Pictures: Day 5

Day 5 / Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Heading south from Lincoln towards the first passes of the trip, Stemple and Mullen.

This is a pretty well kept road and is even traversable in winter because it's a mail route.

Great views of open hill-sides as you slowly climb up.

It felt very peaceful to be motoring along and enjoying this closeness to nature.

The road was steep at times.

The red and green might make for a nice color contrast, even a good Christmas theme, but sadly, all that redness signifies death of pine trees succumbing to the Mountain Pine Beetle.

Near the peak at 6380 ft.

sanDRina running smoothly and in her element.

Riding through thickets of pine.

No matter how remote you might be, there're always cows. The end up being your only mammalian form of contact.

The road getting a little gnarly at times, but very fun to ride.

The closeness of the vegetation shows how rarely this road is used.

I took lots of breaks as it's slow going and I wanted to enjoy the pace.

A lovely natural arch across the road (sorry for the poor picture).

Nice colors from the morning sun's rays, but seeing so many reddened and dead pines was disturbing.

From the pass looking out towards ever further and bluer mountains.

Now this is getting into high country, rolling meadows at elevation. It might not be that high compared to Colorado, but it's vastness is impressive.

On one of the "long-cuts" that the GPS said I should do when a new short cut looked available. A few times along the route, being such remote roads, the map data in my GPS didn't match the route that I downloaded as roads can change and you have to decide between following the GPS route or your instinct on which way you're supposed to go.

A pretty rough out of the way track near the pass.

Signs mentioning that the public road was crossing across private land and you you're not allowed to go off-trail.

An intersection between two long trails through this high country. Heading towards Rimini across Hwy 12.

Looking back towards Mullen Pass.

Taking a lunch break south of Rimini.

The easy riding road heading towards Basin.

The only thing to really fail on this trip was my second tool tube that I zip-tied to my pannier frame. The forces must just be too much through that bracket.

Riding past deep blue lakes.

Coming across some deep loose gravel in the Basin Mining area; gaining lots of good off-road experience.

The afternoon sun producing beautiful shadows.

You can almost picture the forward advance of the pine beetle. Mild winters and warm summers help them spread.

South of Butte, after a short Interstate jaunt, on Highland Rd heading west across Deerlodge National Forest back towards I-15.

The picturesque Highland Rd near Pipestone Pass.

Heading back down towards the valley and the Interstate off in the distance.

We seem to be doing too much of this today instead of multiplying, haha. Heading west from the Interstate towards Wise River.

The fun Big Hole Rd, MT-43 heading towards the town of Wise River.

Good twisting road.

Storm clouds gathering to the north, hoping they wouldn't follow me south as the day was nearing its end and I wanted to camp in the dry.

The twisting Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway heading south of Wise River through the Beaverhead National Forest.

The setting sun on this high country at 7000 ft through the Pioneer Mountains.

The dark storm clouds following me south and the signs on the road warn off the danger up ahead...

Beef on the run! It is quite amusing to see cattle bolt when they've finally decided I'm a threat. Look at the one on the right, she was bolting uphill to get to the other side of the road with her compadres.

I was waiting patiently taking pictures, but she decided to stop and take a good hard look at this threat. I took a detour and ended up going on a loop and...

came back around to the same patch of road with the same group of cows. They were just making their way back across the road to maybe some good grub. The one of the road must be the same one who gave me the look before. I was laughing away in my helmet.

Spending the night at Grasshopper Campground near the 7,800 ft divide.

My beautiful campsite near the tranquil Grasshopper creek that runs south for 50 miles passing through Bannack State Park.

The view reminded me of my camping days in school high up in the Palani Mountains of South India.

Easy access to water for all my cooking needs for the night.

Getting into the living rhythm of the trip. This is my 1 person Catoma Twist tent designed by a company that made fire fighting tents before marketing to consumers. Besides its ease of setup, I liked the large vestibule area, which allowed me to store all my gear for the night under dew and rain protection. I laid my jacket under my legs in the tent and the pants act as the entry mat into the tent.

I was using this trip to test all my gear for extreme conditions and this altitude at this time of year (late summer) meant cold nights in the high 30s. My lightweight down sleeping bag didn't provide enough warmth on the chilly nights last year to Alaska. So this year, I made a silk sleeping bag liner and enveloped myself in an aluminum space blanket bag to reflect my body heat back to me. I left the space blanket open enough to allow my perspiration to evaporate. And as it is widely known, layering is the key to regulating body temperature.

Getting free firewood from the camp hosts.

Setting up a campfire, before the passing rains returned.

The progression of fire from lighting the tinder.. the kindling catching.. the fuel wood finally burning. Lighting a fire is a very satisfying feeling.

Having fun with my alternative cooking wood stove made from a can of black beans.

The design was taken from ultra-light backpackers who are designing sustainable natural solutions. I put a safety wire grate on top hoping to grill some meat at some point. The simple idea is to have an exhaust port, the v-shaped cut...

and intake ports on the opposite side at the bottom, so that the one way direction of the airflow provides constant oxygen for the fire to combust.

Boiling water for broccoli.

Being a windy night, I could control the strength of the flame by turning the stove's intake holes into the wind or out of.

Wasn't long before a rolling boil. Yes, one of the downsides is the soot on the pots from a wood fire.

Lightly cooking broccoli, before adding to...

Couscous and chunk tuna with broccoli.

Boiling water for miso soup.

Making some corn on the cob on the fiery coals. I was stuffed and slept warm and happy.

Next: Day 6, Riding to Yellowstone National Park

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  1. defintely reminds me of neptunes pools

  2. awesome.wonderful site.Great adventures.loved it all.wish i could do all this one day.shankAr T
    Eoi School moscow.grade 5-09