Monday, June 5, 2017

Great Divide Mountain Bike Route

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Paul finally arrived in Butte.  I'd been waiting there for him for... a while.  After an afternoon assembling his bike we were ready to hit the road for the 75 mile ride to Basin.  

But first some errands.  Among them was purchasing fishing licenses.  Sadly, a 10-day non-resident fishing license was a whopping $80 each.  Not knowing what to expect in Basin, I suggested we wait and buy the licenses there. Errands mostly done, we left town around noon. 

Thirty seven miles later we arrived in Basin.  I've never been so glad to be bad at math!  From there it was 9 miles to the cabin we would be staying in while fishing. Some of that was not uphill.  Some of it was extremely uphill.  As in, when the road turn up, we were less than 4 miles from our destination and it took an hour to get there.  I walked the last half mile, with several breaks along the way. Brutal. 

Sadly, fishing opportunities that didn't require riding back down (and back up) that hill were pretty slim.  We stayed one day and headed south again. 

Back to Butte.  The Great Divide Route to Butte (37 miles, not 75) is pretty tough till we cross the summit, then it's a terrifying descent for many miles.  We arrived back in Butte and stopped at the excellent Vu-Villa Pizza.  Rain was in the area but I guessed it would miss us.  After pizza we coasted down the hill to the motel I'd lived at for two weeks, this time just one night.  

Leaving Butte we went up into the mountains, down the other side, then up another mountain.  5 grueling hours into our ride we came to an overlook where one can clearly see... Butte.  It was an impressive view, and a bit disheartening.  

The descent from the second mountain was the steepest thing either of us had done. Riding down was out of the question, walking down was scary.  

As the trail flattened a bit we rode through a spectacular valley.  Views for days.  House to envy.  Rivers, mountains.... breathtaking.  

Then we were in the "town" of Wise River.  We camped at the hotel/restaurant/RV park/bar, one of three businesses in town.  It was nice.  

Heading spit from Wise River we pedaled uphill on a paved road.  Another tough day, we stopped at every restaurant we came to (one) and camped at a state park that had free wifi but no permanent toilets, no showers, lots of mosquitos, and we were happy for it.  

From the state park, we were on a dirt road, another long uphill that topped out over 8000 feet above sea level.  At the summit, the wind was howling but thankfully the temperature was pleasant.  

Downhill into a headwind and through some amazing  canyons, 73 miles from our start got us to a paved road, 7 miles more with a punishing headwind got us to the town of Lima (pronounced Lima).  Not taking a day off was out of the question.  We were both as exhausted as we had ever been.  

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