September 8, 1996

Day 25 - Near Sunset back to Fort Missoula

"The next morning, at 7 o'clock, we started out on our hardest day's travel. Rain, mud, snow and slushy roads in abundance! Again and again we would lose our footholds, receiving all sorts of falls. About 10 o'clock it began snowing and continued for two hours or more. Two hours later we struck a lane of gumbo mud 4 miles long, in which we stuck like so many flies on paper. Traveling along the road was like pulling so many teeth, and so we ascended the mountain side and rolled our wheels along slippery benches. The rocks soon became so thick and slippery that we could hardly keep our footing and crossing the lane we jumped over the fence and began plodding along in high, wet weeds, through a slushy, rain-soaked field. Finally, at 1:30 P.M., we struck the Big Blackfoot again and followed it as far as Bonner, which was reached at 4:30. Not having had anything to eat since 5 o'clock that morning and being tired, hungry, wet and cold, we here secured a good, warm meal at the Marguerite Hotel. The remaining 11 miles were rapidly covered and when, at 8 o'clock, Fort Missoula was reached, we were a happy set of mortals."
- Lt. James A. Moss, Military Cycling in the Rocky Mountains, pg. 42

"Sept. 8th: Rainned [sic] a good deal during the night. Left at 7 A.M. in a drizzle for Missoula. Roads very muddy. Slippery grades to go up--hard work. Lots of rain. Snowed for about 1 1/2 hrs. About 9: 30 stopped 15 mins. to wait for men who were straggling behind. Gumbo mud and water in abundance. Struck a lane of gumbo five miles long. Had to roll our wheels along mountain benches and through slushy fields to avoid the mud. Reached Big Black Foot 1:15 P.M. Stoppe 30 mins. at bridge and got a few biscuits from a lady. Road along the river very muddy. Riding down slippery grades very exciting. Mud, mud, mud. Reached Bonner 4:30. Stopped here 1 1/4 hours. Had a good, hot meal prepared for the soldiers. Delayed 25 mins. about 1 mile from Missoula fixing Corpl. Williams chain. Reached Missoula 7 P.M. Stopped 20 mins. at the Yankee Bicycle Shop. Reached Fort Missoula at 7:45 P.M. . Distance travelled 40 miles; time of actual travelling 10 hours. Very hard day--by far the hardest on whole trip.

No comments: