2,261 miles: A Life Update For March 2024

By: Ashley Vitiello | Last Updated on March 8, 2024

2,261.0 miles. That’s the EXACT distance we drove from our apartment in Asheville, North Carolina, to our new apartment in Missoula, Montana.

Five days. Four hotels. About $800 in gas. Two vehicles. One 12×8 U-Haul trailer. Lots of snacks.

And a sense of adventure.  

That’s what it takes to move across the country.

And now we’re here in our new home town. Feeling more at home than we’ve felt in YEARS.

Our first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains as we drove west into North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

This move has taken over the last couple of months of our lives. Which is why we haven’t been as active in the beginning of 2024.

But we’re back. And better than ever.

Why did you leave North Carolina?

We moved to North Carolina from Colorado in search of a mild winter in a place that still had ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. We were ready for less snow after living over 10,000 feet for four years in Breckenridge, Colorado.

But after 1.5 years in North Carolina, we realized that the East simply can’t compete with the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains out West.

Don’t get me wrong. We think Asheville is an awesome place to live. The Appalachian Mountains (and the Blue Ridge Mountains especially) are BEAUTIFUL.

We hiked, fished, swam, and explored that area as much as possible in that time.

But now we are ready for something different. And we have a different mindset to go with it.

Derek and me hiking in North Carolina – we highly recommend this trail Black Balsalm Knob to Tennent Mountain.

What is this new mindset you speak of?

A cold, snowy winter is what makes the summer so incredible. In a way, the “darkness” is what brings out the light of summer.

We need snow and cold to make the rivers cold enough to support native populations of trout for Derek’s fishing.

We need cold and snow to fuel a summer that’s cool enough for me to hike as many days as possible.

Asheville summers are hot and HUMID as heck. (I’m talking about 99% humidity every morning). 

But the summers in the Rocky Mountains are dry and pleasant. And the winter is what makes this possible.

So even though the winters in the Rockies can be difficult, we know that the reward of summer is well worth it.

This mindset is what helps us get through those short winter days. Because we know the wait will be well worth it. 

A beautiful view on my most recent winter hike in the Bitterroot Mountains near Missoula.

Why did you choose Missoula?

We explored a lot of options in the Rocky Mountain range. From southern Colorado (like Pagosa Springs) all the way up into Montana. Colorado Springs, Denver, Grand Junction, and the list goes on.

But they all had a major downfall in some way.

Then last year, one of our best friends said that Missoula was his favorite place and he wants to live and die there (Shout out to Andrew – go follow him on Instagram if you enjoy fly fishing and/or cool people).

And that got the wheel turning. So we started researching.

Here are the top reasons why chose Missoula over anywhere else:

  • Missoula is known for having unlimited outdoor recreation opportunities right at the door step. We can walk outside our door and go on a hike, we can drive 15 minutes, or there’s even more awesome things to do if you’re willing to drive an hour or two.
  • Montana in general has superior regulations when it comes to fishing. Derek really likes their access laws, conservation, and the fact that they haven’t had to stock trout since the 1980’s. Plus, the Missoula area and western Montana has a TON of water for fishing. 
  • We love to road trip and Missoula is centrally located for some seriously awesome trips. The West Entrance to Glacier National Park is 2.5 hours away, West Yellowstone is 4.25 hours away, Grand Teton National Park is about 6 hours away, North Cascades National Park is less than 8 hours, and the Canadian Rockies Parks (Banff, Yoho, and Jasper) are all about 8 hours away. 
  • The University of Montana is located in Missoula. We don’t need to go to school, but having a university in town means more social events, concerts, and fun bars. It also means a more diverse population from people all over the country. Which in turn means locals are more accepting of “outsiders” than some other towns in Montana.
  • In the winter, Missoula experiences an inversion. This means there’s low hanging clouds over the valley that keep the temperature warmer. This also means there’s less sunshine in the winter. But in exchange the temperatures are more mild than other parts of Montana and the Rockies.
  • Missoula only averages around 40 inches of snow per winter. The surrounding mountains get a lot more than that. But we don’t have to shovel our way out of the driveway like we used to do in Breckenridge. We were curious what it would be like to live in an area with less snow, but to still have access to lots of snow nearby.
  • Speaking of snow, the mountains nearby can get A LOT. There’s a local ski resort (Snowbowl) or if you really want some real powder you can drive to Lookout Pass. This means we can still snowboard if we want to.
  • Missoula is only 3,200 feet in elevation. Even the tallest mountains near Missoula are well below 10,000 feet, which is 600 feet lower than we used to live in Colorado. Living at altitude is hard so we are excited to be closer to sea level.

A beautiful view on a winter hike near Missoula.

What are your plans for this year?


Like more hiking and fishing than we’ve ever done in our lives.

And we thought we were pretty spoiled in Colorado. 

But Montana is shaping up to be the best move we’ve ever made.

So what can you expect from Know Nothing Nomads in 2024?

We’re ridiculously excited to bring you new content about a wide variety of topics. Including, but not limited to, hiking in Missoula and Montana, stories from our adventures, and more guides on everything we learn along the way.

Is Know Nothing Nomads going to be different now that you live in Montana?

Not really.

We are the same people we were in North Carolina and Colorado. Besides the fact that we live in a state with more outdoor recreation than we’ve ever dreamed of experiencing. But these new adventures mean lots of fresh content for our readers. And we couldn’t be more excited!

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Why Trust Know Nothing Nomads?

Since 2017, Know Nothing Nomads has cemented itself as the “approachable experts” in everything camping, hiking, climbing, and adventuring in the Great Outdoors.

With over 60 years of experience in the outdoors, we don’t just talk about outdoor gear or recommend a good hiking trail.

We USE the gear we talk about. We’ve hiked 1000’s of miles. We have camped 1000’s of nights in the wilderness. We have sent hundreds of boulders and projects.

We don’t just know a few things about the outdoors — WE EAT, SLEEP, AND BREATHE IT.

We are not journalists from a magazine telling someone else’s stories from behind a computer. We are the ACTUAL outdoorsmen that those people write about. 

We are not a “gear lab” that runs tests on gear in life-like conditions. We are the seasoned, “trial-by-fire” experts who have taken the gear into the wilderness and USED IT. Read about our gear testing process here

We started Know Nothing Nomads to share our passion and expertise with our readers to inspire, educate, and enable you to explore the outdoors in the way that we have. And you will be more equipped and capable than ever before with the knowledge you gain here guiding you along the way.

And the best part? We are real people that LOVE our readers and this community. If you need anything or have a question about any of the things we have to write about, just reach out. Normally, one of us can respond within 24 hours, sometimes within minutes. THAT is the approachable expert.

You should also know that advertising does not influence our gear reviews in any way, shape, or form, and it never will.

While we always focus our attention on gear that stands out to us—sometimes we discover that things aren’t up to our standards. This is exactly why we will always talk about the downfalls and compromises that we find while we are testing anything (If we find any).

About The Author

Ashley is an adventurous soul who loves all things nature, especially warm sunshine, wildflowers, scenic snacking, and mushrooms. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has spent years enjoying time outside doing things like hiking, camping, and rock climbing.
Her goal with Know Nothing Nomads is to make these hobbies easily accessible through knowledgeable content and how-to's based on all the stuff she's learned on her journey. If she isn't writing an article, she's probably in a forest looking at big mountain views and tiny pieces of moss on the side of the trail.

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Hey there!

We are Derek and Ashley of Know Nothing Nomads. Whether it is hiking, camping, or just generally being outside, we love it. We are so happy that you have found our little blog and hope that you stick around a while. Feel free to contact us with any questions or get in touch with us on social media!


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