Roaming- that’s what my phone said for most of last weekend. I like it that way.
Last Thursday I was out for a short run- easy pace, short distance, with some circuit training in mind for later, but about 20 minutes in, something popped in my left foot and I hobbled home to spend the evening looking at the hills I’d rather be running. The feeling that my awesome weekend plan was about to go sideways sank into my stomach.
Yes this is actually the view from my backyard most nights…
My good friend David spent his Friday driving out from Seattle to explore some of Montana with me, and despite limping through the workday, I knew I just needed to get out of town. David has inspired me for a long time, and I appreciate how our friendship continues to grow despite having lived in different states for most of the time we’ve known each other. I gave David a quick tour of the city Friday night, and Saturday morning we headed for the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness in southwestern Montana. It’s a corner of the state I haven’t ever been to, and one of the least visited wilderness areas. I felt optimistic whatever was hurting my foot would clear up and we hiked into the backcountry above Storm Lake.
Pintler-Anaconda Wilderness. Booyah.
It’s still early season in Montana.
David thinks – “this, this is not Seattle any more…”
David’s dog Bisbee joined us for the adventure, and although she ultimately proved to limit our range of terrain, we were grateful for her company. We found camp on a barren plateau at 9,400′ and after a gorgeous sunset, hunkered down for a very windy night.
We’re just out for a “walk”, at 9,800′.
Which one is the dog, and which one is the fox?
High country goods.
The elements may all be the same- rock, cloud, tree, sky- but a sunset in the wilderness always seems special to me.
Our second summit attempt the next morning found us facing down some serious thunderheads, and my foot wasn’t getting any better, so we bailed back to the car, and took the Jetta for a joy ride down the Big Hole valley (another place I’ve been meaning to explore). We paid our respects at the Big Hole National Battlefield, enjoyed views off Lost Trail pass, and found ourselves camped on the Salmon River outside North Fork, Idaho for Sunday evening.
The Big Hole Valley. Montana Hwy 569 is not to be missed.
Car camping on the Salmon.
It felt like summer to just go. To just roam. Forget work, forget worries (minus my foot), enjoy time with an old friend, and explore. We found an abandon mine- it was rad. We found some sketchy hill people living at a hot spring that we drove 40 miles of dirt roads to find- it was… not so rad, but still makes for a fun story. Sometimes I give car camping a bad rap, but when you can’t walk any more and just gotta go, I’m grateful for it.
Ever wonder how much abandon mining equipment is scattered across the west?
Well off the beaten path…
Tuesday morning David took off, and I headed to the podiatrist. We had a useful conversation about the stress fracture in my second metatarsal, and he gave me a walking boot. Certainly not how I planned to start my Missoula summer, but I’ve got plans to figure it out. Many thanks to David for being an awesome adventure partner and important friend- here’s to many more.
3-4 weeks. It looks worse than it is.