Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mtn. Biking Montana, 2005

This is the 3rd part of the Montana 2005 trilogy. The first 2 have been posted, kayaking Alberton Gorge and motorcycling Glacier and the Canadian Rockies with Lynn.
Don't ask why it's taken this long to update it.
4 years ago was just getting into mtn. biking. Still lived in Plover, WI and had the old Virago 1982 mtr. cycle. Had for 25 years. She was quite a bike.

Headed out in the summer on this trip. Plan was to get out to Missoula after a week or so, pickup Lynn at the airport, part the Heep at Whitefish, take the cycle through the Rockies and up to Jasper and back. Talked Lynn into try camping, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Took Lynn to Calgary and I went back to Whitefish, loaded up and headed home, after some more kayaking and mtn. biking.

Leaving Plover in the pic. Left at 6AM and drive through into MT. Slept for a few hrs. and headed out to get to Great Falls. Got the Gary Fisher CAKE on.
Kind of reminded me of home in northern WI. Signs......... a universal target it seems.

Got on the net once I got to Great Falls to locate at local bike shop. They admitted to mtn biking.
The guys from the shop directed me to the trail on the south side of the Missouri River. Rode for a couple hours, kind of an out and back.

Visited a Lewis and Clark exhibit near town. There was a lot of that going on as it was the 200 yr. anniversary of the Great Expedition. One story here was that when they got here there were grizzlies everywhere below the Falls. Seems the buffalo would come down to the water to drink and the ones in back would push the ones in front in the water. They'd be washed over The Great Falls, of which there are 5 of them, and drown. Easy pickins for the Griz. Of course, Lewis, Clark and the boys weren't all that excited to have to portage here with all the bears out and about. I'd really recommond this book for anyone interested.
Went to the bike shop after my solo ride and talked to the guys and two drug me out for a ride as they were just getting off work.
The guys were leading me on some secret trails when the rains came. Just a huge down pour for 10-15 minutes that saturated the trails. We shook hands said out "good lucks" and I headed west, toward Missoula after they told me of a good trail on the north side of the river. Something to hit on my way back.
This is a replica of the dogout canoes L&C made at the base of the 5 Great Falls. I never figured out why they didn't portage to the head of the Falls and build them there so they wouldn't have to drag them the 25-20 odd miles. Guess ya had to be there?So, later in the afternoon I stopped at this bar. A small town about 20 miles out of Great Falls. Got to having a great time with a few locals and talked the bar owner into letting me pitch my tent in his backyard for the night. This was taken the next morning, getting ready to head out...Along the way to Missoula. This is one of my favorite pics. The old Heep had over 300,000 miles on her at this point. Coming back after my trip, I stopped to buy gas in eastern MT at a gas station, diner, local coffee shop out in the middle of nowhere. When I walked in to pay, there wer 3-4 good old boys slurping in their coffee. One said "you win" I said "'scuse me?" He said "you win....the guy with the most toys wins, you win" I had to laugh. I then proceeded to tell him out of everything sitting out there, the mtn. bike was worth the most. The Heep had over 300k on it, the motorcycle was 25 years old and had 85k on it and the kayak I had paid $700 for. He just chuckled and shook his head.....

Had a super time in Missoula. Went up Rattlesnake Mountain which is really on the north edge of town. Got up to the top and just kept on going. I ended up going down 3-4 miles dumping out onto a road. Ended up having to ride back around the mtn. through town 10 miles or so, to get back to my Jeep. Was a great day. My real first MOUNTAIN bike ride.
The next day went south of town to The Blue Hills, if I remember the name correctly. Not as high as Rattlesnake, but still a great time. Riding the clear, low humidity of the mtns was a real change from the midwest.
So, picked up Lynn and headed off to Plains, where a shirt tail cousin of my had left WI a couple years earlier and was making his dream come true becoming a hunting guide. We stayed overnight and found this trial. Was 2-3 hrs. gone on it. I just couldn't stop going. It was such a sweet ride. I went way too far and by the time I got back to the motel Lynn was getting ready to call out a search party.

Old trappers cabin. On to Glacier.
So, I'm picking up after the 9 days Lynn and I spent on the motorcycle and after I got back to Whitefish to pickup the Jeep.
I did ride up Big Mtn. I got there just as the lift was shutting down. What the hell was a lift doing running the middle of summer? Figured folks wanted to get a lift to the top to see the view. Didn't have a clue what DownHill mtn. biking was...still don't, really.
Anywho, I got into mtn. biking to get some exercise, so I decided that that lift thing was for sissys. An hr. or so later and 4-5 miles going up hill the whole time got me to the top. Another guy and I get there about the same time. So, I decide to go down by a more direct route....didn't even take my camera along, dang, sure wish I would have. What the heck were all these unbelievable structures and stunts doing out here? Do they actually ride bike on these ramps, elevated supered log turns, jumps, features and you name it... My first exposure to North Shore riding. Unreal. I walked it all.

This is leaving Glacier heading to WI.
Got back to Big Falls and headed north 10 miles or so to trail head. Got there about dark, 8PM and no camping allowed. Hung out in my Jeep till 11 or so and pitched my tend in the dirt parking lot. Got up early and started out. Rode a few miles and came a fence with a sign that asked folks to leave their bikes and walk so as to not mess up the nice crushed rock walk way. 8:30 AM 10 miles from town and wanting to ride bike, what would you do? I set the bike down and started walking.
History has that Sacajawea got real sick here and almost died returning from the West Coast. L&C decided to bleed her to "get the bad blood out" but it was not helping. They were getting desperate, so they thought, what the heck, give her some of this foul smelling sulfur (mineral) water. She started to get better. Seems she may have weak and dehydrated and just giving her water probably saved her life.
Anyway, was walking around the part and I heard this rattle. Never ever heard a rattlesnake before but there is no mistaking it. Was taking it's picture when a couple Park Rangers drove in about 100 yards away from me....guess I'm glad I did walk, after all. The snake could have been a near miss on the bike but the Rangers probably wouldn't have been.
He was a big boy, about 12 rattles and the 1st one the Ranger had seen in 7 years working the area. He did not want to get off the nice sun warmed pathway.

The last damn/Falls taken at the end of the out and back trail. Well worth the ride.Passing over the Contenential Divide heading home.
The same as coming out the Maah-Daah-Hey Trail was too wet to ride. Would have to wait till the summer of June, 2008 trip to ride some of it (already blogged)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mtn. Biking Moab, UT 2005

After going out to MT earlier in the summer, I had a work conference to attend in Las Vegas in September. Decided to drive there from WI and try to get in some biking along the way.

Found a couple places to ride across NE and CO. It was fun to find the trails and also ride them, but my main goal was Moab. Classic trial is Slickrock. Contrary to name, the rock is not slick. If one has the power, climbing is unreal. The back tire has so much traction it's ridicules. I guess the name came from the horses slipping on the wet rock when the settlers traveled across this area.

Met a couple guys that rode the loop with me. This shot zoom out....
This shot zoom in.
Stay on the white dashed line.

This was taken on my way back from Vegas. Amassaback trail. An out and back.Enlarge and look for the car across the canyon. It's on the road where the trail started.
Sharing the trail.

Took a quick tour through Arches Park
Leaving Utah.