Beautiful Montana!

Hello from Hamilton, Montana!  Internet access has been sparse recently.  We’ve biked through so many places and experienced many bike rides with wild adventures, it’s hard to choose what to write about.

One of our most significant days was biking from Dayton, WY to Greybull, WY.  We crossed Big Horn National Forest, which was a mountain reaching about 8,500 feet.  It was significant as it was possibly the longest climb of the summer (I may be speaking too soon…), the longest descent of the summer (18 miles!), and had some of the most beautiful sights we’ve seen all summer.  We spent all morning climbing found snow close to the road at the top.  Descending was long, and included a lift in a pick-up truck for 2 miles because of road construction, which was scarier than biking downhill since 7 of us with our bikes crowded onto the bed of the truck.  It’s hard to describe what we saw that day.  With every curve along the mountain side, the scenery seemed to change.  There were waterfalls, huge red rock cliffs, forest, a creek, and more.  I stopped plenty of times on the way to take pictures so ask me about them later if you’d like.

A couple days later, we got to Yellowstone!  We spent a rest day there which allowed us to relax and see some of the park.  I hiked around for most of the day.  On our ride out of the park, we stopped at Old Faithful and at many hot springs, geysers and pools, all of which were fascinating.  Unfortunately I had a lot of trouble sleeping while camping as I am a light sleeper, so that was the one negative part about Yellowstone.  We also experienced cold cold nights and mornings, which we still experience here in Montana, requiring me to wear about half the clothes I have with me during the morning ride.  A couple days later, I bought gloves at a thrift store for 50 cents which have been a huge help.  Now my fingers don’t lose feeling while biking!

Biking through Yellowstone also meant dealing with a lot of traffic, tons of RVs passing close to us, and getting through a huge traffic jam caused by bison on the road.  The next day we biked to Ennis, Montana and the morning was the opposite traffic-wise.  There were very few cars and the ride was one of the best.  We rode through valleys between mountains with lakes, including one caused by an earthquake years ago, and rivers.  There was not a single cloud in the sky and it was very peaceful and relaxing.  I felt like I could have ridden on that road all day.  During rides like that, I realize how glad I am to be doing a road trip on a bicycle rather than any other type of vehicle.  It’s wonderful to be outdoors all the time so close to the surroundings, going slow enough to get a good look at everything, feel every temperature change, smell everything and breathe fresh air.  It got slightly more busy later in the day but the scenery was still amazing.  Every ride in Montana since then has been just about as beautiful.  We’ve had some climbs and descents, none of which have been horribly difficult.  I enjoy the mountains out here much more than in the East.  The grades are noticeably shallower and there is far less traffic.  It is still a challenge going up, but a good one, and I don’t get as afraid going down as I did at the beginning of the summer since it’s shallower. 

I don’t have much time left but I hope that gave you an idea of a couple of highpoints from the past few weeks.  Tomorrow we’ll ride to Missoula where we’ll have a rest day the next day!  It’s hard to believe I’m actually in Montana and will soon be in Idaho.  Crazy.

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