Stage 18: Arlee to Seeley Lake, MT (36.27 miles; or 41 for the adventurers!)

The weather today was perfect – not too hot, sunny spells and cloud and light cooling wind. The distance also looked good – a shorter day than most recently and the terrain was to be off the main roads along small, quiet roads on some asphalt but also dirt/gravel. My shin was feeling less tender and both Justin and Mike were saying they felt they were getting over their tendonitis and Achilles respectively. So it was all set up for a great run through the gorgeous scenery of Montana. And I did have a great day, my mood was lifted by being able to jog comfortably and the roads wound through forests, along rivers and once again there were deer and even snakes on the path today. Mike and I ran together and chatted for a while until about mile 11 on my Garmin – when Mike flagged down the one car we’d seen so far to check we were on the right road. Maybe we’d been chatting and not noticed or maybe the driver miscommunicated but the outcome was the same – we were off the road we should have been on and were directed back via another route. So off we set but before long we were climbing a lot and it felt like we weren’t heading in the right direction. We were getting worried that others were waiting for us – particularly Adam at mile 16.9 and Heidi at 27 miles. We’d seen Adam at 8 miles and Justin had only been about 10mins ahead of us so it would be obvious as we were so late for the next crew meeting point – we had no mobile phone signal to tell anyone we were lost. We persevered but then came to the end of the road, literally. The path ended at a river and pretty much disappeared into the river – we now had wet feet for our trouble.

When lost in the Montana woods this is just the kind of sign you want to see…

So we headed back and worked out we would be running an extra 12 miles; so much for our lighter day! Mike was clearly beating himself up about it but it wasn’t anyone’s fault – I should have been paying attention too. As we headed forlornly back to the road the driver had directed us from to retrace our steps another 6 miles we came to a cross roads and I had a feeling that the left path might go in the direction we wanted. Mike set off to check where it led leaving me to wait, when he returned he said that yes there was a road about a mile down but it wasn’t clear which – but had to be better than this small dirt track we were on. As we got to the road a car was approaching so Mike ran ahead to flag it down (that would turn out to be the only car we’d see for hours!). The family in the White Suburu gave us water (we’d just run out) and confirmed that we had found the original road we needed – so maybe hadn’t done that much extra mileage after all! Another 4 miles up that road and to our delight we saw the ‘Scooby Van’ with Adam not far away, he had wondered why we were so late! Heidi later on was also a little worried!

So I ran an extra 4.5 miles; Mike did about 6.5, but it wasn’t that bad and actually a lot nicer than the busy scary road yesterday! Plus extra hill training is always a bonus! We met up with Justin and Adam for dinner at the Moose River Lodge in Seeley Lake (good Salmon – that I had – and the steak was great too – though the one good thing about writing this after the fact is that we now know thanks to Adam the steak was probably off) and Justin said he’d nearly taken exactly the same wrong turn but almost by fluke had gone the right way. He’s still running well and his niggles – especially the tendonitis – seem to be calming down. Mike’s Achilles has been troubling him so we hope it improves soon!

2 responses to “Stage 18: Arlee to Seeley Lake, MT (36.27 miles; or 41 for the adventurers!)

  1. Eileen Bradley

    Well done for staying calm and re-routing. Glad you were together. xxx

    • Me too though I’ve had to re-evaluate my tactic of staying with the race director and route planner if he’s going to miss turns too! (Only joking – Mike was beating himself up a lot for getting lost!) jxx

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