This was one of those mornings where I got to unzip the tent door and look out on a beautiful scene. This time it was a pretty little stream about 20′ away, Hans had water boiling for coffee, and the sun was already out. Perfect. Im glad I didn’t yet know how hard todays ride would be.
We climbed the Whitefish Divide; 2 miles of climbing up a rutted road of loose gravel and very round, rolling rocks. I had to stop and push a few times but walking in bike shoes was no easier so I’d get back on and race along at about 3 mph. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I finally got to stop pedaling. Hans on the other hand, scurried right up and was waiting for me on top. He made the mistake of scolding me for not drinking enough water (OK, he was right but I was not in any mood for his advice right then) so I chose to skip the photo opportunity and continue right over the top and head down. What a ride!!! We coasted along for about 5 miles without having to pedal. I went from being tired and frustrated to euphoric in just a few minutes.
Our day ended with a dusty ride into a town 5 miles off our route but several people had told us Polebridge was a must-see. I must say that when we finally got there I was dumbfounded to see that Polebridge is really nothing more than a general store, a rafting rental shop, and a restaurant. 10 extra miles for this?? We flopped our sweaty dusty selves down at the bar while we waited for a table (the place was packed) and watched some incredible looking food come out of the kitchen. We enjoyed one of the best meals ever while listening to the locals chat about the condition of the river and the great raft trips they were doing.
Our guide book and maps only show icons for places to sleep, it does’t specify whether it’s a hotel or a hostel or a lodge or a dude ranch so we weren’t surprised to learn that there are no hotels here, just one hostel a little ways down the road. With an outhouse. Without electricity. But they did have a hot shower and we were the only guests in the room with 8 beds so we felt lucky to have a warm place to roll out our sleeping bags.
In the morning we went back to the restaurant but it was closed so we followed the crowd to the little general store and found the best bakery in the world inside. Huckleberry muffins, huckleberry scones, huckleberry pancakes, huckleberry coffee, I guess it’s huckleberry season. They tell us this is an especially good year for the berries and that means the bears are fat and happy (and probably not looking for any human food supplements).