Welcome to Canada,
It took forever to get out of Missoula. When traveling, towns are like black holes that suck you in and won't let you leave. You become accustomed to comfy beds and regular hot meals. When I decided to leave Missoula, I found out the Breast Cancer Resource Network (BCRN) was meeting the following night. To ensure that I would leave town, I rode 40 miles then caught a ride back to town to attend the meeting.
Kathy Markette, who helped start the program and is the medical director at Saint Patrick Hospital, spoke about the affect that breast cancer has on spouses and families. It was very informative. Sometimes it can be tougher for the spouse to deal with breast cancer than the person who is undergoing treatment. We also talked about men with breast cancer. Although it is highly unlikely that a man will get breast cancer, roughly 1 in 200,000, it can be tougher to deal with because most men are diagnosed in the later stages and few studies of men with breast cancer have been completed. After we met I talked with members of the group about ways that RideforCancer could help BCRN and figured the best way to help was to extend the resource information for Montana. The Montana Breast Cancer Resource Guide can be obtained by clicking here. You can also receive a printed version of the guide through the web site. I had a nice picture from the meeting but I had the zoom setting on the camera so everybody looks like fuzzy underwater creatures. Sorry.
The stretch from Missoula to Glacier was my most anticipated of the trip. Highway 83 offered a beautiful ride between the Mission and Swan Mountain Ranges. On the Swan side is the Continental Divide and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. On the Mission side is the Lolo National Forest. At Holland Lake, I went on a sunset horseback ride. That is where the picture on the top of this entry was taken. It was so beautiful to see ONLY trees and mountains. And lots of both. By the way, horse saddles and bike riding don't go together. Neither do crazy horses named Nibbler and crazy bikers named Matt. Besides a bruised knee cap from running into tree and a bunch of mosquito bites the ride was quite a memorable adventure. I look a little too funny on a horse to post a picture.
The ride north continued through the valley til I reached Flathead Lake and Big Fork, Montana. I love small towns. Where else can you play horseshoes at a bar, roll dice for drinks, and listen to a mid-thirties jam band tear down the house. Oh, and ballroom dance too. Needless to say, that was definitely an adventure. The final fifty miles before entering "The Park" consisted of a maze on and off gravel roads through small towns to avoid the excessive traffic that plagues the area around Glacier National Park. Finally, West Glacier and The Going to the Sun Road.
To make it over Logan Pass I had to camp as close to it as I could and get an early start. As I headed the seven miles into the park toward the campground, this car passing me came to a screeching halt then reversed to catch back up to me. To my surprise, it was my friend Fleishman that I hiked with on the Appalachian Trail. WOW! What a crazy place to meet. He is hiking from Glacier to the Pacific Ocean on the new Pacific Northwest Trail. And you thought I was crazy.
Usually you have to wake up at four in the morning to get up over the pass because they have restrictions for bikes. The Park gets over two million visitors a year and nearly everybody crosses the pass on the skinny, seventy-year old, Going to the Sun Road by car. Luckily I arrived five days ahead of the beginning of restrictions and three days after the pass opened. I began biking around 8:00 and figured that would give me enough time to get over the pass before things got too hectic. The twenty-mile 3500' climb is legendary. It is the biggest climb of the trip as well as the highest elevation. On the other hand, it is also the most spectacular scenery I have ever encountered. After an hour or so the rains began. Then as I approached the pass the snow kicked in. I was already drenched from the rain when the cold hit. I kept pushing hard to keep my body heat up and to get over the pass before they closed it. Finally, after plenty of enormous grunts and curses I reached the sign that said "Visitors Center � mile". Almost there. Then, about two hundred yards from Logan Pass and the Summit of the Continental Divide, I came to an abrupt halt. The Park Ranger turned everybody around and I was left freezing at 6700' in the snow. AAARRRRGGGHHH! Luckily the Sholar Family, who already had six people in their two door truck, managed to squeeze me in for the return to town.
Upon returning, I decided I needed a little break. I left my bike in town and caught a ride around the park and into Canada to visit the other half of the International Peace Park. Waterton Lakes National Park is amazing. It's hard to believe that they only get 20 percent the visitors of Glacier. It was much more peaceful than its congested sister. So peaceful, I ran across both big horned sheep and deer in town. The picture of the deer has the Prince of Wales Lodge in the background and the pic on the right is the view from the lobby of the lodge. Really, I'm not kidding. You can sit and have tea and play gin rummy with that view out the oversized windows.
On the return trip to Glacier I stopped at my new favorite Ice Cream shop and ordered another double scoop waffle cone of Huckleberry ice cream. Mum mum good. Which brings us to last weeks quiz. By a one vote lead over One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Huckleberry Finn was the most guessed and the correct answer. It was not an easy choice for me though. I had to debate it over some doughnuts. Thanks everyone for playing.
So, for all intensive purposes, I'm still in Glacier National Park. After Glacier it's all flat lands. A couple thousand miles of 'em before I reach the east coast. I don't know if the pictures will be quite as eye catching for a while so I'll have to be creative.
Big thanks on this last leg of the journey to: Debbie, The Sholar Family, Glacier Raft Company, Adventure Cycling, Bart, whoever makes Huckleberry ice cream, Me Ma (Always), Dino - web guy (Always as well), all the sponsors and supporter, and once again..YOU.
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