On our very first rest day of the trip, in Eureka, MT, Chris and I received an unexpected gift. We were sitting in the laundromat, reading our books as we waited for the wash cycle to complete. The door swung open, and a head of strawberry blonde dreadlocks sitting atop a long-sleeved flannel shirt and torn jeans strolled in. He was carrying a basket full of clothing, and, as he scanned the room, he spotted us.
Week five of our GDMBR adventure started somewhat lazily in Bozeman. We had grand plans of getting back to the route and making tracks early, but we were overly ambitious with our to-do list. That being said, we knew we could cover miles late in the day as the temperature dropped and shade grew, so we joined Jim & Jeanette at church then got some amazing donuts from Granny’s Gourmet Donuts . Back at the house, we took our time eating lunch, packing, and using the computer, then left Bozeman at 3PM. J&J took us back to the top of the hill in Butte, and we said goodbye for our 3rd (and final) time of the trip. The rest of the week took us from Butte through southern Montana, over the corner of Idaho, into Northwest Wyoming. We had a daily mileage to maintain in order to arrive in Wyoming in time for our friend Shannon’s wedding at Grand Targhee Resort. Once we had a few good days of riding under our belts, though, we decided we would continue to push a little further every day in order to have extra rest days in Jackson and the Tetons. We also reached a new high of 7,900′ in this section.
We, Jim and Jeanette, aka Rachel’s parents, spent 6 days riding on the GDMBR with Rachel and Chris; we laughed, we cried, it moved us!
Chrachel has given you a lot of the details, so I will just focus on a few odds and ends from the trail.
We spent 6 days and 6 nights on the trail with them and covered 240 miles, which was way more than any of us expected. A huge key to this was my cousin Sydney Anne, who dropped us off and then picked us up, removing all issues around, “How do you get back to your truck?” She and Jack also fed us delicious meals for the 2 days after, assuring our fast recovery.
Our 4th week on the GDMBR began at Holland Lake and brought us to Butte. As was the case with week 3, we had rest days on both ends of the week. We have been fortunate to take so many rest days in Montana with Rachel’s family. Although our riding began and ended in Holland Lake and Butte respectively, we technically began and ended the week in Lakeside and Bozeman, thanks to Sydney, Jack, Jim, and Jeanette once again for extracting us from the route to their rather posh accommodations.
It has been a very wet year, so lush green grass that is normally brown by this point in the summer has decorated our route. Many beautiful wildflowers coat the forests and meadows: there is the purple of the lupine and the fire weed, the white of the trillium and the columbine, the yellow of the daisies and the buttercups, the pink of the Indian paintbrush, and so many more whose names I do not know.