Out On the Trail With the Montana 4x4 Association
High in the heavily forested mountains of Montana, the 4th Annual Divide Ride Jamboree was held for another group of hearty and enthusiastic four-wheelers. The event is sponsored and organized by the Montana 4x4 Association and features exciting trail runs and social gatherings. This year's event brought members from 11 states to participate in the runs; in all, 83 vehicles were registered and made it out on the trails, hauling 211 participants, including 50 children.
Jamboree headquarters was located at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in the city of Boulder. This small town is located in the heart of the Elkhorn Mountains of the Continental Divide between the capital city of Helena to the north and the city of Butte to the south. This area is as rich with Old West history as it is with Rocky Mountain splendor; 19th century ghost towns and mining claims line the trails. Four organized trail runs were planned for the event; these exhilarating trails had difficulty ratings ranging from 2 to 3. These trail ratings may not sound that difficult, but it's not always about hard-core rockcrawling; a 'wheeling adventure in a setting as beautiful as the Elkhorn Mountains brings a refreshing change of pace.
Elkhorn City, Tizer Lake, Skyline Mine, and Little Boulder were the four designated trails for the event. Each trail offered participants the opportunity to experience spectacular Montana scenery. The Elkhorn Trail winds its way through the living ghost town of Elkhorn City. In its heyday, back in the late 1800s, the town had a population of 2,500, and its mine produced an average of $30,000 in silver and gold ore a month. Today, there are only a few scattered residents left in the town and one small active mining claim; left to explore and photograph are the businesses, homes, mines, and equipment of a thriving boomtown of yesteryear.
All four trails wound their way in and around the area's mountaintops and scenic forests, offering spectacular views of the surrounding area and the chance to view Montana's wildlife. The trials consisted of old mining roads that varied in terrain from narrow, two-track pathways strewn with granite boulders to mountain stream crossings and alpine meadows to steep accents and drop-offs. Each day out on the trail, the participants honed their four-wheeling skills, enjoyed the mountain grandeur, and got to know their fellow club members and make new friends.
Every evening after a long day out on the trail, the 'wheelers gathered back at camp headquarters to relax, talk about their adventures, and socialize over a good meal. Saturday night after the trail runs, the participants settled in for a delicious western pig roast, which was followed by a raffle; there were some great prizes given away, making the event even more exciting.
This year's very well-organized event ran as smoothly as it has in the past. The Montana 4x4 Association and the Osborne family did a great job arranging everything; we would especially like to thank Roger and Tom Osborne for letting us ride with them out on the trail.
The Montana 4x4 Association is a dedicated and very active group of four-wheelers, and the club holds numerous events throughout the year for its members and visiting four-wheelers. The group also takes an active roll in addressing the state's land-use issues. For more information on next year's Divide Ride and the Montana 4x4 Association as well as other events, visit the organization on the Web at www.m4x4a.org.