The young Canadians got an early start on the road out of Ekford this morning while Andreas and I took our own sweet time breaking down camp. Andreas was thinking a late start as he was looking to stay in the next town of Sparwood. I was up and out but had a minor detail to take care of before leaving town.
The previous day I took advantage of some nice weather and washed a few clothes. Had to wash by hand because the campground had no laundry facilities. No later than 15 minutes after washing, the clouds came and so did the rain. Well, I had to find a Laundromat this morning to dry my bike shorts before I could continue on. I was not biking in my camp shorts or wet bike shorts!
Would be about 11:00 before I finally started peddling out-of-town. I rolled into Sparwood about 1:00 and headed right to the local A&W restaurant for the biggest burger they make and a Root beer Float.
Next to the restaurant is the visitor center with this huge mine dump truck. Went over to take the customary “Divide pic” because my months of research revealed that no personal account of riding the divide is complete without a picture of your bike in front of it. As I’m doing that I hear this familiar Germans voice, it’s Andreas he missed the turn off the highway several miles before Sparwood and ended up taking a shortcut into town.
After some restocking at the grocery across the street on my part, we peddled together out-of-town since he’s loaded heavier than I was a bit faster and lost sight of him about 15 miles after we set out. I would make my way over Flathead pass and continue on to the next camp area.
Only two words can accurately describe the trail from the pass to where I would camp for the night… Holy Shit!!! That is by far some of the most technical mountain biking I have ever done. Just before the trail turned interesting, I met a guy out for a little joy ride with his kids. All were very inquisitive about where I started and where I intended to go. After our short conversation they continued on ahead, but it would be me that would continue on past them when I came to the technical stuff. Just a couple of minutes into taking my bike through what can only be described as an empty riverbed with large boulders, I’m surprised he was going to make it through with the truck. Hell, I was skeptical about continuing on with a bike.
Some very rough 10 miles later I found my intended campsite for the night with two cyclists already there. When I rode up I saw the bikes, I saw the tent, I saw the food bags hanging from the trees but I didn’t see any people. With a timid “Hello?” I get a reply from the tent. Both occupants poked their head out of the tent and introduced themselves and admitted they were happy I spoke because they were unsure if the noise I made riding in was being made by a bear. Sarah and Henry are from the UK to ride the Great Divide. Only had a short talk with them before needing to make dinner and get some much-needed rest.