Challenge Yourself

Tracking our miles for area trails.

When I first heard about the Gallatin Valley Land Trust's Trail Challenge, I thought it'd be just that—a challenge. Twenty-thousand miles sounded like a whole lot, and I wasn't sure the people of Bozeman had it in them. But after the first ten days, it looks like we're getting after it at a pretty solid pace. Now that we're moving into the home stretch—the challenge ends on the summer solstice—it's time to double-down on tracking our miles. Here are a few ways to ramp up participation.

Sypes Canyon, GVLT Trails Challenge, Bozeman Trails
Bike ride up Sypes: that's six more miles.

1. Bike more. It might not seem like biking around town puts much of a mile-dent in GVLT's overall goal, but if you did everything you do in your car on a bike, you'd be surprised how fast the miles add up—think about how fast your tank goes to empty. Heading to the Co-op? Need a part from Round-House? Biike there, incorporating a stretch of in-town trail along the way. There are trails all throughout town and you can connect bike lanes with gravel trail from the north and south sides. Check out a map here.

2. Visit a new in-town park. Over the weekend, I checked out Gallatin County Regional Park with my dog Hank. We walked along the shores of two small ponds as families of ducks swam nervously away from their camouflaged nests. They'd have been better off staying put, as Hank didn't notice the ducklings until they swam feverishly to keep up with their mother. Over the course of an hour or so, we alternated between jogging and walking, covering most of the park's trails and also checking out the off-leash section, which is currently open while fundraising continues for further improvements. We weren't out for an ultra-marathon, but the miles added up and we were able to tack another five onto our weekend total.

3. Check off a bucket-list item. We all have goals, whether they're big or small. If you have any big rides or hikes on your list, this is the time to check them off. Never done the Bangtail Divide? The wildflowers are in full bloom, so get up there and check them out, all while tacking another 23 miles onto GVLT's total. Wondering if you have what it takes to complete the Bridger Foothills trail? Most of the snow is gone, so go see what you're made of before the stifling heat of July and August is here. That'll be another 20-plus miles. While every little bit counts, big chunks are also important.

Bangtail Divide, GVLT Trails Challenge, Bozeman Trails
Wildflowers make the miles fly by.

4. Take your training outside. You should be training outside anyway, but in case you prefer the treadmill to the trail, the Trails Challenge is a great opportunity to switch it up. And you never know: you might end up realizing what all the fuss is about.

5. Attend a group ride or run. Any day of the week, group rides and runs are taking place on trails all over town and throughout area mountains. You've always said you were going to try one, but instead you're stuck in your routine. Time to get social and tack on some more miles for GVLT. Whether you're on two wheels or two feet, a few group outings can add up, plus you can get everyone else involved tracking their miles too.

However you choose to cover your miles, the important thing is that you are taking the challenge. The more involved we are as a community over the next eight days, the more GVLT will be able to give back to the trails that make Bozeman such an amazing place to live. Do your part—track your miles.