In Between Adventures...

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Before I start out in the morning on the horse pack trip, I thought I wrap up the time in between the Bechler River hike and today.

When I arrived back in Bozeman on Friday, 8/8, I had a reservation at a motel. Feeling oddly out of sorts after the hiking and being fatigued, I asked the motel if I could stay Saturday night also. They had just one room, mine, so I kept the same one. Until supper time I seldom left the room, not really like me, but I just felt like holing up and doing as little as possible. In the evening I walked downtown Bozeman and had dinner. The walk did me good. After calling Mark H in Phoenix, who used to live in West Yellowstone and went to college in Bozeman, I bent his ear about my woes and tried to get back on track. He suggested some places for me to go visit for short hikes and scenery. That led me to Palisades Falls on Sunday afternoon and a large reservoir south of town. Moving the old legs a bit more, again, was good. 

I saw that a campground was along one shore of the reservoir, so I tried to find an open spot. No luck there, so I started back to town and passed another campground by a river. There I found a nice spot and set up my truck as my tent. With the tail gate open I was able to lay out my sleeping pad, bag, pillows and blankets with my feet just at the end of the tailgate. The opening I enclosed with a tarp. In the night I awoke not having a soft enough surface beneath me. I had an inflatable pad that I then inflated and rearranged everything in the middle of the night. But then I was quite comfortable and cozy in the increasingly colder night temperatures.

Arising early in the morning I rearranged things and put everything back to normal. It was very cold. Having skipped dinner, I drove back to Bozeman and had breakfast at the Western Cafe, an excellent dining spot recommended by both Mark and Steve. I love that place! If you are ever in Bozeman, you should stop there for breakfast or lunch (closed for dinner). 

That afternoon, Monday, I followed up on another hike suggestion from Mark. I drove north of town to a mountain with the Montana State U “M” on a mountain side. I started on the trail and decided to take the one labeled “steep”. It Was! Very, very steep! Huffing and puffing I finally arrived at the white painted rocks laid out as an M. It covered a lot of ground up there. Resting a bit I decided to try to hike up even further to the top of the mountain. The trail never ceased being steep and my feet were really, starting to ache. Darn hiking boots, what’s with you? Coming down was one of the slowest descents I have ever done. With my feet aching so much I simply took my time. 

From up high, the views were fantastic and, for that, I felt it was worth the effort.

Once down off the trail and back into my sandals, my feet immediately felt good again. That had me wondering about my shoes, which are only a few years old and with a new insert added before this trip. Could these shoes not be fitting me properly? I decided that one more day in those hiking boots would only cause me more pain, so I resolved to check out the shoe at REI this morning before driving down to West Yellowstone. The salesperson agreed, that the boots I had were not the right ones for my foot shape. After experimenting with several pairs, I settled on a pair that are designed for heavy backpacking plus just general hiking. I wore them all day and feel good in them.

In the meantime, this morning I received a message from the horse pack trip about the meeting place and time, which is just 8 miles north of West Yellowstone. After buying my new boots, I drove the 90 miles to W. Yellowstone and have since called the company’s owner for last minute information. 

Finding a room in West Yellowstone was nearly impossible on my iPhone, as they were either too expensive or no vacancy. I decided to just walk the streets and check out the plethora of motels in town. The first place I stopped was the Madison Motel. And I lucked out. The place was built in 1912, with rooms added in the 20’s and a newer section. They offered me a room in the original section, which I am loving. A small room with wash basin, a twin bed, antique dresser and an arm chair. Bathrooms and showers are down the hall. This is all I need and the walk down the hall is of no bother to me either. And the price was very good too, ie cheap. 

I spent a big part of the afternoon walking around town (it is a small town, built primarily for the tourist trade entering Yellowstone National Park, just out of town). With all the visitors coming to Yellowstone, that is why rooms were scarce. 

Now I think I have all that I need packed for the next 6 days exploring in the mountains and will be ready to meet the others at 9 a.m.

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I’m looking into buying this fixer upper. It will make an ideal summer vacation home here in Montana. Advertised as having good ventilation, (right in and out of the broken windows), central heat (a wood stove in the middle of the room, weathered siding with character, open floor concept (it fell in years ago), mature landscaping, (you don’t say), wide open spaces in a scenic setting (yet that is true).

kdonald940@cox.net © Donald E. Kline 2012                                         Disqus Comments