2015 Summer Journal

Trail Running the Bangtail Divide with Hilde

Over the weekend Will and I had a great time exploring Bozeman’s outlying trail systems. On our first afternoon here we visited the local bike shop, Bangtail Bikes, to get some recommendations. Generally local bike stores give us a few options, but Bangtail hooked us up with a local map and a TON of trail ideas! Great mtb access + awesome customer service = happy campers.

One of the biggest challenges of living on the bus with Hilde is making sure she gets her daily exercise. If we don’t take her out for an activity she gets some serious cabin fever, which isn’t good for any of us! We were hoping to go for a big bike ride on Sunday morning, but Saturday was rainy, which meant Hilde didn’t get out of the bus much. So, rather than keeping her cooped up again, we changed our plans from a bike day to a trail run day.

The aftermath of our bike ride on Saturday – we only rode for an hour but were just COVERED in mud! PS – now you can click on any photo to scroll through the entire set in full resolution. Check it out!

The Bangtail Divide Trail is a 25 mile point to point trail in Bridger Canyon, just outside of Bozeman. The trail snakes up the side of an enormous hill in a series of 20 switchbacks, then follows the ridge for a ways before heading back down. We ran seven miles up and back, totaling 14 miles for the day.

The trail was challenging but amazing – lodgepole pine forests are one of my favorite settings and loved running through their tall trunks. Once we gained the ridge we had incredible views of the surrounding Bridger Mountains.



People don’t generally think of Bernese Mountain Dogs as runners – lots of people we meet on the trail are surprised to see her out there! We’ve trained Hilde to be a great running companion in the same way a person might train for a marathon – first we talked to our vet, to make sure that it was ok to push her a little bit harder. They said that it should be fine, since she’s over a year old and her joints are done growing. We started with small distances at a low pace, and slowly worked our way up to longer and longer distances.

On a sunny day, 14 miles is nearing Hilde’s upper distance limit because the sun soaks into her black fur and she gets hot quickly. On a cooler, cloudy day she would run as far as we let her! Our pace is pretty slow – slower than most road runners – so she can keep up no problem. We always make sure to bring extra water and give her plenty of time to drink it, so that she stays hydrated. Most importantly, we watch her carefully to make sure she’s having fun and looking energetic. It’s disappointing to have to cut an activity short because of a hot dog, but turning back early is way easier than trying to carry 85lbs of fur out of the backcountry!



Hilde, Will and I had an awesome time on the Bangtail Divide, so much so that Will and I are planning on getting back out there to experience it by bike later this week. Stay tuned! 🙂




Location Mileage Elev Gained GPS Link
Bozeman, MT 14 Miles 2,811ft Strava »

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