As mentioned in our last post, Steve’s June marathon is in Missoula, Montana. We extended the trip a few days on either side of the race so that we could get a better feel for this part of the country, which is new territory for us. What an incredible place!
We arrived on Thursday afternoon and immediately headed up “the M,” the landmark on Mount Sentinel which towers over the University of Montana. The steep trail was a great way to shake off the plane time and the spectacular views helped us get our bearings.
It was great while the weather held off…until we got near the top. Then it began to sprinkle, then thunder, and then rain. It was motivation to get off the mountain ASAP!
We wanted to explore some of the area outside Missoula while here, so we headed north to the National Bison Range to see some wildlife.
The area provides a self-driving loop through broad plains and tree-filled mountain tops. Our hope was to see a bear and,low and behold, we did it!! This little guy allowed us to follow him (in the car) and wasn’t bothered a bit. Hope you enjoy seeing the photos as much as we did taking them.
The rest of the visit didn’t disappoint either!
Race festivities began Friday evening and we didn’t miss a minute. The free “Beer Run” was a fun three mile spin around the University of Montana campus. At the end we were awarded a koozie and a beer from Big Sky Brewery.
Saturday’s big event started at 8am with the 5K, in which both of us participated.
A beautiful morning made for a great run, followed by a visit to the local farmer’s market and downtown shopping district.
We also drove the marathon course to prepare Steve for the big race.
Missoula is known for its craft beer, so we couldn’t pass up visits to as many breweries as we could fit in. We hit Heartland, Tamarack, Bayern, Imagine Nation, Draught Works, and of course Big Sky. Along the way, we met nice people and learned more about this beautiful part of the country.
Steve’s big day started at 6am at a site about 25 miles south of Missoula. Over the next 3 hours and 45 minutes he traversed farmland, forest communities, and the streets of Missoula to complete his sixth and fastest marathon for the year.
We’re really proud of his accomplishments and then we met Dave. Dave has done a marathon in all 50 states four times!! He tries to do one every other week but sometimes does three per month. We learned that we’ll see Dave again in November when we travel to Cuba for the Havana Marathon. See, Steve’s not really crazy, as some friends and family have claimed!
After the race we knew we didn’t want to hike but wanted to get out and see the countryside. We drove east to the remote ghost town of Garnet.
The heyday of Garnet was in the 1890s when miners flocked here to search for gold. It’s been virtually deserted since the 40s but recent efforts have sought to preserve it.
We spent our final full day in Missoula on two wheels. RAGBRAI starts in three weeks and we needed some “seat time.” What a wonderful place to ride. We hopped on the Bitterroot Trail, which is a 50 mile paved path through scenic canyons. Our day took us south for about 15 miles and then back to Missoula to ride a gravel trail along a beautiful river. Why don’t we have trails like this in Arizona?
The next marathon is in two weeks, followed immediately by our annual bike ride across Iowa. Stay tuned for more adventures!