Recently my husband and I visited our two daughters who live in Bozeman, Montana. The town of Bozeman is a gateway to endless outdoor adventures with trails, mountains, rivers and lakes just minutes from your doorstep. To jumpstart our trip my eldest daughter Hannah, Craig and myself enjoyed a trail run at Middle Cottonwood trail located just fifteen minutes from Bozeman. The trail hugs a stream surrounded by bluebell wild flowers. Bridge crossings over the stream and the sound of water rushing through the rocks was soothing to the soul.
Our next adventure was mountain biking with our youngest daughter Leah on the Bangtail Divide trail which overlooks the Bridger Ridge Ski Area. The ride starts at Stone Creek road and quickly gets your heartrate up with miles of steep switchbacks. Purple lupine, sun flowers, Black-eyed Susan, Canola, wild roses, lily’s, bluebells and a mirage of other wild flowers gave the illusion of riding through a rainbow painted canvas. Needless to say Leah and I stopped to take photo shoots and to drink up the sweet aroma of the endless wild flowers.
Descending the final ten miles included majestic views of the mountain ranges below along with many pit stops to catch our breath and rest our hands from braking. We crossed paths with a few dirt bikes that also share the trail.
Bracket Creek Trailhead concluded the single track portion of our ride, but we still had ten miles left on the paved Bridger Canyon road to make a full thirty mile loop back to our parked car. All three of us were completely out of water, but thankfully the ride back was mostly a downhill rollercoaster ride.
Day three included more adventures with both of our girls in the area of Paradise Valley. We hiked eleven miles to Pine Creek Lake which had a 3600 feet elevation gain. Usually I jump into all mountain lakes but this lake just had the ice go off the day prior so I decided to sit this one out. Leah and a few of her friends were both shocked and invigorated after taking the plunge into the frigid lake. The decent down took my husband and I quite a bit longer than our fast and agile daughters. The younger me would have flown down that single track, but the older me was more sensible.
The following day Craig and I went on a mountain bike ride up the Sourdough Canyon which starts just a few miles out of Bozeman. We met a nice couple at the trailhead who were getting all their bike packing gear ready for their annual ride up to the Mystic lake cabin where they would celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.
When we arrived at Mystic lake I decided to take a quick skinny dip which refreshed me for the remainder of the ride. The single track trail around Mystic lake was filled with wild Lupine overlooking the mountain lake. We also had the pleasure of seeing Bear Grass grown in the thick shaded woods. It left like riding through a Dr. Seuss storybook filled with giant fluffy white flowers.
I was in a delightful mood as we started to make our descent on the single track trail called the “Wall of Death”. Pure bliss came to a sudden halt as my tire slid off the narrow path and I found myself flat on my face. Blood was gushing as I raised my head. I was in quite a bit of pain but had to continue on down the trail to get to our car. Later we discovered that my shoe cleat was loose so it was not allowing me to unclip properly from my bike pedal ( lesson learned to always check your bike cleats )!
I was pretty beat up the next day with a swollen nose, chin and lip, but I could not resist going on another mountain adventure. We drove up to Hyalite Canyon to the trailhead of Emerald and Heather lake. It had been a cold snowy spring in Bozeman so there was still snow up at 9,000 feet. I took a dip in Heather lake and enjoyed a pastry from Wild Crumb Bakery (best bakery in Bozeman). We enjoyed watching small stream trout swim up the shallow creek that runs into the lake and watched the anglers fly fishing.
The last day we mountain biked on the town trails that included Hyland Glen, Painted Hills and Triple Tree trail system. We enjoyed our time with the girls and left feeling full in spirit from all of our conversations and adventures together. I came home a bit bruised and a deflated ego from my mountain bike crash, but in the end I would do it all over again! Perhaps this could be a future destination for another Endurance Adventures Trip!
Kim Rudd, Endurance Adventures Owner