Finally into the Backcountry
December 12th, 2014
On 8-8-14, I left Eureka for the first leg of the Divide, Tuchuck Campground. I didn’t make it. The map gets 1/2 credit for me taking the wrong road. I was wasted and demoralized and decided to forget about the first three legs and take the highway back to Whitefish and start from there. The third leg finishes in Whitefish anyhow.
I rode back to North Dickey Lake and camped with the Canadian family. Besides riding on their Seadoo they fed me chili dogs with cold beers. We sat around discussing health care systems. They just loved my company. When I got into my sleeping bag, I had an epiphany, don’t ride back to Whitefish, ride to where the wrong turn was made and go the right way.
On 8-9-14, I finished the day’s ride at the Divide’s first destination, Tuchuck Campground. The two mile section before reaching Whitefish Divide was Nasty. I had to push my bike and trailer the whole way. The “road” was steep and paved with loose gravel and rocks that varied in size between potatoes and misshaped cantaloupes. I kid you not. There isn’t a number for the number of times I had to stop to catch my breath. I got a real treat when I reached the top. There was snow lodged in the roots of a fallen tree (results from an avalanche), so I made myself a snow cone with my Powerade. From there it was downhill to the campground. My back didn’t appreciate pushing the bike.
The next day’s ride was from Tuchuck to Red Meadow Lake. It was quite a down hill ride, but it was pay back time with the last two miles, which I had to walk. Actually, the elevation gain was 2190′ and the loss was 1560′.
While at the lake, this guy walks up and asks if I met a man driving an old blue pickup. I said yes, that I met him while I was pushing my bike up Nasty Hill. He then tells me that the man is his father and that his father told him about a guy a year younger than him, who’s riding the Divide. This is incredible, since Nasty Hill lies more than 36 miles and over a mountain from the lake. The son gave me two ice cold sodas and a couple of hot dogs that I would add to my Top Ramen. The cold sodas were heaven sent because I was over heated from pushing the bike.
I’m writing this blog from a bike hostel, Montana Bike Hostel, which is around six miles Southeast of Whitefish in Columbia Falls. I have my own cabin out from the main house which sits on an acre. The place is surrounded by horse farms, the kind one would see in Hidden Valley. I finally got to take a shower. It was 37 degrees this morning when I left Red Meadow Lake. It was an incredible long down hill ride into Whitefish. This should be the last time you see the word Whitefish.