Green grass for the future

The grass is always greener, right?

In northwest Montana, it’s now dark by 5pm, mid-elevations are starting to fill in with snow, and roads are closing. For me, the antithesis is four months ago, when temps were kind, there was more daylight for hiking than my feet could take, the country was as open as it gets, and miles came fast and easy. The South Fork of the Flathead is Montana summer, distilled.

These guys would agree.

Looks like they packed in Lodgepole Creek, manhandled down Youngs, and floated out to Meadow Creek. I’ve got mixed feelings about horses making wilderness smaller, and negative feelings about how outfitters run amok in the Bob, but as I begin a mental list of priority 1 trips for next year giving the South Fork the time it deserves comes quickly to mind.

In many respects the dark, quite days at the end of the year are a blessing. Time to rest, reassess, and plan. What do you want to do in 2014?

For me, the possibility of moving to Utah colors everything. (Nothing is certain people, so quit freaking out. (Ali.)) It’s a great antidote against local contempt. If you might be around forever, you can keep putting stuff off until the year after next forever.

First thing that comes to mind in this regard is the Maah Daah Hey trail. I’ve wanted to ride the whole thing since I first rode part of it 8+ years ago. The logical way to do this is to start in Medora, packraft north, then ride back south. This requires higher spring flows to be fun, but also dry soils to avoid the heinous mud. Ergo, a flexible 5 day window in late March or April. A trip like that creates a whole cascade of training goals back into January. And suddenly the year starts to take shape. Planning ahead is how seriously shit gets done. I recommend it.

4 responses to “Green grass for the future”

  1. Hey! I’ve done pretty well holding my tongue I think! The Maah Daah Hey would be amazing. My Dad has ridden it and really enjoyed it. Now that I have a bike I should look into it. The Little Mo can completely stagnate even by June so early season is a good bet.

  2. Didn’t I hear that you just bought new skis? Where in Utah?

  3. A combined float/bike trip on the Maah Daah Hey would be a tough thing to time. We did a supported bike trip on that route a couple of years ago in mid-May. There were long stretches of unrideable mud, frequent stream crossings, broken bike parts (that clay mud is unforgiving) and a couple of major landslides that presented some real dangers crossing. We ended up shuttling around one landslide and the river crossing, because it would have been a near-swim. And, the locals told us we had just missed a major snowstorm, which was one week earlier and dumped about a foot of spring snow. It was gorgeous and fun riding where it was mostly dry, but if I ever go back to that trail I think it will be fall. I’d probably have to haul a lot of water, but by then I expect conditions will better even out. Leslie thinks it would be a great trail for a semi-supported 100-mile run, and I agree with her. That would be a fun thing to plan with friends.

  4. […] which is of course almost entirely within the Bob Marshall Wilderness.  I even posted about the trailer, which was well done, and didn’t think all that much the next summer when the video was made […]

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