A former Hungry Horse News employee has recently released a book detailing her family’s adventures in the North Fork.
The “Montana We Knew” tells the story of the adventures of Brooks, her husband Tad and their three children as they built a cabin in the North Fork; a cabin without running water, electricity or telephone service. Along the way, they battled such things as grizzly bear break-ins, skunks in the outhouse and forest fires.
After the San Francisco Earthquake of 1989, Carla Ewing Brooks made the decision to give up her successful California life and move her family to Montana. Brooks and her husband at the time had visited Montana (and Brook’s favorite aunt in Kalispell) twice and decided the area would be a perfect place to live.
“We fell in love with the scenic beauty and all of the animals. It was just such a nice, slower pace compared to the city,” Brooks said.
After settling in Columbia Falls, she took a job in advertising with the Hungry Horse News, where she reconnected with her former college friend and future husband, Tad Brooks, who was the Managing Editor of the newspaper.
After buying a 100-year-old home in downtown Kalispell to restore, the couple decided to also take on the task of building their getaway cabin in the North Fork.
After one particularly memorable hike over Gunsight Pass with her sister and her family, Brooks decided it was time to start chronicling her adventures. The narrative soon took on a life of its own and later became “The Montana We Knew.”
Tad and Carla now make their home in Eastern Washington on a small organic farm, though they still own their cabin in the North Fork. They are avid outdoors people who spend every chance they get, hiking and canoeing in Glacier National Park with their adult children.
Brooks says she intends to donate 50 percent of all profits from the book to conservation efforts in the North Fork area.
“We can’t keep taking up all the spaces where the animals live. We’ve got to set aside more land that can’t be developed,” she said. “I guess you can’t stop progress, some there are some areas that need to be preserved they way they are.” Published by BookBaby, “The Montana We Knew” is available at the Bad Rock Book Store in Columbia Falls, at Parrish and Grove in Spokane and on Amazon.com.