiet blue. It smells like smoke and lawns and apples. We pick... more

And So it Begins….

Blog by Elke Govertsen of Mamalode. We made it. We made it to that parenting milestone of having both kids in school full time. It is true—they go to the same place at the same time. Those of you with kidd... more