Backcountry Riding in Montana

Montana is truly “big sky country” and as William Kittredge describes in his book–The Last Best Place–with its millions of acres of wilderness and remote gravel roads. To me, peddling for 8 hours or more each day on these lonely roads is beautiful and energizing to the mental and physical soul. And I have everything I need on the bike–food, drink, lodging. Although the food and drink was in continual low supply.  0629150834

Part of the adventure is not knowing what is around the corner. I had a black bear walking down the road towards me while I was on a very long ascent (blew my whistle like crazy and the bear totally ignored it).  This photo of the long gravel road with horses and the distant view of the Scapegoat Wilderness boundary is quintessential Montana.

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A very old barn made by some very skilled craftsmen–most likely from a Nordic country? There used to be a lot of Scandinavians and Finns who worked in the mines and forest industry in central Montana.

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Found these Flathead cherries at a roadside stand.  These are truly the sweetest I have eaten. I had already ridden 3 hours before breakfast when I ate a whole bagful–plant power!

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What’s in a name? Had a second breakfast at the Stray Bullet in Ovando.  Years ago, I lived in Montana and worked in public health for the State. I like the names of some of the places I’ve spent the night at (or avoided)– The Lewis and Clark Inn (Bozeman), the Tomahawk Motel (Browning), the War Bonnet (somewhere in the middle of Montana), the No Sweat Cafe (Helena)–which is located on Last Chance Gulch and has amazing breakfasts! So it was appropriate to eat at the Stray Bullet!

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This grave marker gave me some time to think about my other job in public health–Some diseases we have eradicated; others continue to emerge.

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Bicycling on the Old Bannack Road, established in 1862–this route is spectacular in its remoteness and unbroken views of open areas.
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Until the next adventure…