Day 6 – Return to the Dirt

Start: Causeway Bay Hotel, Sparwood
Finish: Pollock Creek
miles: 38.6
Total miles: 178.6
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 0
Wildlife: momma moose, baby moose, bear, tour divide racer, bunny

Got a late start this morning after my post breakfast food coma. I can’t recall any meal that I’ve not been able to finish, but the restaurant at the Causeway put more food on my plate than I could handle for both dinner and breakfast. :)

Back on the road, I found myself once again amongst big mining trucks. The first half of today’s ride was on pavement and I was excited to finally be back on dirt in the afternoon. I won’t be on pavement again until just a few miles before crossing the border. While I was still on the paved mining access road, I happened upon a cow moose and her calf! I tried to snap some pictures and just as they disappeared out of sight another cyclist pulled up. He lives in nearby Fernie and he joined me for the last few miles of pavement. It was nice to have a few extra wheels along for a little while.

On the dirt road I began climbing up o Flathead Pass. I needed to fill up on water, but when I came to a stream there was a warning posted that said so much as just letting the water touch you could result in death! Apparently, blue green algae had been found in the area. I was thirsty so I took my chances and filtered the water with care.

Soon after, I came across a blob in the trail. It took me a minute to realize it was a bear! I stopped to say hello so that he’d know I was there. He stood up on his hind legs to give me a once over then meandered off into the woods. I took the bear spray out as I walked past his last known location. From the angle I was at I couldn’t tell if he was a grizzly or black. He sure wore the finest brown coat I’ve ever seen though.

Half a mile before getting into camp, I happened across Chip, a Tour Divide competitor! Every year, mountain bikers race the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in what’s called the Tour Divide. They started about two weeks before I did and most head southbound. Chip was one of the few that went north. He’ll be finishing up in Banff in about a day and a half (that’s what just took me 6 days).

I’m stopped at another awesome campsite tonight at the confluence of the Pollock River and the Flathead River. As I ate dinner, I was visited by a rabbit who seemed to want to play. After I snapped a few pictures and she finished running laps around me, we both resumed our dinners.

After dinner I went to hang my bear bag but couldn’t find the line! Thought I was going to have to climb a tree (wouldn’t be the first time), but I did eventually find the rope. The food is hanging way up there now. I even smoked the bags in my campfire smoke. That’s right, I have a real campfire tonight!! I’m sitting next to it as I write this.



Day 6 – Return to the Dirt — 1 Comment

  1. Gen,
    So glad to see that your adventure continues. The day I ran into you I had a cold evening dropping into Sparwood. I had no feeling in my soggy feet and my dinner was two bottles of soda out of the vending machine. Nothing was open. I got into Banff the next evening and was welcomed by Cjell and three Canadians who are fans of the race. What a wonderful surprise. They scooped me up at the finish line and whisked me off for food, beer, and a warm bed. Your picture of the windthrown trees gave me the chills — getting caught in that windstorm was probably the only dangerous moment for me. Oh, that and the people driving rental RVs near Yellowstone. Best to you on the rest of the route. The experience is worth every uphill mile.