With a fresh tank of gas Eric and I headed out this morning to embark on our final snowmobile journey. Mark suggested we go to the less visited trails along the Gallatin National Forest to Horse Butte and beyond. We followed the Big Sky Trail with crossing highway 191 several times before the junction to the Horse Butte Loop. We followed the Loop along the shoreline of Hebgen Lake. Bison winter in this area, but we didn’t see any. We took the left side of the loop and began to climb up the Horse Butte. There is a short turn off to the Lookout Site at the top. Unfortunately, the trail gets rough and I ran my sled into a ditch. Eric pulled the sled 360 degrees so it was facing out, then pushed while i gunned the throttle. This time I was standing ON the sled, but I still got thrown off terrifying Eric yet again. But at least the sled was free. We headed up to the Lookout Tower on foot. The stair were blocked so we couldn’t climb it. But the view from the Butte was still rather lovely even with the low hanging clouds. We got back on our sleds and completed the loop before joining once more with the Big Sky trail and heading further North.

We crossed the highway a few more times and then across of open meadow near farmland. The trail then went into the woods. This is where some interesting track began. The trail plummeted almost vertically down two freakishly steep hills causing me to back off on the throttle completely. Then it went nearly vertically up a steep hill making me thus gun the throttle to the fullest extent! We wove through the Gallatin Forest at 8,000 feet for well over an hour before coming to a junction with an ungroomed road and a sign warning folks to call the avalanche hotline. We decided to pull over here and snowshoe the ungroomed road.

The road was used by off trail snowmobiles making it relatively packed down and it ended up leading to the Tepee Trailhead. The trail is wide and also used by snowmobiles though it was covered with fresh snow. It was nice only sinking 6-8 inches instead of 3 feet like the day before. We made much better mileage today. It was still cloudy and snowy, but not as harsh the the day before and we enjoyed our time off the sled.

We returned after three hours like yesterday and rode back south. We turned off Big Sky and followed the Madison Arm, a nice wide trail suitable for speed. We rejoined Big Sky and decided to attempt making it out to Lionshead. We were running short on fuel though and halfway there we decided that we didn’t have a enough gas to make it. Instead we took a shorter trail back to town using the Little Snowy and a different section of the Powerline Trail what was both wide and straight. We had out last adventure with speed and powder there. When we returned the Sleds Eric’s fuel was nearly empty!

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