GDT day 6 7/7/21
Segment: Big Fork, MT to Cedar Creek campsite
Miles ridden: 37 total
Cumulative trail miles: 154 mile
Elevation climbed: 3,800 ft
The campground was hoping last night until it was finally starting to get dark around 10:45. It seemed as though the action picked up right when quiet time should have began. There were paragliders with loud motors over head, someone blasting super loud uncomfortably patriotic music, maybe from a boat on the lake and kids running around yelling and playing until almost 11 pm. More evidence to support my theory that Montanans save sleep for winter. Despite the late night noise, Tom was up making coffee at 5, and after having leftover cold pizza for breakfast, we were off before 7.
I’d say today felt like the longest yet. It was forgivingly overcast as we climbed out of the Flathead river valley back up into the mountains. The 3,000 plus ft climb was slow and difficult weighed down with 3 days of food. Sara was homesick after the zero day yesterday, and the mental and physical challenges were intense for her. We took a lot of breaks as we made our way up.
We came to a junction where we had to decide to take the regular route, which has had a logging operation underway for the past 3 years, or the longer reroute. We laid out the Tyvec ground cloth used for a tent, and picnicked and rested while listening for signs of the logging operation. All was quiet, so after a long break we decided on the regular route. It started to rain on us as we headed down hill. The descent was welcome after the punishing climb, and in stark contrast to the heat which defined the days past, I was downright cold speeding down the hill. The fast descent was over all to soon, and the remainder of the day was on sharply rolling hills trending uphill.
It must have rained much harder on the last section of trail, because it was wet and muddy. Same can be said for us and our bikes before we finally reached our camp. The camp tonight is an informal camping area on the swan river. We set up right along side the river, and set to washing mud of our clothes, bodies, gear and bikes best we could. The sun came back out any warmed up enough for a river bath. Sara perked up after a rest in the grass snuggling with Tom. Anna and Andrew, the couple we met last night from Denver 45 minutes after we arrived. It was enjoyable getting to know them a bit more. There are out for about 5 days, then Anna’s parents pick them up in Ovando. The kids seemed energized from the social interaction too.
Dinner was Bear Creek potato soup jazzed up with dehydrated jalapeño, fresh chives, sharp cheddar and bacon bits. It was delicious but shockingly filling. This is the first camp without bear boxes, so bearbagging was the final evening chore. Andrew (our site mate) had the brilliant idea to suspend the bearbags from the bridge that crosses the Swan River just up the road from our site. The reason this is such a brilliant solution is despite the dense Forrest surrounding us, there is not a single suitable tree limb from which to suspend the bear bags. Now the chores are done, and I’m cozy in the tent, listening to the river rush by and watching the clouds slowly turn gold as the sun dips in the sky. The riding today was absolutely beautiful, and I’m looking forward to a quiet night lulled to sleep by the river and birds.