The heat follows us south from Butte. It helps to tackle big climbs in the morning, but I become anxious as I feel it closing in as the afternoon progresses.
The trail winds through southwest Montana. People say this is Big Sky Country. I think the Fortymile area near Chicken is Big Sky Country. This is different. I miss the trees. Only sage brush as far as the eye can see.
We detour to the Calf-A in Dell. Someone told us they had good sticky buns. The rumor is true.
And then, like that, the heat relinquishes it’s hold. The air is cooler. We wake up to frost and frozen water bottles.
Southwest Montana gives way to Idaho. The trees return. Quaking aspen and conifers.
It’s Sunday and we’re in Island Park. It turns out Sunday is a bad day to be in town in Idaho. Everything is closed. That’s ok. We roll on.
The trail follows an old railroad grade south. It’s soft and made up of volcanic ash. I deflate my tires a bit, and pedal on. It’s almost like snow biking, says Tyndall.
Roadsides are lined with grain (wheat?) and potato fields. Smokey haze obscures the views.
Our old water filter kicked the bucket after seven years of service. We purchased a new one in Butte. Five days later, and the new one is just as bad as the old. A closer inspection reveals an already very dirty filter. Maybe we should have tried out a Steripen.
Ashton – Flagg Ranch Road leads us from Idaho into Wyoming.
We decide to stretch some different muscles and hike for a day. We go to Union Falls and Scout Pool.
The pool is warm enough for a short soak, and the falls are pretty enough to linger for a bit.