16 January 2007

The Moulton Journal: Butte directions for cross country skiing

Great ski yesterday, the trails were fast and green wax perfect. There was a flock of black-backed woodpeckers feeding in lodgepole pines near Nipper Junction and damn I had forgotten the camera. What a joy to watch them, though, benefitting from the mountain pine beetle outbreak. I'll bet the population of woodpeckers has increased hugely in recent years.

How do you get to The Moulton's cross country ski trails?

As someone pointed out, asking directions in Butte can be tricky.

First of all, despite the wonderful outdoor recreation at our backdoor, surprisingly few Butte folks are outdoors-men and -women. And if the outdoor recreation does not involve motorized recreation, there are fewer still.

Secondly, local directions are confusing. For example, Jan & I had recently moved to Butte and we wanted to change our license plates. We asked a kindly man on the street for directions to the motor vehicle registration bureau, and he replied, "Go up the street and turn left a block before where the Miners' Union Hall used to be." !!!! Ahh, Butte--where memories are alive.

So here's a map and a few added notes:

  • The Moulton Road is full of twists, ups & downs, blind curves, and careless drivers (and sometimes moose). Drive cautiously. If the road is not too snowy or ice, then 25 mph is about right.

  • The Moulton Road is maintained by Butte-Silver Bow. Most of the time it is plowed and gravelled. It's not high on the priority list, though, and after a big snowstorm can be nearly impassable.

  • A good map and ski trail directions are posted in the ski area parking lot.

  • There is logging on the private land just beyond the ski area parking lot. You must cross this area to get to the ski trails. Be careful. So long as the snow is not too deep, I've been driving a half-mile or so beyond the parking lot to avoid walking through the logging area. There are a few turnouts where you can park. Do not, of course, block the road.

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