Day 12

A Long Day of Riding

Posted by Conner McCormick on 2016-06-04
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Ride Date: 2016-06-01
Starting Location: Darby, MT
Ending Location: Jackson, MT
Miles: 75
Lowest Elevation: 3891
Highest Elevation: 7241

The day started off a bit slower than usual, but I didn't mind because I was spending the morning with Curtis' company. After I got all packed up and ready, Curtis drove me to the forest ranger station so that I could pick up my national parks pass since mine from last year just expired. Afterwards, he offered to take me out to breakfast at the local restaurant where I got a nice big omelete to get me started for the day.

When we got back to his place and I was preparing to go, he was on the phone checking to see if his truck was ready yet. They told him it wasn't ready yet and to call back around lunch time, so he decided that he would ride out for a while with me to keep me company! This was really nice, because Curtis would point out tons of spots that all had stories and history behind them. He had lived in Darby when he was a kid, so he has seen lots of changes around the area. It was pretty cool, he was like my personal tour guide.

Curtis and I before heading out. This was before he found out he could ride with me for a little bit and got changed.
A look at Trapper Peak. So beautiful in person.

We ended up going a little different route than my map, so that we could go through Conner, MT just for the sake of my being in my own town :). After Conner, Curtis took a turn back towards Darby as I headed on to start climbing Cheif Joseph Pass. I am very glad to have had the opportunity to meet Curtis, he was such good company to be with and I hope I get to see him again in the future. Being that he is a truck driver who delivers things all across the lower 48, I think we have a pretty good chance that our paths will cross again.

I have my own town in Montana!

I had a mostly flat ride until Sula, where it began to take a little more elevation. It was a very warm morning and made for a hot climb up. I realized that even in good weather mountain passes aren't too much fun. Luckily as I was starting to get more up the pass, come clouds started rolling in to give me some relief from the sun. About a mile from Chief Joseph Pass, I got to the top of Lost Trail Pass where there was another sign saying welcome to Idaho. I took a quick break at the rest stop before continuing to the top of Chief Joseph.

View from my lunch spot on the way up the pass
Cool stop sign when exiting the rest area
At the top of Chief Joseph pass!

The descent from the mountain wasn't as long as usual, I only came down about 800 ft from the 3200+ that I ahd climbed that day. As always, there was an abundance of beutiful scenery around me as I continued on eventually to arrive at the Big Hole National Battlefield. Unfortunately the visitors center was closing within 15 minutes of my arrival, but it was still very interesting to have the opportunity to read about the historic events of the Nez Perce War that took place on this land.

A lot of areas like this on the way down the pass
These guys have a nice spot!
Big Hole National Battlefield
Big Hole National Battlefield

After making myself a few peanut butter sandwiches on a picnic bench outside the visitors center, I was on my way again. The rest of the day it would rain on and off, though it wouldn't rain for long when it did. The wind was what was bothering me more, though. It seemed like it was blowing in all different directions. Sometimes I would have a headwind, sometimes a crosswind, and sometimes a tailwind. I've decided that I dislike crosswinds the most of the three.

If only the camera could have captured how amazing this scene really was

When I got to Wisdom, I decided I would make the extra 18 mile trek to Jackson for the night in hopes of staying at the hot springs that Curtis had told me about earlier. The 18 mile stretch took my much longer than expected with all of the varying wind, however the views were absolutely amazing and helped me to ignore any of my problems. Montana has some of the most incredible land. When I finally got into Jackson it was almost 8:00. I think this has been the latest that I have ridden all trip. I headed for the hot springs motel/campground only to find that it was only open on the weekends...

Mountains to my side on the way into Jackson

Luckily there was one place for me to stay that had an area for bicyclists to camp, but the owners were in a town water meeting (The government is making them drill a new well which is difficult to pay for in a town of 30-40 people). The owner of the town restaurant told me that the owner would be back within the hour. He also told me that he would be closing up in 5 minutes, but offered to make me something if I wanted to eat before they closed. I was very happy that he had offered this, because I was very hungry! I had a very yummy burger and fries before heading back over to where I would be staying.

When I got back to the area that I would be staying, Rick and Tammy welcomed me and showed me where I could pitch my tent, and where the bathroom and showers were that I was able to use. They were very friendly! I set up my tent, took a shower, and shaved for the first time on this trip before watching part of a movie on my phone and heading to sleep. I forgot to take a picture of my camp spot though!

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