Sunday, June 2, 2019

Mickelson Rail Trail (MRT) Day 5: Custer State Park to Edgemont

Despite the weather concerns of the previous days, today was a beautiful day. We arose early knowing that we had a full day of riding and that Big Ker was on a tight timeline to get home to Bozeman.

Knowing that we had 5-8 miles of uphill from our campground, we were looking forward to to getting to the summit so that we could get get in some faster miles. I was so happy when I got to the "top" that I yelled to the others, "we made it" at which point Big Ker jumped off of her bike and started singing and dancing. The celebration was short-lived when we realized that around the next bend we would be pedaling uphill again. Sigh.

One of the highlights was of course Crazy Horse, which you could see from the trail. We stopped for a bit to take in the view and continued on our way.

We had contacted a locale Facebook group about the potential for lunchtime snacks and drinks in Pringle and were looking forward to checking out the town. What we found when we arrived was a giant pile of old bicycles. At first we thought maybe they hated bikers and this was a trash pile. But then we saw Bike Sculpture in Google Maps and the interpretive sign as we got closer.

After poking around a bit, we learned that the store was not open (nor was there a plan to open at all for the season). I did find a bar and poked my head in the door to find the barkeeper getting prepping for the day, but they were not open for business. Somehow I talked them into a soda, but that was as far as I got...probably for the best, as we noticed what seemed to be a giant barrel of rancid oil out back.

Old Mile Marker and Trestle
Off we went, a beautiful day on the trail. One of the prettiest areas was along the sheepherder ridge. Take your time here and enjoy the views.

Sheepherder Ridge
Mile Post 1
Rolling in to Edgemont around 3:30 or so, we were all in pretty good spirits....and then we realized that we would be going nowhere for a while because a train was on the tracks. Two other cyclists were also was pretty hot and we were all antsy to get moving. I looked at the map and could see that the only way around was a very, very long detour in the hot sun.

Really? Less than a mile from the end!
The two young guys decided they didn't want to wait and went for the detour. We waited and waited. Eventually the train moved on and we finished up our ride at the trailhead in the park. As we relaxed in the shade, the two cyclists finally arrived, hot and tired. The detour was a good five miles. We were glad we had stayed back and waited for the train to pass through.

We made it!
We loaded up our cars and headed off in different directions. Another trip in the books.

Total mileage for the day: about 49 miles

Tips: Pringle really doesn't have reliably open services, so be sure that you have enough food/water for the day. As for the GMRT, the overall elevation is "downhill" when traveling from N to S, but there was much pedaling to be done on this trip. Be aware.

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