|After visiting the Glacier National Park area of Montana, we headed south toward Bozeman and the Big Sky territory. On the way to Bozeman, we stopped off in Missoula, home of the Montana University Grizzlies. While making my usual stop at the bookstore, I noticed a large M on the side of the mountain near the university. I discovered it was a trail called "Hike the M". It was short and I thought the pups might need some exercise after the trip from up north.
So, we took off. Yes, it was hot. Too hot. Yes, I should have known better. We weren't half way up the trail when Ossy simply collapsed. I heard a thump, looked back and he was lying on the side of the trail in some tall grass. Not moving. I quickly determined he had not broken anything and it was heat stroke. No way I was able to carry him back down the trail to Gypsy, so I slowly talked him back down, taking a break every few seconds for some water. Thank goodness, he made it back to Gypsy...very, very, very slowly. I turned up the air to high and placed cold, wet towels over him for over an hour until his breathing subsided a bit. What was I thinking??
Needless to say, we did not Hike the M, and I was just grateful Ossy made it through the ordeal and appeared to be himself by nightfall. A few days later, we had made it to Bozeman and were out walking around the river pond next to the condo we rented. The dogs were playing in and out of the water when Presley just stopped and help up her front foot. I assumed she got a sticker in her paw, but I could not find anything. She couldn't walk on it. I tried to lift her to take her to Gypsy, but didn't get very far. Once again, thankfully, she was able to make it slowly and tenderly to Gypsy. We headed to the nearest vet. Nothing broken, just bad arthritis in her legs.
It appeared our hiking would need to be curtailed even more than I imagined due to the heat and the effects of aging on the pups. Ok, so I might have to include myself in the aging part as my knee was certainly starting to aggravate me as well on our hikes.
BUT, age, heat and ailments did not totally deter us hikers! No sirree bob. We found some outstanding hikes...all less than 3 miles and in shaded areas around Bozeman and Big Sky. I fell in love with Bozeman. Nice size city, home of Montana State University, friendly people, and ability to hike the dogs throughout the area. We hiked in the Gallatin National Forest, the Hyalite Canyon, Snowfill Dog Recreation Area, Cherry Hill Recreation Area, and of course, Big Sky. The official nickname of Montana is the Treasure State due to the early mining of the state. Overall, I would have to agree. Montana is a hidden gem if you love nature and hiking. Gypsy and the pups easily attract attention and conversation. Weather eating some huckleberry ice cream at Sweet Peaks Ice Cream parlor in Bozeman or tasting whiskey in Coram, I had several conversations concerning our travels in Gypsy. The pups were easily the most popular attraction on the hike to Ousel Falls in Big Sky. They even did their best posing at the bottom of the falls for a few photographers. Ossy has yet to meet someone he isn't willing to lick!!
After spending almost 3 weeks in the state, we started moving East toward North Dakota, but spent our last night on the Far East side of the state near Miles City. It was a Friday night and most places were booked, but we came upon the Big Sky RV park outside of town. Not much to look at, but the hosts were phenomenal! They were booked but were determined to find a place for us...so, they did. It was very hot and I was grateful to have a place to set up and crank up the air. Yet, the electrical system in Gypsy didn't work. With the help of the Travato Facebook page, I tried everything...even the generator. Nothing. The hosts offered to bring out more fans for us, but no electrical to hook it up, so we did our best with all the windows, screen door and battery operated fans going. Guess you could say it was the first time we did tent sleeping inside Gypsy! And, we lived to tell about it....
Montana...Glacier National Park and Big Sky. Worth the visit!!
On to North Dakota.