Day 46 - July 22nd
Total: 1877.7 miles
Moving Avg: 10.5 mph
Overall Avg: 7.6 mph
We rose to a warm morning. The clouds rolled in late last night trapping the heat of yesterday. It made for an easier start, as the fingers and toes were not numb. Twelve miles down the road we stopped and chatted with a couple Trans America cyclists (from New Zealand). Our two trails intersected at Bannack State Park.
Ten miles later we grabbed a small breakfast at Grasshopper Inn. The servings were tiny, but the prices were fair, and we only needed a little juice to push us up the 1400 foot climb.
The tree switch was turned on around Polaris, as promised by several southbound cyclists. It was a beautiful climb along a very very quiet scenic highway. The views seen on the south side were bypassed by the views on the north side. The landscape varied immensely in the various wooded regions and pastoral parks we passed through. Thick timber with no sunlight passing through at times. Other times the trees were sparse and we could see deep into the forest.
The descent lasted a little over two hours, but it was the most enjoyable part of Montana so far, and one of the highlights of the trail for me. Boulder filled streams intersected the road between basalt rock slides. To top it off, the trees did not really turn off when we hit the lower elevations. It may appear as though the high desert has been left behind.
Yes, Wise River (our destination) is fairly tree free, but it is deep in an arid valley which we will climb out of tomorrow.
We ended our evening in the Wise River Saloon listening to live music. The man stuck to old timer country music and Johnny Cash. The two have a solid overlap. During the breaks in music, the stage was open to anyone to come up and play. The one singer that stepped up had some comedic stories to back up his songs, which all carried a nice theme and bluegrass feeling.
I would say we stumbled out the back door to our tents behind the saloon, but we stayed sober, limiting ourselves to one drink before tomorrow's fifty mile ride to Butte (which I hear is having a giant Evil Kneivel Festival).
Live life at a slower place.