GDT day 10 7/11/21
Segment: Seeley Lake to Ovando
Total distance ridden: 28.5 miles (26.5 trail miles +2 miles from Seeley lake back
To the route).
Elevation gain: 2,087 feet
Total miles ridden:
After a very awkward night camped in the grass behind a pizza place, we were up and off to breakfast early. We had a hearty and tasty breakfast at Pop’s place - ornery waitress and all. Thankfully the climbing was early on and broken up into two lumps with a down in between. The kids powered through it, and we rode for four solid hours straight. There are fires burning all around, and though not dangerously close, the smoke was thick in the air today and the air quality poor. We could see a burnt orange haze lingering over the mountains and across the valleys. It’s sad that fires are starting earlier and earlier each year. It’s also been hot, though it’s more manageable in the morning, up high and in the shade.
We arrived in Ovando early- 11:00 am.
It was a welcome treat to arrive in a sweet tiny, quiet town with everything we need right here. The Stray Bullet Cafe for lunch was the first order of business. Next, we headed across the street to the Blackfoot Commercial Company and Ovando Inn to see about our rooms. I stood in ecstatic disbelief when we were able to check in immediately. I expected to wait around on the porch for hours for the rooms to be cleaned and available. The inn is the upper portion of a building serving as a small grocery/mercantile/gas station. It’s actually the best hotel we’ve stayed in yet. There is a common area with a kitchen and living room space, 6 adorable, impeccably clean rooms furnished with hand made quilts and old time photos of famous local cowboys from
The 1800s, hot showers and laundry facilities.
We were so happy to get into our air conditioned rooms to take hot showers and a long rest. I’m feeling the miles on my body. I’m in that phase when the body is feeling a little beat up before adapting and getting stronger.
We met some other bike packers - a couple from Ohio going southbound like us, and another guy from New Hampshire who started in Colorado and is going northbound.
Dinner was at a Trixie’s - a bar/restaurant/casino. We’ve been enjoying the good beer here in Montana when there’s been an opportunity to sample it.
While playing a few rounds of cards in the common area after dinner, we met a pair of biologists who are here to radio tag trumpeter swans. The older man helped start the swan restoration project 30 years ago. He said they’d met the goals and objectives for restoration in this area, a huge success after all the years the effort has been in place. Bittersweet too. The men are from Jackson Hole, WY, and told us it’s just as busy down there if not even more so than we’ve encountered up here. I’m a little nervous how that will impact us, so I’m counting on the availability of hiker/biker only sites at all the campgrounds (with the exception of two RV Parks) in Yellowstone.
Tonight, I’m happy for a room in this wonderful inn, a soft bed, hot shower and warm meal.