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John and Claire Reynolds love hiking, especially in nearby Glacier National Park.

“We made plans for Glacier Park and I met him for the first time when he picked me up at some crazy hour like four or five a.m.  

He had a French press of coffee in the car and we drove to the trailhead. We spent the day climbing to the top of Mount James and back again. 

From then on, we pretty much climbed mountains together every weekend.”

             Claire Reynolds, NP 

There are several young couples in Cut Bank who believe there is no better place to live, work and raise a family. We are profiling three of those couples this month. 

Here is the second profile in this uplifting, positive series about why young people are choosing to move home. Enjoy!

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John and Claire Reynolds can still say they are newlyweds, married in March of 2017. Neither expected to find love in the little town of Cut Bank, but both could not be happier that is exactly what happened to them.

John has lived in Cut Bank for a time, moved away, lived in a few big cities and yet “none of them hold appeal for me like Cut Bank. My favorite spot on Earth is right across the way in Glacier National Park.”

John is student teaching first grade at H.C. Davis Elementary School now and is coaching track and field for the high school. In the fall, he will have his own classroom at Anna Jeffries Elementary School where he will teach fourth grade.

“I moved to Cut Bank originally for the job, an opportunity to live in a small town and to be close to Glacier National Park,” stated Claire. “I feel a sense of calling to serve the community here and feel there is so much opportunity to do what I love to do in a place that needs it more than a lot of other towns.”

Claire is a Family Nurse Practitioner at Glacier Community Health Center.

Neither was planning on love, but for these two, it just happened. 

Was it love at first sight for this newly married couple?

“It was,” John said simply.

“I wouldn’t say we were in love that first date. I liked him, but I wasn’t expecting a relationship,” Claire admitted. “I just wanted to get out and hike. After we climbed together so much, we started doing things together during the week like running and eventually making dinner together and playing Scrabble. It just developed over time. It really didn’t take long for me to really like him. I bet we were really a couple about four months after the first hike, but spent significant amounts of time together from the get-go.”

It was the hike, or the prospect of one that started this relationship.

In May of 2015, John was substitute teaching and a fellow teacher, Lisa Cline, asked if it would okay if she shared his telephone number with a friend of hers.

“This does not happen, at least not to me and it therefore made an impression,” John said. “Lisa’s friend (Claire) liked to hike, but was hiking solo and that is a definite ‘no-no’ in the park. This was ostensibly the reason, I believe, Lisa knew the lady and I would fall in love.”

“Lisa gave me John’s phone number because I had been hiking alone, which was unwise. I texted John and told him I liked to hike and was told he did too. If he wanted company on a hike, he had my number and could reach out. He responded with ‘Do you have crampons?’ That still cracks us up.”

For the non-hiking enthusiast or for the ones who just wear hiking boots and call it good, crampons are a traction device attached to shoes allowing the hiker to move about better on ice and snow.

Claire continued, “Little did I know that John doesn’t hike, he climbs mountains, an activity in which I had only dabbled. We made plans for Glacier Park and I met him for the first time when he picked me up at some crazy hour like four or five a.m. He had a French press of coffee in the car and we drove to the trailhead. We spent the day climbing to the top of Mount James and back again. From then on, we pretty much climbed mountains together every weekend. That is still what we love doing year-round, unless the temps are sub zero.”

The hike that became a mountain climb or multiple mountain climbs, a few months later, became a marriage proposal atop a mountain.

“John proposed on Great Northern Mountain in October of 2016. He had been carrying a ring around for a few months, but each time we would go out it was either too windy or something. He wanted the right day and he got it in October. It was beautiful and we were hiking above the clouds all day.”

So now they are married, loving life. Why stay in Cut Bank, when the world is before them and they could go live and work anywhere they wanted?

“I like the summers in Cut Bank,” John declared. “I love that we can get an alpine start to climb a mountain and be back in time to see good friends at the brewery. I like the new businesses coming to town and the pop-up market that’s held every so often is inspiring.”

Claire admitted there is a lot for her to love about Cut Bank. 

“I loved Cut Bank pretty much right away. I found good friends and really enjoyed the people, I still do. They are amazing. They are the reason I bought a house a year after coming to Cut Bank and chose to stay.”

She continued, “The people are the best part, for sure. I love small town life. I love that a lot of the time I spend with friends is in homes, which just feels more intimate. I love running into friends wherever I go. I love having John’s mom in town and getting to spend time with her. I love the brewery. I love the walking trail. I love short lines and no traffic. I love how much sunshine we get here. And I love having a great church community at Canvas. I also love my job. It isn’t always fun, but it is so rewarding and I just believe in what I am doing there.”

Their lives are busy. Their world is full. Their love is true and they’re happy their home is Cut Bank.

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