Ken sent out a bulk text this morning asking who would be up for a ride today. I had decided not to go hunting and was pondering a jog up to the beacon; it was good timing on the text. Tate and Dave were on board for the ride as well, meeting us at the Ravine Trailhead. Driving up Grant Creek Road, I found myself looking up at the ‘bowl with some level of excitement for the season’s opening, hopefully not too late this year. We rode up the Ravine Trail which was in excellent condition. There was one couple jogging on the trail as well; however, generally it was a pretty quiet ascent.
It’s been a while since I’ve ridden the mountain bike. I did sneak in a Beargrass climb not too long ago on an impromptu bet with Todd that I could get it done that same day. Fun riding up the Beargrass, starting from the lower mailboxes to try to make a workout out of it. Todd ended up buying the chocolate mint ice cream for his father when I sent him a photo text from Point 6 close to sunset that day.
Today’s ride was fun. It was nice to get out and have some company. The Ravine trail had pockets of snow here and there, but generally was just wet and in spots covered with larch needles. Dave indicated he was a touch under the weather and headed back down. We climbed up to the overlook and I took the above quick photo. It felt good to be looking over into ski heaven once more. The overlook is a popular local mountain bike site. I was a little nervous dropping off of the back with the trail covered. It’s generally a somewhat technical descent, but the snow and ice made it a little more so today. All of us made it down the lower Stuart Peak trail without issues. The tires seemed to track fine. It was fun hopping through the wet roots and over the small drops.
We then climbed up to Wallman, starting with a small ford through the creek. We passed a couple or two who were out for a pleasant Saturday afternoon stroll. We then descended the same route to the creek, climbed up through Curry and back to the Ravine cutoff. The final descent was excellent. Ravine has a smooth, almost buttery quality – a very well build trail with fun switchbacks. Missoula is fortunate to have many excellent mountain bike trails. Ken and I visited with a hunter who was just heading out from the p-lot. He mentioned something about mule deer in the area he had spied at some point. I thought a bit about the proximity of the homes in the area, but one can pretty quickly get above it all in the Rattlesnake. As the fellow in orange trekked off heading up the trail, I thought to myself, “He appeared to have enthusiasm for the pursuit of game.”
Ken and I visited a bit about hunting driving back down through Grant Creek. I mentioned my desire to hunt big game had waned. “I enjoy getting out in the woods and taking a walk. The woods are quiet and serene,” I gestured. “Once the game is down, the work has become less appealing getting the animal out of the field,” I continued. “I’m more interested in birds,” Ken stated. Nodding my head in agreement, I thought of the joy I receive watching the dog work during a long retrieve. That is the highest pleasure.