Day 45 - July 21st
Total: 1820.9 miles
Moving Avg: 9.1 mph
Overall Avg: 6.2 mph
We knew we had a bigger day today, so we rose early, hitting the road by 6:45am. Our hands were numb from the cold, and our toes were disturbingly numb. We just wanted sunlight, but we were winding our way through a canyon. It took a few miles, but we eventually found the sunlight (which we would hide from in a few hours), and it cast it's warming rays on us so we could more completely enjoy the beautiful canyon.
The rocks pushed through the soil in extravagant outcroppings, leaving seams for vegetation, cracks for nesting birds, and bold lines which cast deep shadows. After climbing out of the canyon we made our final ascent to the Medicine Lodge Sheep Creek Divide, but not without first giving us a short grueling slodge up the final 500 feet.
At the top Apricots and I had first lunch. It was thirty miles of gradual descent and flat spots from there to the next water source. We wanted to push those thirty miles before second lunch, and we did. We rode down the hill following a valley most of the way, but the arid openness brought back not so fond memories of the great divide basin. It is a strange thing though, from a distance the landscape looks like a soft velvet blanket draped over the land. Up close, however, it is harsh and pointy, not the sort of blanket you would want to lay on.
Ville was quoted as asking, "Does America have anything besides high deserts?" after another cyclist informed him of the beautiful desert ahead. I think the three of us have seen enough high desert for the trail. We are ready for the trees of northern montana and canada.
Apricots and I took shelter in the shade of a small school house in Grants, MT for second lunch. We chowed down food and then washed our clothes under a spigot before cycling the final 13 miles to camp. It is so refreshing putting on wet clothing in 90 degree heat - a shock to the system, but worth the feeling for the next ten minutes of riding.
Camp tonight is at Bannack State Park, a very well preserved Ghost Town that was the original site for the Capitol of the Montana territory. After dinner, Apricots and I took a stroll through town. I was disappointed to see no ghosts, but we did see some snazzy old buildings that were fairly well preserved.
Tomorrow we should get to the trees. I am sure the trail will give us new struggles.
Live life at a slower place.