More Helena

I have been camping up on divide outside the XG @ a CDT TH. All by myself. Not as cold this morning.

Today I input the last of the $ info into IRS form. Tedious would have liked to have had a number pad.

Drove back into town and parked on Last Gulch road. Trails take off right from historical downtown.  Up Grizzly to Wakina, stairway to heaven, Grizzly rd to double track up mini ridge then back down the actual ST, down Grizzly, back up Wakina to climb back up ridge then down a new piece traversing descending w/ exposure, to a new being built corkscrewing gully ride, finally down grizzly to van. 2900′ in 16 miles. Sure like my bike making downhills sweet.

Back @ van. 2 riders stopped to visit..

I drove back thru edge of town and west to Broadmore health club for a shower. A hot spring is plumbed into pools. I soaked.

I drove back into town to Blackfoot tap room for good beer.

I drove back to pass. Brief sprinkles fell, hardly a tease. Class 1 fire restrictions: fires only in dev eloped campgrounds in fire pits.

I will ride here again tomorrow. OK place to hang and out of smoke. farmers’ market tomorrow.

Helena to Muskrat creek and back

Monday I split from Helena to drive to Boulder and Muskrat creek ride. Which I did. I found the gravel roads back and up to the TH. Stuttered bump that just shook the van contents. I found a suitable campsite just above the creek amidst the old splatter piles of cow manure. F…… cows and beef consumption. Tues I decided to take a rest day and stuck my nose into the book “The girl who played w/ Fire”. Sunny day w/ smoke from forest fires hanging in the air. The wind picked up during the afternoon. I was parked w/in falling distance to several large beetle killed P pine. The weather forecast called for gusts to 40 mph. Which would come first: winds topple the trees on me or I move to a safer spot. I chose the later and moved to a spot that was partially shaded by live doug firs.

Early evening a man walking 2 dogs came by. We struck up a conversation. He lives right @ the FS boundary and has hiked and snowshoed the local mountains of which we are in the Elkhorn mtns. He told stories of wolf and grizzly bear sightings. He carried a can of bear spray on his belt. If a local carries it sent a message to me. I searched my van till I found my canister of bear spray. I read that there is an expiration date for effectiveness. I read the container over and over and found no date. Is my spray current or not? I’m here, this is what I’ve got.

Tues night @ 11:00 the temp was still 75 degrees.

Wed AM I geared up for my Muskrat Creek ride. Per the USGS map the trail goes right up the creek bed @ a constant grade. The ride was to be 5 miles gaining 3,000′.  The trail was cowed out low down in the P-pine forest. The cows lost interest as the tree cover turned into dog hair thickets of lodge pole pine. There was so much dead and down, a veritable fuel keg.  The trail was rerouted away from the creek that lessened the grade, places there were excellent switchbacks. I rode what I could make my body spin up and walked the rest, sometimes collapsing over the bars to catch my breath. I climbed to 7900′ and stopped @ a trail intersection. The trail went thru several aspen thickets along streams that obscured my sounds so I hooted to announce my presence. The wind was blowing uphill broadcasting my scent that would also blow the pepper spray ahead of me should that be where a bear came from.

Corridor thru doghair lodge pole pines, dead and alive needing a thinning fire.

I turned around and headed back down against the wind letting gravity pull me forward at speeds well greater than I climbed. Speed, stealth from quiet bike, and against the wind spelled greater potential for surprising a bear. My eyes remained focused on where I was going to go which was down the trail and not sweeping the periphery for bears. I used my seat dropper down. What a downhill: never very steep, rough tread unaffected by dirt bikes or horses. Floating. Just grand. An old hiking trail, not a purpose built trail. I made my way back to my van w/ no incidents. Sweet. Just a grunt of 12.53 miles in 2 hrs 13 mins for 2858′ vert descent. Chip and Eric, I turned on the berm rock turn Eric mentioned.

So much forest fire smoke in the air. I checked the wildfire web site and saw all these fires burning between here and Spokane and are upwind. I decided to return to Helena to move away from the smoke albeit I am not out of the smoke. The sky has a pallor that makes the sun red and the full moon @ night also reddish.

back up into where I was
sunrise from MacDonald pass on the Continental divide

Back in Helena I drove back up to continental divide for camp; it is 2,000′ above Helena and a bit cooler and quieter.

Today i drove back down to town. Today is weekly wash day. I washed my hydration pack that is now soft an pliable, I am prolly out of the sweating heat and humidity.

Smokey here. I started filling out the schedule D of income tax which will take a few hours to fill out. In the afternoon I have been stopping @ Blackfoot brewery tasting room to quaff a thirst for micro brew. Place is crowded.

I need to figure out where to ride where I am out of heavy smoke, perhaps Kalispell.

Muskrat bound

I spent another night back up @ same XG which is on the continental divide. Sleeping @ 6300′

I drove back down to Helena for another ride, the one Eric laid out. I missed the left hand road of his route so I just rode up to Helena ridge trail and down Show me the Horse. These South Helena trails are so great as creative loops can be put together right from historic downtown. Another 60 min climb w/ a 20 min descent. All by myself. Another good ride.

I hung the solar shower outside that was solar heated for an outside shower.I was parked X the street from a MT State office building on city street. I chose the dirt road and Davis Gulch TH from yesterday. Yesterday after my shower there I hung my tub mat over the fence and drove away w/o it. Today b4 my ride I returned to the TH and it was still there. Bath mats have no demand.

Hot and smokey.

Grocery shopped and heading south to Muskrat creek outside Boulder. No internet access. Quick note then my dash.

Spokane knee appointment on Mon 9/10.