GDT day 7 7/8/22
Distance ridden: 20 miles
Elevation gained: 2,300 feet
Segment: cedar creek informal campground to stealth campsite at Cold creek lakes
Total trail miles: 174 miles
We did a short easy day to give everyone’s legs a rest. There are no established camps between cedar creek where we started this morning and Holland Lake Lodge, the suggested destination for this stretch. Despite Tom’s attempt to book a a room at the lodge, there were no rooms available for the four of us. They wouldn’t even allow him to book a dinner reservation. Apparently they are short staffed and burned out with no patience to employ a touch of courtesy when denying the request. I suppose given that, it probably would not have been a very pleasant stay anyway. Still, the guidebook highlighted the place as a definite must visit for a meal and some refreshments at least. It’s sad that they do not have the capacity to welcome eager guests who are more than happy to pay for a warm bed and tasty meal.
The knowledge that we couldn’t look forward to that treat at the end of a long grind led us to change plans. We weren’t sure if there would be any place to camp at this little pond/lake we’d identified on the maps, but decided it was worth a try. After 3 hours of riding with some moderate climbs, we turned down the road to cold creek lakes. Sure enough we spotted a single clearing off the road and no up an embankment from the lake. It’s the only site here, and I felt so relieved to find it! Bonus - the whole area was well shaded and cool when we arrived. We rested, studied maps and guidebooks, and Tom and the kids took a long nap under the sky and trees in the fresh air while I attempted to sort out the next stretch.
We are finding that although physically able to do the recommended distances in the guidebook, the paltry lodging options make it difficult, and big pushes are too much to ask Sara to sustain day after day. Arriving at camp at 11:30 today allowed plenty of time to lay around, read and be generally lazy without the stress of town. The afternoon required some shuffling to avoid the hot sun as it mi rd higher in the sky and find refuge in the smaller patches of shade, but we managed.
Tom and I cleaned up in the lake, and we all went back to that same spot around the opposite side of the lake from where we are camped to cook dinner. With the horrifyingly awful news of the cyclist being killed by a Grizzly bear while camping in Ovando, we are being extra cautious. Precautions we are following include cooking and eating far from where we are tenting, not sleeping in the clothes we cooked and ate in, and hanging all food and toiletries in odor proof bear bags. We also changed around camping plans to avoid camping in or near Ovando. It is certainly disconcerting, and Tom and I are both a bit on edge.
Sara was in higher spirits most of the day, and Andrew just had a generally positive attitude. So far I’m enjoying the wilderness experience, though feeling a little disappointed with how difficult the towns seem to be. It is beautiful here though, and I’m happy to have this opportunity to see this part of the country together with Tom and the kids. The wildflowers are blooming, with big patches of daisies in one place, Indian paintbrush in another and yellow flowers I can’t identify lining the beautifully graded roads we’ve been riding.
Tomorrow should be another moderate day to a high lake. Then down into Seely to resupply on Saturday. Looks like that will be another campground, as lodging options are minimal and those that are available require a 2 night minimum. I’m hoping for a warm shower and laundry when we get to Lincoln a few days later.