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Montana Highway 1, just west of the town of Anaconda, maintains an excruciatingly slow speed limit. For nearly ten miles, as it creeps toward the Georgetown reservoir and the shoulder of the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, the highway is posted, on average, twenty-five miles per hour lower than most drivers would consider fair. Making this snail-like progress even more aggravating is the close proximity of so much good stuff: high mountain lakes, thickly forested canyons, and wind-blown ridgelines... if you could just get there already!

That was essentially my state of mind last September as I ascended the last twenty-mile stretch to meet my buddy Ryan Gibbs by the shores of Storm Lake. I drove eleven and half hours from western Colorado, and the prospect of being freed from the vehicle, feeling the chill of alpine air, and toasting our upcoming trek held considerably more allure than keeping my speed below forty miles per hour.


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