Each year, the Montana FJ Cruisers put together a big Memorial Day run. This year, we got a lot of snow up here in Montana, which caused the group to change their plans at the last minute. They moved the originally planned Bozeman area run to the mountains surrounding Philipsburg and Anaconda. Here's Anthony's account of the weekend (and Anthony, we hope to get you guys to Bozeman next year!) -Pat
Like Pat just said, we had originally scheduled a run for the Bozeman area, planning to hit the South Meadows and North Meadows trails along with a bunch of our Toyota friends from the Bozeman area and eastern Montana. Yet, that week's snow forced a change in plan as many in our group weren't prepared to take on snowy conditions. Instead, we headed with a smaller group to the Philipsburg area with the main run of the weekend going up to Medicine Lake (GPS coordinates 46.14468, -113.61013). Friday, I went and got a camp location for our group of about 10 rigs.
We got right to it and did a night run on Friday. It was a short run, about 3-4 miles, to an abandoned cabin up the hill.
Saturday morning, we got up and decided to hit a trail that we saw the on our run the night before, which turned out to be about 4-5 miles long, but took us much longer when an alternator crapped out in our buddy's rig. Luckily, another member was heading up to join us that afternoon and was able to bring another up to him. Unfortunately, it took us most the day to get that truck fixed and off the trail.
We re-grouped after that little fiasco and headed to the Race Track Trail in the Philipsburg/Anaconda area. We weren’t expecting to run into as much snow as we did (especially since we were trying to avoid snow on this trip) and thus we spent most of the day digging people out. And the snow was not good for snowwheeling; it was super slippery, and I even had a close call with a cliff.
On Sunday, we finally hit the trail up to Medicine Lake. We spent about 3 hours driving up and the trail itself was really narrow. I think we must have been one of the first groups up there this season as we ran into a lot of downed trees and narrowed passages. There was also a lot of mud and run-off, causing some mess on the trail. We got to the lake for lunch and hung out with the group for a couple of hours.
In my opinion, this trail is a little more technical than most stock vehicles could do. I'd recommend having at least 33” tires for a run to that lake. On the way down, we didn’t have many issues, and one of our group members even let their 17-year-old daughter take the wheel!
Overall, this Memorial Day trip was a success even after the last-minute change of plans. I'd recommend the area to anyone looking for a good weekend of runs!
Anthony, Montana FJ Cruisers
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