Spring Fever Hits Great Falls, People Hit the Trails

It’s spring in Montana, the season of “hurry up and wait.” Whether we’re prepping to plant, hunting for sheds, or cleaning up around the house, most of us are taking advantage of every single nice day that we’re blessed with.

So last week, while spending a few days in Great Falls, I did what tons of other folks do on a sunny, spring day — I hit the River’s Edge Trail.

Great Falls — with its historic downtown, sweeping skies, and riverfront location — is a beautiful city. There are nearly 60 miles of trail connecting folks to the parks and paths along the banks of The Missouri. The trails are peppered with playgrounds, public art, picnic tables and pavilions, fishing spots and boat ramps, and stunning views.

On that sunny, March afternoon, there were young families getting some fresh air, friends walking their dogs after work, runners, walkers, and bikers.

Janet Christina and Emilio Vanni walk the trails together as much as they can. Janet is an artist. She’s been painting and drawing the scenes along the River’s Edge Trail for ages, until cataract surgery left her nearly blind last year. She can no longer make out the scenes and figures she used to draw, but she can paint the images in her head as she walks by memory and sound.

Emilio Vanni walked beside her. Recovering from a recent back surgery, Emilio uses the trails as a way to get out and move around. Emilio moved to Great Falls from Italy when he was fifteen, and he’s loved the city every since.

“I had the choice between Great Falls and San Francisco. I chose Great Falls, and I’m glad I chose it,” Emilio said.

Everyone along the River’s Edge Trail has their own story that connects them to the trail and to Montana’s open spaces. What’s yours?

Use the navigation arrows on the right or left of the images to scroll through the pictures. Or sit back and relax, and the pictures will scroll through on their own after a few seconds.


-Amanda Garant

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