BRT Day 5, July 11 – Mullen ID to Ride the Hiawatha, Bitter Root Range MT
Tom and I drove to Taft MT which was a town, once upon a time but is no longer. It is an access point to the Hiawatha Rail Trail. Unlike the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, this trail is dirt and is known for it’s tunnels and trestles. We camped close to the east portal and rode the trail in the morning.
The first tunnel is 1.4 miles long and 45 degrees F with dripping water and mini stalagtites. It is quite an experience to ride this tunnel. I highly recommend it.
The overall ride was easy for effort and well worth the 10 dollar ticket fee. Many people of questionable biking skills come to ride this trail. They take the generally downhill option and pay for a shuttle back to the car at the end of the trail. What I love about this is that it gets people out on bikes that wouldn’t otherwise do so. What’s a bit questionable is how much fun a non-cyclist, on a poorly fit rental bike is going to have on 14 miles of trail, even if it’s a gentle grade down hill.
We then spent the night in the perfect campground. A primitive site, next to a creek with a lovely meadow, lots of shade and resident deer. I’m fairly certain it is the best campsite ever. Really.
5 days. 5 rides. My bum finally feels normal in the saddle and I’ve finally arrived on vacation.
BRT Day 6 – Into Missoula to Boardview MT.
Today is catch-up day for email, blogging, groceries…
Nothing big to report here except that we did cross the continental divide. Ended up in Helena MT at a lovely brew pub, Blackfoot River. I highly recommend their Tartanic Scottish Ale. Helena is a lovely little town with pedestrian friendly shopping areas, a feel of history and a fantastic public library.
We saw our first antelope today driving east of Helena. The rock formations and undulating hills are beautiful.
After that, things start to get a little flat. But fortunately we were heading south soon and then crossing some scenic byways in northern Wyoming. We found a great place to pull off next to a waterfowl area about 15 miles north of Billings MT.