8/31/2018 to 9/3/2018
Big Sky Country
Friday 8/31/2018 We left the beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene area this morning and headed to Missoula, Montana. It was an easy 160-mile drive all on Interstate 90. It was cool in the morning but warmed up to the mid-seventies and was clear and sunny. We are staying at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park about 10 miles west of Missoula. I made a four-night reservation that will take us through the long Labor Day holiday weekend. It's actually a pretty nice campground and surprisingly quiet. I thought that it would be full of kids over the holiday. Once we got set up we ran into Missoula for fuel and dinner. After dinner, we stopped at an RV dealership, supposedly the largest in Montana, and looked at some RVs. We are thinking (just thinking) about getting something smaller. Something like a small motorhome with a van front end. I love the truck but it's just too big and too uncomfortable to be our daily driver. If we bought a small class C motorhome we could tow a small car behind and use that for sightseeing. We spent about an hour with a salesman looking at different models but we really can't afford one. We'll see!
Saturday 9/1/2018 & Sunday 9/2/2018 Saturday was just a day to relax and we never left the campgrounds.
Sunday we took a trip to The Rattlesnake National Recreation Area which is a short drive right outside Missoula. I found this area on Trip Advisor and it had great reviews on some of the trails. It must be a very popular recreational area for the people of Missoula because the parking lot was packed. The main Rattlesnake trail was very busy with hikers, joggers, dogs, and bikes. It's an old logging road so it was wide and mostly gravel. We walked on this trail for less than a mile before we found a less traveled trail called Stuart Peak. We decided to take this trail mostly to get away from the crowds. Checking the map the Stuart Peak trail intersects with another trail which eventually loops back to the Rattlesnake trail. Of course, with a name like Stuart Peak, we knew we would be walking uphill. At first, it was a gentle incline but after we linked onto the loop trail it started getting very steep with lots of switchbacks. We ended up walking ten miles that day.
Monday 9/3/2018 Missoula has a very nice bike path along the river close to the university and goes out in different directions. You can veer from the path slightly and also ride through town. I had researched the path and found a spot to park the truck but when we arrived there, it was closed due to construction. I found The Montana Natural History Center nearby that was closed for Labor Day so we were able to park and unload the bikes there. We began the ride in one direction which was a great blacktopped path but then it turned into a gravel path right past the university. We rode the gravel path for about a mile before turning around and riding through the university parking lots and then the center of the university. From there you can see all the educational buildings and also get a great view of the big "M" up on the hill. Many people hike up to the big "M" but it was quite steep and out in the open in the bright sun. We decided to pass on that hike. After the university, we rode through town for a little bit and then rode back to the blacktopped path and went in the other direction which ran through residential neighborhoods until it ended and we turned around and rode back to the truck. It was a very pleasant ride although quite crowded with walkers and bicycles so you were always trying to go around someone. It is probably even a nicer ride on a normal weekday when people are at work or school.
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