Friday, July 22, 2016

The Wild Montana Skies for a Brief Moment- The Hiawatha Trail

Nice group for the Hiawatha Trail this summer.  Freida, Dave, Sheila, Mandi, Tori and Sandy.  We escaped some of the heat in Spokane being in the mountains.  Here we go gearing up, helmets on, lights turned on, Ready Set Go! 

 And so it begins! 15 miles, 10 train tunnels and 7 sky high trestles.
 Right away you go through the longest tunnel.  I looked up some facts about this tunnel.  It is 1.66 miles of total darkness.  The total darkness is my fact. No light for 1.66 miles is dark. The tunnel is named the Taft Tunnel or the St. Paul Pass Tunnel and follows the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains.  You start the ride in Montana and quickly pass into Idaho.  Seriously it is dark.  Every time I go I want better lights.  With a group it helps.  More light.  It is also cold!  I think another time I went the workers said it was in the 40's and the temperature didn't change much.  Always close to the same.

 I took this picture right when I entered the tunnel so there was a bit of light.  Stay in the middle and don't get a bike tire in the troughs on the side that are 18 inches deep.
 No more pictures inside the tunnel.  Always focus on the light.  I think that applies someplace else, always focus on the light of Jesus.
 Dave had the job of photographing the group.  He did a good job! Those of you that were on the bike ride know we are missing the picture of how wet the tunnel is and what it does to your clothes as you ride.  In the picture you couldn't really see the mud on our backside so I didn't include it.
 Mandi and Sandy!

 Beautiful and beautiful!

 The first three miles of the trail are shared with the shuttle busses and any other car that might be up in the area. We did see a truck coming back but normally it is just the shuttle busses.  We raced with this bus out of the tunnel and got ahead of the bus enough to take a picture.  (Not really)

 These rodents are friends with everyone!
Why? Because criminals feed them corn nuts.  This criminal shall remain unnamed, Sheila.  This little rodent looks very happy with his or her score.  

 We eventually crossed this trestle.
 Stay on the path Dave.  It is a long drop off.
Happiness.  These friends bring that to me.  I know I have said it before but I am blessed to have these friends.  Every one of them (except Tori because she didn't know me then) came to support me in Seattle at Harborview Hospital.  We have gone from hospitals to this.  Riding 15 miles on our bikes in this beautiful place that only God could create.  Whew! Overwhelming.
Here Dave is again testing his limits.  You can't take him anywhere. Get away from the edge.  I am glad to report he made it the whole 15 miles and did not fall off any drop off, ledge or cliff.
 Gandy Dancer decided to take an alternate route when being rescued from the 1910 fire.  Everyone in his group survived but Gandy.  Sometimes those alternate routes just don't work.
 His body was recovered and he was buried here.
 Ladies require bathroom stops.
 If I remember correctly this tunnel was closed and Dave thought we were supposed to go through it and he was greeted with a huge gate.  The tunnel was unstable. Right turn this time not straight ahead.  Maybe this wasn't the tunnel because there were huge rocks outside of it but he did do that.  Right between the rocks into a tunnel.

 Done! It got warm the last couple of miles.  Not as much shade and rather bumpy, lot of small rocks. My light bounced off my helmet.  We were fortunate there was a shuttle there and we didn't have much of a wait.

 I did not have much cooperation with this photo opportunity.  Let's ALL stand by the End of the Road sign and take picture!!!  Didn't happen.  These two jumped in.
And Freida!
 You did  it Dave! Photo bomb and you didn't even know it.
 When we got on the bus I asked the bus driver if he would show us where the moose ponds were.  Some drivers do and some don't.  He was great.  He told us the history of the area all the way back which is about a 25 minute ride on a one lane road.
 We lucked out.  A momma mouse and her baby were in the first moose pond.  The momma mouse was sort of hidden so no picture.  Mandi this is your picture.  I took it off of Facebook.  It's great.

 You have to ride through the first tunnel again at the end.  I rode through and I snapped a picture of the steam at the front entrance to the tunnel.
 Don't think this is our group but I liked the picture.
 Here they come.

 Finished with the trail but not the adventure.
 This was not part of our adventure.  Tori snapped a picture and that is as far as we went.  This is on the dirt road headed back to the freeway.  There was a bit of conversation about what we might find if we included this in our adventure, none of it good.  Off to the Snake Pit for lunch now.
I thought this was interesting.  You don't bring you glasses so you take a picture of the menu and enlarge it on your phone.  What did we do before we had cell phones?
 The Cooks and Tori.  Mandi had to head out to Greenbluff to volunteer!
 Love this picture of these too!
 And the food picture of course.
 The end!  Not sure where Sheila is.  Hiding behind us?
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