Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Glacier Park from Afar

Day 57 - August 2nd
46.6 miles
Total: 2320 miles
Moving Avg: 7.3 mph
Overall Avg: 5.7  mph

Whitefish has trains.
We were warned of the trains in Whitefish.

They weren't too bad with earplugs, but they definitely affected our sleep. When I woke in the morning, Apricots had her warm jacket wrapped around her head. Either she doesn't know how to dress, or she was trying to further muffle the locomotives warming their engines as the rail cars collided to make a secure connection.

We crawled out of tent around six thirty. Our host had prepared coffee and breakfast for us. Last night we had social hour with Rita, and two other cyclists. This morning we were able to meet Chuck, the other half of the hosting duo. After coffee and breakfast, we hit the road for our final leg of this ride. We will hit other cities along the way, but we do not have anymore rest days scheduled.

The route wandered along the edge of whitefish lake for several miles before peeling away and beginning the long slow ascent for the day. The surface was good gravel for most the route, but it did have some series of elevation drops which lengthened the climb. After lunch at Upper Whitefish Lake, we made the last of our climb. It was fairly steep, but appears to be the last serious climb of our ride.

After making the summit, we were rewarded with views. Our thirty miles of green tunnel opened up with occasional bursts of views to Glacier Park peaks. The stark gray mountains stood serrated against the sky, inviting and intimidating. Our road continued to descend down to the North Fork Flathead River.

Our goal for camp was a forest service cabin, which we arrived at by three pm. The map showed a boat launch ramp down by the river, so we decided to go check it out. Not only was the river crystal clear, the view was stunning, and there was dispersed camping available. We were able to find an amazing site on the river. This one will go down as one of my top ten camping sites ever, and probably top three for this trip.

While we went down to the river for a post ride swim, we saw a bird of prey fly close overhead. Shortly afterward, I saw it dive down into the water to grab a fish. It appeared unsuccessful in its attempt, but we did watch it shake off the water from its feathers before flying off.

After taking a relaxing swim in the surprisingly not icy cold water, I set out to get the bear hang ready for our food. After fifteen minutes of struggling, I had the rope set and ready. I tested the strength of branch I had roped. It bent a little and then fell off the tree. The whole branch was rotten, as the tree was dead. I was able to relocate the bear hang elsewhere, and this time a little more efficiently.

Apricots prepared dinner while I set up the tent. Not long after dinner, the evening was still warm, so we took a second dip in the river before calling it a night and diving into our tent away from the mosquitos.

Live life at a slower place.

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