Summer in Montana is pretty awesome. Luckily I enjoy skiing too, so our 8-month Winters are bearable, but even if you weren't a skier, the quality of a Montana summer might just make it worth the wait.
One of the things that makes this time so good is the fact the the sun stays out until 10pm. Last Thursday 13 hours in the shop flew by and all of a sudden I was in dire need of a ride. At 8:00 I swept up, grabbed my things and headed to South Cottonwood canyon - one of my favorite spots for some quick after work trail riding.
This trail is nice because it's close to town, but I love it because of it's nice casual climb that is single speed friendly and one of those climbs that lets you forget that you are even working.
The climb follows South Cottonwood Creek though nice woods and a share of open meadows. The drainage somehow seems to get more moisture than other places in the area as made apparent by the PNW-looking green foliage. If taken far enough the trail will connect up to Hyalite Canyon. The main route also connects to another killer trail - Wheeler Gulch.
Anyhow, I climbed on up, psyched to be outside after a long day. The light was making things really pretty and that just made me go faster. I had seen a moose out last time on the trail but no such sightings were made on this trip.
It had been raining on and off most of the day. I threw my rain jacket in my pack on the way out the door, but I was happy to find that I did not need to use it.
The rain left the bottom half of the trail perfectly tacky (Hero-status-super-tack), which was awesome. However, towards the third stream crossing (maybe 4 miles in) the puddles were getting big and I decided to turn around and not wreck the trail.
That was OK though, because the light was telling me to do the same.
I cruised on down one of my favorite descents. Muddy, a little tired and happy, I enjoyed a nice post-ride beverage at the trail head and called it a day.
Summer is awesome.