Tour 2019 – day 12

Below the pines its twin doors are never closed
its gilt statue is lit by blue light
a monkey breaks a vine and falls into a stream
startled deer resume their dreams in the clouds
glad to see mountains I like mountains better
the Way finds me without me trying
it’s been so long since I went to the gate
the lichen and moss must be inches thick

translated by Red Pine in The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse

Valley Ghosts
Refreshed from the hot springs this day would find me riding a lot on highways. First the long descent into the Grasshopper Valley which is all green pasture land with the hay harvest in full swing. The edges of the valley mountain peaks marching down and crumbling into the valley.

Grasshopper Valley

The route finally turns off highways toward Bannack State Park. I arrived there around lunchtime and stopped there only to find it has a large ghost town in great condition. Wooden sidewalks, old schoolhouses, the hotel the only brick structure in town and many small houses. This was the first settlement in Montana Territory, driven by the lust for gold. It is a place that deserves more time that I was able to give it, but I was glad I was able to walk through it.

Heading up Medicine Creek

I rode up a dirt road from the park onto Bannack’s Bench, basically a ridge in between two chunks of highway riding. There was an informative sign on this road that described this region as ‘hot, dry and humid’. This is exactly how it was. The day had began with just tracings of clouds in the sky and now it was clouding up, windy and humid. After another stretch on a highway I turned off onto Medicene Creek Road which I’d be following into tomorrow. This was a long, dry ride up a side valley filled with ranchland. It was all tans and browns and the trees so far up the hills. I camped at an Informal Camping spot along the Medicine Creek as the wind really picked up and a few drops of rain fell from the now fully overcast sky.

when the deep blue
blows into gray
dusty browns
into deep
the instinct is
scurry under shelter
but it has
just as much
to teach

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