Fourth of July Weekend: Macros, Axtell Bridge, and Triple Tree

Saturday, July 4th- Sunday, July 5th

One of my challenges since arriving in Bozeman has been finding people who have the time and ability to accompany me on some adventures. Being a privileged retired person whose occupations right now include not spending all her money at once, exercising, and writing a blog, I have a little more time on my hands than my comrades who pay rent. There was rumor from my friend, Mary, that a friend of hers was going to be able to take us rafting down the Yellowstone on the Fourth. How my heart wanted to feel to cold water hit my skin! Alas, said friend never contacted us, and everyone else was doing a booze cruise down the Madison at 3:00 pm. Having taken a 1 drink oath, and having already floated the Madison this week ( a trip which resulted in a thoroughly burned chest area, and a knee that had been annihilated on a sneaky rock in the the middle of the river), I was pretty unenthused at the idea of hanging out with drunk kids that I don’t know on a river I found a bit boring. Claire and Mary were of a similar mindset, and Claire had to work that evening, so a more demure plan was proposed by yours truly.

Finding Axtell Bridge- I took my younger cousin, Ruegan, out to the Gallatin River towards Gallatin Gateway in September of last year to go fly fishing. I was really into fly fishing last summer. I had to learn the science behind the flies for a class I was teaching at the science school. Little did I know that freshwater macro-invertebrates would become ~ma JAM~.

Look at how amazing and beautiful this Stonefly is!

These little creatures can be found in almost any Montana stream hiding under rocks, waiting to escape their little nymph skins to become flies (but awesome flies, not black flies and deer flies and whatnot). For those of you who are unfamiliar, fly fishing people create hooks that are decorated to look like these and other creatures in order to trick fish into biting the hook. I’m not personally that great at fishing, and I’m not particularly motivated to go out and learn this skill that takes a LONG TIME to master (10,000 hours is REAL); but, I am totally in love with the science behind it, people who are very good at it, and these little creatures that make it possible.

ANYWAY, I brought Ruegan out to Axtell Bridge, a popular but quiet fishing access that is hidden from the highway by ranch lands and old cottonwood trees. Claire, Mary, and I went out there to sit on the beach and float around for a few hours. The water was so clear and cold and wonderful!

The actual Axtell Bridge
The wonderful Gallatin

Later that night, I went up Peet’s Hill in Bozeman to watch fireworks go off all over Gallatin County. Pretty nice way to spend the day.

Sunday dawned cold and cloudy with an assignment to hike six miles with ten pounds, so I went up Triple Tree, a hike that is conveniently close to my house. But a nice, challenging 5.5 miles.

Triple Tree

Triple Tree is cool because you have to walk through beautiful, grandiose fields before you trek through little woodland/stream areas and then head uphill. The lookout at the top is quite beautiful, although it was very smokey AND cloudy for me while I was there.

IMG_3735We’ve seen better days.

It was a great hike, overall, however, because it was the first time I had practiced using my 65 litre pack that I will be bringing on the JMT. I loaded up the pack with about 15 pounds by squeezing my bear canister and water reservoir in it and set off. The trail gains 863 feet over the first 2.75 miles to the lookout, then you loop around and come down the other side of the hill for the complete 5.5 miles. It took me about 2.5 hours, and I was surprised my heart rate only reached 140 bpm at its max. That’s just barely the baseline of my Level 2 heart rate. It was kind of cool, because I remember Triple Tree as being a very challenging hike for me last summer, and I wasn’t even carrying a pack then! I was excited to learn that I might not be as de-conditioned as I thought.

To top off a great hike, I got to watch the Women’s final match against Japan at the Bacchus with my lovely friends. I ate falafel and french fries, drank a beer, shared a seat at the bar with a very nice woman, and cheered LOUDLY with my fellow supporters of the best soccer team in the WOORRRRLLLLDDDDD!


What a great way to end/start the week!

Kind regards,


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