Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 13 Sunday 7/19/09

Day 13 Sunday 7/19/09
Clark Fork, ID to Libby, MT
69 Miles
587 total miles

Got an early start today in the pacific time zone at 6:45 a.m.-- trying to beat the heat. Rode into Montana and the Mt. Time zone at about 516 trip miles and climbed to Bull River Junction about 20 miles east of Clark Fork where I stopped for coffee and stoked up on carbs for the ride northward on Montana Route 56 through the Cabinet Mountains. It was a truly amazing road and the scenery was picture postcard. The Cabinet Wilderness to the east of the highway has a grouping of 8k mountains which are all very rugged. The terrain supports a grizzly population and the Bull river meanders crystal clear, cold and lazy through the lush green valley. I talked with one angler who said the daily bag limit on brook trout is 20, as they are trying to reduce their numbers in favor of the endangered Bull Trout which is native to the stream. The brookies average 12-14 and the fishing appears to be pretty productive. Stopped at Halfway House, a bar at Bull Lake, where I enjoyed the cooling effects of a couple of Kokannee's in the frostiest glasses I had in a while. Very refreshing. Met some interesting people, including Karol, who cares for elderly patients in the area and owns a pet bobcat. The new bike is really an improvement on both the uphills and downhills. I am able to get better climbing response and motion as the frame is stiffer, shorter and more responsive. The downhills feel SO MUCH safer as the tires are a wider 32c profile vs. The previous 28c, and the wheels and brakes are solid-- giving me the confidence to cruise down some of the hills a little faster and carry more momentum onto the flats and up the next thills. After taking a mid-afternoon rest and read at the junction of US 2 and Rt. 56, I rode a few more miles until I reached the dramatic Kootenai Falls and the "Swinging bridge" a plank pedestrian suspension bridge over the rapid river below. The wind was blowing and the bridge was, well, swinging high and unsteady over the river below-- who needs to pay for a carnival ride at the amusement park! I received some advice that there was a municipal park where I could camp in Libby, and found it-- $5 a night, but no showers-- at this point, I will make do-- the price is certainly right! I will apply the savings towards a good meal tonight! 96 miles between here and Whitefish-- I can't really decide whether I want to try and do the whole thing in one day or 2-- I feel it might be better to split it up- or perhaps my nephew Matthew Smeltzer will come and join me for the ride back into Whitefish late in the day. His wife, my niece, Eleanor, might carry my bags back in her car. Would that be considered cheating?

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