We had the best day so far on our trip east. Okay, we just crossed into Montana and entered MDT, in other words, we “sprang forward.” My least favorite thing to do. We departed August 4 and today is August 12, 10 whole days into a 10 month trip. By the way, we are parked at the best non-affiliated park we’ve ever stayed. We would love to come back next year and stay much, much longer! I’ll be posting a Google Review on The Nugget, St. Regis Montana. It’s so beautiful here in the mountains…about 30 miles from the Idaho border and Lookout Pass.
We found this biking activity before leaving and made a reservation. Little did we know how much fun we would experience bike riding the Hiawatha Trail! We rode through the 1.66 mile long St. Paul Pass Tunnel (Taft Tunnel). It is about 37F in the tunnel year round. Yep, cold, and it’s the first encounter on the trail. We were so cold when we finished I was sure an earache was in my future. It took about a half hour before my hands warmed up too.
We were concerned because the ride continues for about 15 miles and then we needed to catch a shuttle back up. We knew we would get dropped off so we could ride the tunnel again, yep, that 37F tunnel. However, we were much smarter on the return trip. When we headed out we were following, oh so politely, a couple riding slowly. Instead of passing and allowing our bodies to get warm riding, we followed them all the way through the tunnel. On the way back, Mike had slowed his pace because of the dark. I gave a holler that I could go faster and we really picked up the pace. We probably cut our ride through the tunnel by at least half. We were substantially warmer and felt lots better on the return.
We rode through 10 train tunnels over seven sky high trestles. The views were fabulous! The day was absolutely gorgeous. We couldn’t have asked for a better day to ride. Next time we would like to try to ride it down and back…yes, that would be about 15 miles back uphill. The grade is about 1.7 so it shouldn’t be a really big deal as long as we are in shape next fall.
If you want to come, plan for a summer trip. The bike trail operates June to mid-September. They keep their web site up to date so you can get accurate updates. We recommend you rent their bikes as they get covered in mud going through the tunnels. Also, be sure to wear your bike shorts. It’s a long time in the saddle, about 2.5 hours so denim is not what you want to wear. A little pre-planning can save you a lot of pain later.
The biggest problem we are experiencing this evening as we relax and recover is back pain. Again, it’s a long time on the bike and there is quite a bit of vibration even though we rented the comfort bikes with shocks. The better physical shape you are in the less pain you will experience after…true for any physically demanding fun! As always, we’ve got a bottle of DoTerra Deep Blue and some Deep Blue rub. And, yes, I’ve got it on my back as I write.
Sorry, this one is off topic!