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USA 7 July: Cooke City, MT - Roberts, MT
"On top of the world"
We woke up warm and cosy under our borrowed blankets, thanking Jan and family for their kindness which aided such a good night's sleep. A beautiful sunrise over the lake set the tone for the day.
Today we needed to cross through Yellowstone National Park, something we were all looking forward to after our short sightseeing trip yesterday which had left us eager for more.
We can't actually run through the Park as the roads are not suitable, so we drove.
You would think that after 3 hours of driving the Park would run out of spectacular scenery, but not so - each turn revealed yet another wonder. Yellowstone really is a very special and magical place.
The final section out of the north-eastern edge of the Park is a series of steep switchbacks winding alongside plunging precipices. The chatter in the van seemed to subside somewhat at this point, but all was well and we emerged unscathed onto broader plains of green, dotted with herds of grazing buffalo.
It was with some sadness that we finally emerged out of the magical and beautiful National Park and into the sudden and unexpected town of Cooke City.
This was the point where one of our teams had started running earlier in the day. Little did we know, however, that although we had left the Park behind some of the most stunning scenery of the day was ahead of us.
It always so inspiring to have runners join us, especially so spontaneously and at 9,500 ft!
Thank you Foster Family - David, Linda, Jessica and Megan - for making our day that much more special.
We started winding upwards (and upwards) into the mountains of Montana.
Eventually we overtook one of the men's teams. We were surprised to see them running there - they should have finished their section by now. In fact they had, but Atulya was having such a good time that he was running a few extra miles "just for fun", said Moni.
Onwards and upwards we continued, the greenery beginning to be dotted here and there with patches of unmelted snow, the patches growing in size as we ascended until there were solid snowbanks lining the road.
Finally we reached the place where all the teams meet up to switch vehicles. It was definitely our most inspiring and fun switching point ever - near the top of the Beartooth Pass (the Beartooth reaches its highest point at 10,974 feet). Down in Yellowstone it had been shorts weather.
Up here it was snowing! We were hurriedly grabbing extra clothing out of our luggage. You could see for miles, back across the Beartooth Mountain ranges.
What better place for a team photo than "on top of the world"?
With all the driving and photography that was going on today, the women's team didn't start their running until the late afternoon. We did get the downhill section though. And a different kind of experience - running into the evening sunlight, down from the mountains and onto the flatlands of Red Lodge as the shadows gradually lenghthened. Pretty much a perfect day.
The altitude was getting to everyone and everything!
Thank you so much to Bogarts Restaurant for offering us a special price on your deliscious pizza.
And thank so much to the Red Lodge KOA in Red Lodge, MT for offering us some beautiful campsites right next to a little creek.
And finally, thank you to The Pollard Hotel for giving one room to our women's team.
Distance: 67 miles
Atulya Berube (San Diego), Jagadhata Amrhien (Chicago), Drsalu Gruenstaeudel (Austria), Vladimir Salnacov (Moldova), Mark Collinson (England), Kokila Chamberlain (England), Surya Smolennikova (Russia), Kshetragna Ulanova (Russia), Dima Grygorievski (Ukraine), Sukhada Korshunova (Russia), Michaela Pokorna (Czech Republic), Moni Neradilek (Seattle), Rupasi Young (Seattle), Jwalanta Voelckner (Germany)
Gallery: See more images!
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