big sky country
so i'm in montana, taking a vacation from my life! i'd promised my friend heather i'd come visit her in missoula, montana, and i hadn't been in big sky country since july 2007. this trip had been in vague planning for months, since there were a few people who wanted to see heather and a few others who wanted to see montana, but in the end, it was just myself and aaron, whom i didn't know very well, but was assured was a nice fellow. he made a great travelling companion, just as easy to get along with as me! (says me =)).
this entry is feeling pretty uninspired, so let me get onto the good parts so i can at least post it, have written something that i can share with you guys, howbout?
1) train trip into glacier was mostly dark. but the parts that weren't were rather pretty: the gorge out further east than i'd seen it before (only travelled thru it past the dalles in my moving truck, at night, 4 years ago on my way to town). glacier, which was entirely after dawn. and some of eastern montana. we slept a little. cuddled some (i heart cuddles! boy cuddles, rare and elusive, were great and probably disconcerting to the bible group we shared the train with). ate our food, drank our drink. got to know eachother.
2) we arrived in east glacier, deboarded, assembled bikes and bags, ate disappointing huckleberry cobbler, shopped at overpriced tiny grocery where 2 days food cost the same as 1 blah meal including aforementioned cobbler, and then biked. we biked to st mary's. and i recognized it! the same route that alex, shawn, eric, and i did alone during the texas 4000 back in '07. it was neat to revisit! only this time i made it up the hill without much trouble (at a slower pace, loaded with camping gear). and i didn't bomb down so entirely out of control, fearless and immortal, as i had in '07. but that was fine, good even, probably. the first day in this blog-batch is essentially the ride we did.
3) we camped with a bunch of other hiker/biker types at st mary's. and that was good. huckleberry milkshake was better. sleep was epically long--probably 12 hours.
4) we rode over going-to-the-sun road. it was tall, it took us awhile, and we had a blast doing it. we had beer at the top, because goldang it, i had carried it all the way up there, and nobody told us not to. revisited a hike from that same '07 trip up top; there was way less snow--we were a month and a half later in the season!
5) we camped in the yard of aaron's friend sarah in west glacier and met her many housemates, their many guests, and had a great evening. even though sarah was not, in fact, home.
6) we hiked 13 miles on the highline trail, with a rather ridiculous elevation profile, for our "rest day". we saw glaciers! which are on a limited engagement, scheduled to disappear by 2020 entirely from the park. so seeing 3 was excellent. even that one we had to slog several hundred feet straight up to soak in. but there were backrubs, to go with the glacier. so that was ok. we came home to finally find sarah arrived, and she smelled worse than us (probably--i didn't inhale, honest!) since she was 10 days out on a hike and just returned. instead of showering, we went skinny dipping in lake mcdonald under the milky way, saw meteors, talked about life change, and made merry. we slept well.
7) i set off early, due west and south, to get to missoula the next day. my legs were exhausted from hard-ride followed by hard-hike. i still made it about 75 miles before calling in reinforcements--heather came and picked me up, closer to her than to me, but not by much. no way was i pulling a 140mi day on those legs. and there was much rejoicing as she pulled up and we caught up and drove south through a very pretty reservation, and some towns we'd seen in '07 (hi, arlee! you gave us free ice but no free water, as i recall.)
8) missoula has been great. slept in a lot. read a lot. biked a fair bit. spent most of a day at the adventure cycling association for heather's last day of work, and chatted with a bunch of touring cyclists and employees. drank beer. saw the clips of faith thing from new belgium that i somehow missed in portland but which followed me all the way to montana. drank great beer (no, fat tire isn't great. but i had 8 other tasty ones, most of which i'd never even heard of--new belgium brews a lot that they don't otherwise distribute..)
9) ate more great food, drank great beer, rode great bikes, talked life change, in general enjoyed visiting with heather. yeah. this is vacation!
10) tomorrow is further tour du missoula, including more drinking, eating, shopping, laughing, and carrying on, before i have to head north to whitefish to catch a train on monday night.
...and return to my life, which is getting more normal by the day--two interviews in the next week. might be working in as few as 2 weeks. might have to cut back on all that volunteerism. might not get to go on many more trips until the xmas migration back to texas. c'est la vie. it's been good, real good, and i believe i've done it right.
thanks for reading. dunno if i'll post much more, here. i don't...feel it, anymore, somehow. send me a thoughtful emailed question, and you'll probably do better for getting something juicy out of me, these days. my letters will be more interesting than my memoirs =)