Monday, June 15, 2009

Update to Whitefish, MT

We've been on the trail for three days and there is much to say, but we'll keep it as brief as possible.

Day one: We leave the hotel in Kalispell and drive a little over an hour to Roosville, parking on the side of the road by the border of Canada. After pictures, packing, and saying bye to Senor Sawicki, we depart. We were sucking for wind on those first hills we hit, taking a much needed break miles into the trip. Around mile 19, Fred begins to trail behind (unlike him), and as Jeff mentions that Fred does not seem to be doing well, altitude sickness punches Fred right in the gut and he loses his breakfast and snacks. With this confusion going on, we take a wrong turn and head a few miles down the wrong road. We try and call for help. No such luck. The map is no help. At this point Fred can hardly move much. But a herd of angry looking cows gets us going really quick. As Jeff scouts a trail, Paul and Fred see a grizzly bear cub pop out of the woods. We all high tail it to Grave Creek Campground, where with the help of fellow campers, we find out we made a wrong turn. After dinner and relaxation, we help out an Aussie who is touring the continent by motor bike. We let him camp at our site and helped him hang his food away from bears. Sleep. Overall, good ending to the day. Met nice people who helped us out. (30 miles today)

Day two: Beautiful Montana. We start the morning with a fire, cowboy pancakes, and a great attitude now knowing where we need to be headed. We make our way up a long, slow climb (2 miles straight up). Following this is an amazing curvy downhill road, with spectacular scenery along the way. We run into a few of the GD racers and chat with them a little bit. As we descend down the hill, Fred pops his back tire, and again altitude sickness slaps him in the face. He loses breakfast and snacks again. We make it to the bottom at Tachuck campground where Fred rests for a bit before pushing on. We push on through more downhill, next to a beautiful whitewater river. We talk to locals along the way and they mention snow on the pass by Red Meadow (our destination for the night). With only 10 miles after the final turn to our campsite, we begin a long, strenuous climb. Our first obsticle was downed trees and two feet of snow. We had to push/pull our bikes through for a little over a mile. But the top was such a reward; a beautiful mountain lake with a campsite right on the water, absent of anybody else. We cooked dinner, enjoyed the lake, and crashed from exhaustion. (51 miles today)

Day three: We get up and are amazed at the blue skies and the mirror lake we can see from our sleeping bags. The weather has warmed up but is still cool. We make breakfast consisting of cowboy pancakes and tang. A feast in our eyes. We spend the next few hours writing in our journals and enjoying the surroundings. As we pack up camp we run into a few locals, one fisherman from Whitefish and a couple who have a cabin on the mountain. The couple tells us stories of how many people have died in the area we stayed at. One park ranger who froze on the mountain and another guy who was killed by teenagers who then tried to burn his body. Glad we had the campsite to ourselves. Other than that, they all seemed very nice, always willing to talk. We hiked a mile in snow, and then flew down hill 29 miles into Whitefish. We dined on huge slices of pizza outside, dropped our bikes off to be guarded and fixed up, and will now run errands and buy food for the coming days. This place is amazing, with mountains everywhere you look and the coolest people. Never a bad time. Oh, and Fred didnt get sick today. Positive. (29 miles today)

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