September 6, 1996

Day 23 - Ft. Harrison to north of Avon, MT

"On the morning of September 6 we left for home, with dust, wind and grades to contend against, recrossing the Main Divide of the Rockies by way of the old Mullan Stage Road, a road much traveled in the early days, but now little more than a mere trail, full of stones and gullies. About 12 o'clock we came to the junction of two equally well defined roads. Which were we to take, the one leading to the right or the one leading to the left? Of course we took the one to the right, and after pushing our heavy wheels about a mile and a half up grade, over stones and ruts, the road disappeared amid grass and timber. Resting awhile we then retraced our footsteps and at 1:30 were on the summit, ready to begin the descent on the Western slope. The wind was blowing such a gale that we could hardly keep our hats on. At Elliston we stopped two hours for lunch, after which the march was resumed. Avon, a small station on the Northern Pacific, was reached at 6 o'clock and, being advised we would find better roads and fewer grades by going the way of the Big Blackfoot River, we struck out over the mountains north of Avon, and after a good night's rest entered Washington Gulch early the next morning."
- Military Cycling in the Rocky Mountains, J.A. Moss

Sept. 6th: Left Fort Harrison [after a day and a half layover] 8 A.M. Up grade, dust and wind to content against. Instead of returning the way we came --i.e. following the N.P. as nearly as possible, we took the old stage line over the Main Divide. Road exceedingly rough, steep and stony. Took wrong road--after rolling our wheels about two miles up grade, over stones and ruts, the road disappeared amid grass and timber, and we realized our mistake. Stopped and rested about 30 mins. Retraced our footsteps and reached the summit 1:30 P.M. Lots of wind and rocks. Reached Elliston 2:30 P.M., and stopped here until 4:30 for dinner. Left with strong headwind against us. 6:20 reached Avon, where we stopped 45 mins. Instead of continuing west, we turned off to the north for the Big Black Foot country. At 7 P.M. reached a ranch where we stopped for the night. God fresh eggs for supper. Cooked supper and breakfast in kitchen of ranchman in whose yard we camped. Distance travelled 35 miles; time of actual travelling, 7: 3/4 hours.
- Report from Lt. Moss to Adjutant General, Oct. 10, 1896 [National Archives, R.G. 94 Box 346 46363-46575]

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