Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Independence Day.

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**Probably** the last ski day of the year -- and as usual, in Killed Colt Cirque, where the snow is still deep. Skied 76 days this year -- less than last year but about the same as the year before, though 2013-2014 had more days both of cross country and in groups. The first day on skis was Nov. 10, the last was July 4, equating to a nearly eight full months.

Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge:

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You get just a sense of scope of the country driving down the freeway, but the lakes themselves are 30 jarring dirt road miles from there. Typical Montana epic landscape, but a lot of mozzies and two flat tires.

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More day-biking on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, this time in the tail end of Montana and up at the headwaters of the Missouri.

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Rainy Lake with the baby, to give Laura 24 hours of pre-race peace and quiet.

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We only found Rainy Lake because we were looking for the Morrell-Clearwater Road. The campground is not signed, has no water, and only has five spots -- four of which you have to walk into.

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We went back north to the Swan pick up where we left the Great Divide route in June, and in the process struck a compromise: I get to bike on dirt roads, and the baby gets to watch Lightning McQueen for the 157th time. (This probably qualifies as one of those things I said I'd never do.)

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Cedar Creek.

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Thursday, July 3, 2014


Headed south to ski before going north to bike.

The Beaverheads.

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Of course, the ski trip included some biking too, and the bike trip included some snow. (James: "I like my snowboard so much I take it hiking and biking.")

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I took the baby to Ovando.

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Whew -- there's rocks in these creeks too.

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A week later: who knew Butte had such great biking?

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Apparently everyone does now, since it was just highlighted in Bicycle Magazine.

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Kicking it on the Continental Divide Trail, which is not the Great Divide Trail -- except for when it is.

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Butte has completely neglected to advertise the fact that it's home to 4.5 miles of the Old Milwaukee rail road, which is now a trail which features two tunnels and one 110-foot high trestle.

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Pigeon Creek, a random free forest service campground.

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After much teeth gnashing and hair pulling I managed to upload 4G of topo maps to my Garmin eTrex 20 and a .gpx track for the Great Divide bike route. This would have been much easier had I simply opted to pay for the maps; $80 gets you three states on a micro SD card which you flip into the machine. For $12 I got my own card and lot of online sympathy from other handheld GPS users who have tried with indeterminate success to install free public domain maps on their units. After securing some additional bandwidth and detailed instructions, I think we're ready to go.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Biking with bear spray.

Now everyone's got a fancy bike.

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They just don't always ride it.

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Basecamp: Holland Lake.

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Phew! There's rocks and sticks.

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We section biked about 40 miles of the Great Divide mountain bike trail though the Swan Valley. The trail starts in Banff and ends at the Mexican border and generally follows dirt roads and trails; through the Swan it's a mix of single track, double track, dirt roads, and a few miles of pavement.

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The trail was put together by Adventure Cycling, which sells maps and offers support. The maps are inspirational and the directions are not bad, but I found that through the Swan there are so many intersecting trails and roads, some open some closed, that continuously looking at the maps and calculating distances made for slow and often imprecise riding. I think if you're serious about doing the route it's better to download waypoints to a GPS and navigate that way.

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The trail took us on either side of the Swan, down by the river and up to the edge of the mountains. It's another good year for beargrass.

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Since Sunday was Father's Day, I woke up at 5 and went skiing.

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Red Butte -- unsettled conditions and a sloppy inch of new. Not the best skiing, but good enough.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Well, it’s summer (p<.05).

Yeah, it’s summer.

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Well, more than likely, probably.

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Dawn patrol.

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Dusk patrol.

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Porch patrol.

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Dock patrol.

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Offroad in the Pintlars.

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Trainspotting in Glacier.

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A heavy walk in the woods.

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Playing with my old toys.

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The central Missions.

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Skipping rocks at Two Medicine.

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Training for the marathon.

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Celebrating it all with a milkshake.

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