Thompson Park is an absolute gem! This recreational playground was gifted to the community of Butte in 1915 by a local engineer and philanthropist named William Boyce Thompson. The park stretches across 75 acres South of Butte, along old Highway 2. The historic Milwaukee Railroad serves as a backbone for the park. Thanks to work done by Butte Silver Bow County and Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest to secure grants and donations from multiple generous entities, the park was reborn in 2007. Currently, the park has 25 miles of trails which are frequented by hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, dog walkers, families with strollers, etc. There truly is something for everyone. Certain areas are handicap accessible, while other areas can accommodate large groups for outdoor celebrations or picnics. The public rest areas are well maintained and cleaned regularly.
Thompson Park Map
Thompson park is my family’s favorite place in Butte. We walk our three dogs on the trail system year round, 5-6 days per week. During the summer months, we mountain bike, trail run, or workout in Thompson park. I am like a kid on a jungle gym sometimes. I climb trees and rocks throughout the park, while running in between. I will pick a good spot, turn on some music, and do a full workout consisting of body weight exercises (push ups, lunges, squats), hill sprints, rock jumps (box jumps), plyometrics, etc. My kids will play in the rocks, building a hidden fort, while I run, or walk the dogs. Summers at Thompson park are amazing! In the winter months, I still walk, run, or snowshoe the trails. It is peaceful and serene every time I’m there.
Although I don’t currently participate, there is also a “Folfing” course at Sagebrush Flats. I’m sure there is a real name for the game, but it is basically Frisbee golf. I believe the course is 18 holes and the objective is to throw the disk into the basket at each “hole.” I see young teenagers and adults of all ages playing throughout the day. It looks like a really fun game. Another activity I don’t participate in, but I’ve seen others doing is Geocaching. This is basically a scavenger hunt with a GPS system. There are little treasure boxes hidden throughout Thompson Park, and the participant uses GPS coordinates to find the treasure. I know these treasure boxes exist because my kids have found them while building forts in the rocks.
Thompson park is a great place to get together with people, or to spend some time alone. I like to go out on certain tails, which are generally less traveled when I am in need of some alone time. I will put a podcast on while walking, or simply listen to the sounds of nature. I get recharged when I spend time in the outdoors, so this is a must for me a few times a week. Thompson Park is also where I fell in love with Cory. We spent 4-5 days a week mountain biking the various trails the first year we met. When we adopted our doggies, we spent 4-5 days a week walking them and training them at Thompson Park. This is also a great place to meet new people. I can’t count how many people I have met for the first time, or met again after years of not seeing one another. I have met people from Missoula, Bozeman, Helena, and even a few from out of state as they were passing through on the CDT through hike. I know the names of numerous dogs that I see on a regular basis, too.
In addition to meeting people at Thompson Park, I have also met a few wild critters. I have come across a bear while trail running, numerous deer and elk, a family of owls, a snake, and various rodents and such. Cory saw a mountain lion from a distance (thank goodness), too. I carry bear spray for the most part, ever since running into the bear a few years ago. I recommend you do the same.
In closing, if you ever find yourself looking to “get away” without having to go too far, check out Thompson Park. Pick up a new hobby such as mountain biking, snowshoeing, nordic skiing, folfing, or geocaching. I promise, you won’t regret it, and you can’t find a better place to enjoy these activities than Thompson Park! Enjoy!
Get Serious, Get Pre Approved
You’re excited. I get it. Owning your own home is a big deal, and the thought alone really blows your hair back. Trust me, I want to say, “Grab your jacket and a cup of Joe for the road…We’re going to find the house of your dreams!” but the cold hard truth is that your house buying adventure doesn’t usually begin with the fun stuff. Sad face, right? Instead, your journey usually begins in a lender’s office. It may not be the fun part, but starting at the lender’s office has many advantages that will set the rest of the home buying process up for success.
I can think of 4 advantages to getting pre-approved for a loan before you set off to your first open house, or begin scouring the classified ads for houses.
If you have any issues with your credit, you will find out after the lender runs your credit report. Being aware of credit issues is the first step to fixing them.
You will have a chance to learn about all of the financing options available for your unique financial situation. Time is of the essence once your make an offer on your dream house, so knowing what kind of loan you are going to take out is a huge time saver.
You will know which houses to look at, and which ones to drive past while house hunting, because you will know your absolute price range.
You will be taken more seriously by the seller who currently owns your dream house. Heck, some sellers won’t allow you to view the property if you aren’t pre-approved for a loan. Just like you, they want a smooth and hassle-free real estate experience.
Now that you are sold on the idea of getting pre-approved before house shopping, let’s prepare you for the pre-approval process. Most lenders will ask you to bring the following documentation to assist them in the pre-approval process:
Identity verification and your John Hancock – Once you give your written consent, the lender will ask for an identification card and your social security number, so he can request a credit report. The results of your credit report will hugely impact your lender’s final decision to grant a loan to you. If you have a score above 740, you will generally be awarded a lower interest rate. A score of 620 or higher is generally necessary to qualify for a FHA loan. Finally, if your score is below 580, most lenders will ask for a bigger down payment.
Income and verification documents – Dig into that dusty old file cabinet because you will need several important items to assure the lender you will be able to repay the loan you are requesting. You will likely be asked for W2 forms for the past two years, pay stubs for the past two months, tax returns for the past two years, and proof of any additional income you may receive, such as child support income or bonuses.
Verification of down payment source – Finally, you will likely be asked to provide bank statements for a designated time period, so the lender can see that you are able to make a down payment. If you have assets such as investment accounts, you will be asked to provide proof of those as well. Remember, you cannot take out a loan for your down payment. You can have the money gifted to you from a friend or family member, but they will need to write a letter to the lender stating they gifted the money and do not expect repayment.
As soon as you provide your chosen lender with the necessary documentation to get you pre-approved, they will issue you a letter stating the loan amount you are approved for. This letter is usually good for a ninety day period, so don’t delay. You will want to bring a copy of this letter to your chosen real estate agent (hopefully you will choose me because I’m awesome and you won’t regret it). From here, the fun part of your home buying adventure begins…and I hope you enjoy the ride!
Getting To Know Tracy
Tracy grew up on a ranch in Elk Park, approximately 15 miles North of Butte. During her childhood years, she could be found roaming the mountains with her dogs, sometimes on foot, sometimes riding horseback. Her love for adventure exposed her to many different hobbies and interests. She dabbled in numerous athletic sports, dog sledding, coon hunting (until she learned there were no raccoons in her area), 4-H, training horses, and writing. She had an eye for business from an early age and was described as a natural born entrepreneur and salesperson. At 8 years old, she opened her own security company on her family ranch and worked as a private investigator and security guard for a few years. Zero money was made and supply and demand forced her out of business, so she shifted her focus and entered into the world of sales. Tracy created a sales catalog full of homemade items and products that she marketed to friends and family. She could be found alongside a dirt road selling homemade necklaces, beadwork, painted rocks, crocheted dish rags, dog treats, etc.
Eventually life happened and Tracy was forced to enter the real working world. She earned her B.A. in Psychology, while simultaneously working with the Department of Corrections, promoting up the career ladder every couple of years. She worked as Correctional Officer, case manager, Organizational Development Specialist, and finally a gang investigator. She served as the lead training officer for the Corrections and Detention Officer Basic program at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy. During her career in Corrections, she spoke at 3 national conferences, authored numerous magazine articles, and served on an advisory board for the national level correctional organization, Desert Waters. She shifted away from Corrections in 2013 when she accepted the Training Administrator position for the Legislative Audit Division in Helena, MT. After two years, she ran out of auditor jokes, so she accepted a Human Resources Administrator position with Town Pump, Inc. in Butte, MT. She was responsible for investigating complaints of harassment and discrimination, administering the Family Medical Leave Act program, and overseeing ADA accommodations for disabled workers for all of Town Pump’s hotels, convenient stores, and casinos.
Tracy’s desire for adventure and freedom led her to her decision to enter the world of real estate. Her unique, people-oriented professional background has equipped her with skills necessary to successfully guide her clients along the home buying, or selling experience. Her ability to work with contracts, use various research methods, and negotiate with people on behalf of others makes her an excellent real estate professional. While being professional and providing outstanding customer service to her clients, she is still down to earth, laid back, and human. Working with Tracy is a breeze, and she views her clients as friends, not customers.
When Tracy is not selling real estate, she can still be found wandering the mountains with her dogs, sometimes on foot, sometimes on mountain bike, or snowshoe. She still dabbles in various hobbies which include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, backpacking, mountain biking, writing, snowshoeing, and anything fitness. It is rare to see Tracy without her beloved Beagle, Scout.
Tracy makes her home in Butte, Montana with her significant other, Cory. Together, they are raising three daughters and three dogs. Hannah is in high school pretending to be an adult, Abbie is a discovering life in middle school, while Grace is wandering the playgrounds of elementary school. Their three dogs, Scout, Dempsey, and Selena enjoy long walks in the mountains, and short naps wherever they fall.