Fat fine | Missoula Independent
Back in late January, Bozeman cyclists Bill Martin and Mo Mislivets rolled up to the trailhead leading to the Gallatin National Forest’s Yellow Mule Cabin a few miles south of Big Sky. It was a “beautiful, bluebird day,” Mislivets recalls, and the duo had left their travel options open, stocking the car with both cross country skis and their fat bikes—a bulkier breed of mountain bike with thick tires catered specially for pedaling through snow. The area hadn’t seen fresh snow for several days, leaving the trail up Buck Creek Ridge toward the cabin well-packed by snowmobile traffic.
- COURTESY BILL MARTIN
Martin and Mislivets had been to plenty of U.S. Forest Service cabins, but both Yellow Mule and the Buck Ridge area were new to them. After a quick review of the signs highlighting permitted recreation, they opted to ride the fat bikes in. “Unfortunately,” Martin says, “we chose the wrong weapon of choice.”
Halfway to the cabin, which they’d rented for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, two Forest Service employees on snowmobiles pulled up to Martin. The first seemed genuinely excited to see a fat bike, Martin recalls, and wanted to check it out. But it was the second ranger’s response that sent Martin into shock.