9 Days In Montana: Photos & a Brief Writeup
Click on the first image and advance manually as the slideshow function gives you an annoying Ken Burns effect.
490 miles, including one 21 mile out and back ride on the rest day. Overnights in Sula, Jackson, Divide Bridge, Twin Bridges (two nights), Butte, Philipsburg and Hamilton.
Highlights included unpaved Gibbons Pass (6,900'), Big Hole Pass (7.400'), the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway (7,900'), Pipestone Pass (6,500'), Pintler Scenic Byway (6,100'), panning for sapphires at Gem Mountain and Skalkaho Pass (7,300').
Experienced rain, hail and wet snow in the Pioneer Mountains and a cold, hard rain descending Skalkaho, the two most alpine sections, hence the scarcity of photos from those locations. A few other shower while on the road, a severe wind event in twin Bridges that nearly blew two of my panniers into the Beaverhead River and a hail storm in camp in Sula the first evening.
No exotic critters except for one Dahl sheep, several sandhill cranes and herons and two raucous snipes.
Ran into several other cyclists, including nearly a dozen in the Pioneer Mountains Area participating in the great Divide Mountain Bike Race. To give you an idea of how far behind they were, the winner had already crossed the finish line at the U.S.-Mexican border in Antelope Wells, NM. Still, it's more than I could ever accomplish.
Cooked some good meals and one bad one. Had a great 18 0z. rib eye au poivre in Butte. Great huckleberry milkshake in Philipsburg.
With some planning and alternative overnight locations, this can be done as a "credit card" tour. What it can't be done is on skinny tires and/or flimsy wheels without some notable route modifications which would change the nature of the ride.