Manifest Destiny

    Photo: Paul White Photography via Flick

If you live in an eastern city, at some point you’ve got to take a month (minimum) off and head west. Specifically, to ­Montana. How to get there? The crow’s route, I-90, cuts through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and ­Indi­ana. It’s also about as exciting as an ­expense report. ­Instead, go through Canada. Head to Syracuse and take a hard right on I-81 north, which leads to southern Quebec and Ontario. Canoeists, make for Algonquin Provincial Park, three hours west of Ottawa. With more than 1,200 miles of designated canoe routes, it’s like the Boundary Waters, only with fewer people (rentals, US$25 per day from ­Algonquin Outfitters; ­algonquinoutfitters.com). If sea kayaking is more your thing, head west to Killarney Provincial Park and the thousands of islands that dot Lake ­Huron’s Georgian Bay (rentals from US$32 per day from Killarney Outfitters; killarney­outfitters.com). Then pick up Highway 28, south of Sault Ste. Marie, reenter the U.S., and explore Michigan’s rugged ­Upper Peninsula with route maps from the U.P. Mountain Biking website (upmtb.com). Follow the St. Croix River across northern Wisconsin until you hit the Twin ­Cities. Then make up time: North Dakota’s badlands are 7.5 mostly forgettable hours west on I-94. Once you pass Billings, ­Montana, you have options: for megafauna, head south to Red Lodge, on the boundary of Yellowstone National Park, then drive through the wolfy Lamar Valley and end your trip 162 miles south in Jackson, ­Wyoming. Or, if you have a fly-fishing problem, stay on 90 and crash in Big Timber. It’s the perfect base camp for fishing the October caddis hatch on Sweet Grass Creek. From there you can make for the Gallatin River, near Bozeman; the Blackfoot, outside Missoula; the Bitterroot, south of town; or, well, you get the idea.

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