The first day was hot and dry; we rode through the remains of a big fire that hit here in the not to distant past. The road quality is poor in that there are big holes, washboards (it is like riding on that strip on the side of the road that is suppose to wake you up if you fall asleep while driving) and dusty/soft sections. We don’t mind much though. This day is unique in that the temperature topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit and we ended in a town. Columbia Falls has a grocery store with a good bit of ‘health food’. We stocked up and headed to a nearby park to eat dinner and scope out camping. Steevo had ridden through Montana on his cross-country trip and had some memory of this town. We relaxed in the park and started to wrap our mind around the next four weeks. Warm weather, grocery stores and parks would not be usual part of this trip.
Riding on the second day we ran into a guy on a mountain bike heading in our direction. He was over 70 and told us stories for a good 45 minutes while we climbed a dirt hill into the Montana wilderness. He carried a 357 magnum and bear spray. ‘One is for humans and one is for bears, but it doesn’t really matter which is which.’ Had lived in Montana for 13 years, but was still a California to everyone here. Claimed he did one of the first iron-distance triathlons in 1979. He turned off at a fork and wished us well with some advice on the upcoming route. Steevo and I would talk about him the rest of the trip.
That night was sketchy. We spotted Peck Lake on the map and thought that would be a good place to camp. Camping on a lake in Montana, sounds great, right? It was creepy in an odd, illogical, difficult-to-explain way. We were in the woods, off of a small dirt trail off of the main dirt trail and it just didn’t feel right. We were tired, so we decided to go to the lake to get some water. Unfortunately for us, it was like a lake surrounded by a Marsh. We didn’t realize this till we both stepped into and sunk in to our ankles! Fatigue and lack of calories will make you crazy. We both leaped, the best we could, out of the mud as we yelled in our excitement. For the trip Lisa from Sweet Pea Bakery had given me some flip flops for the trip, my first pair. I lost one in the swamp and sent the other to be with his counterpart. Thanks anyway, Lisa.
After Steevo climbed out over the lake on a fallen tree and proceeded to clog up the water filter, we decided it was best to move on. Glad we made that decision easily. We camped at Jim’s creek after cooking/eating in the dark (not fun). We also had a ton of trouble trying to hang our food (stupid bears). Steevo even climbed a tree! Eventually, we were off to sleep in our bicy sacs, listening to the sound of running water, to tired to be concerned about bears.