Thursday, October 6, 2016

Kick back and watch those big wheels turn.

We have now completed 483.5 miles of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. We have done roughly three-quarters of the trail between Banff and the Montana/Idaho border, but the 483.5-mile total is somewhat deceptive as I've done much of that amount twice -- since we rarely use a shuttle, most of the trips are out-and-backs.

With snow falling in the mountains now it's not clear how much more I will get tackled this year. Also, unfortunately, since we have done this piece-meal, we have already done most of the good parts. A lot of what is left are pavement portions around Kalispell and Helena and over the Pioneer Mountains, the relentlessly-windy stretch between Lima and Red Rocks National Wildlife Refuge, and the grizzly infested mountains north of the Roosville border crossing.

This summer Cooper and I ticked off a few scenic stretches minus Laura, including a portion south of Swan Lake which included a spectacular camp spot along the Swan River.


Here's a gorgeous stretch we all did -- the northern crossing of the Whitefish Mountains.


In addition to biking, Laura got a fly rod.


I made an attempt on Table Mountain, in the Highland Mountains south of Butte. I was turned back by lightning.


Weatherwise, summer was short. Cooper and I got in some after-work pedaling in Pattee, though.


We also snuck away to hike the Continental Divide near Storm Lake in the Anaconda Pintlars.


And found a "ghost house" on a bright afternoon in the Flint Creeks.


On a chilly July weekend we hiked to Headquarters Pass on the edge of the Bob Marshall.


At the last minute one Thursday we rented the Hunters Creek forest service cabin in the Little Belt Mountains. This wasn't the nicest cabin but it was interesting to explore and bike in this remote range.



In the Cabinet Mountains we introduced Cooper to Inca Cola.


Laura and Cooper ran The Rut on a cold, rainy, and snowy weekend at Big Sky.


Cooper flew a 717.


While Cooper and Laura cast flies into Lake McDonald I biked the Inside North Fork from Lake McDonald north and we all met in Polebridge. The road is hillier than you'd think, and includes a remote stretch which has been closed to motor vehicles but left wide open to wolves, griz, and hapless mountain bikers.


My new jobs allow me to work remotely -- it could be Missoula or Marrakech. Well, maybe Marrakech again some day, but in September Cooper and I met my mom in Connecticut. Here, Cooper practices walking off the back of the Long Island ferry.


House in Westport that my mom was taken home to as a newborn.


There's a picture of me next to this pool when I was his age.


In Owenoke, where the Americans repelled the British.


We went to New York City for the day. It was hard on everyone.


This beautiful campground, like so many others in Montana, is practically uninhabitable for campers using tents because of the proliferation of RVs which use generators.


Some campgrounds offer more cover than others which helps to muffle the sound of generators, but even so, generators are ruining the solitude once found at Montana's forest campgrounds. These set ups can be found in even the most remote camps and it's not uncommon to have generators running around the clock. I have started to advocate that portions of all forest and BLM campgrounds in Montana be set aside for "quiet camping" -- i.e., no generators. There is precedence for this sort of movement -- many states have tent-only campgrounds, and a few years ago the Forest Service moved to make Lake Alva a no-wake boating zone, effectively shoving speed boats into other lakes.

Near Lima.


Chilly camping along the Big Hole. Not much time until ski season starts!