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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Day 8 .. Dragged my dreams out of the dirt


Day 8 began with a tentative testing of the legs. You may remember that the day before on the pavement I was dying on my bike... my legs had this wierd pain coursing through them and I barely made 40 miles....
Well this morning began with the 2 mile ride along the river from Bigfork to Ferndale where I was hoping to stock up on food for the next bit....
The legs felt ok... no wierd achey pain thing and the ride along the river was really nice in the early morning sunshine. I felt upbeat... If the legs are feeling good so am I
Or is it because I feel good that the legs do??

I arrived in Ferndale...
Nothing....
No store that I could see...
Hmmm
Oh well.... 

And so I continued. On my way I saw a sign that made a few tears fall.... a road called "Almost Home". I was feeling a bit homesick... being tired and far away will do that to me... as I cycled on.. it made me smile because I was no where near home and still had a huge amount of peddling to go!
The main climb of the day came fairly early on and I approached it with a little bit of dread...

But Montana is not Canada it seems... nor was this climb anything like any in Canada... 
The gradient was reasonable.... the gravel smooth ish. I tapped up and up... waiting for the sting in the tail. In the meantime I had nothing ... no view to look at. Flanked by pine trees as I climbed I couldnt see beyond them. Wierdly I wasn't worried about bears. They are still a very real possibility  but I guess.. again... I got through Canada and camped out and was fine. Seems the longer you are around the possibility... the less the fear becomes.
Also now all the rustling noises in the bushes and verges no longer bothers me. The myriad of small creatures persisted today...
Chipmunks... prarie dogs... squirrels... hares all made an appearance.. a few darting out a little too close to my wheel.
The deer also cameoed...
So I continued on up with no view.. being led through an alley of mqinly pine trees. Shame because the swan mountains were off to my left amd I didnf see them all day.

I made good progress up the climb and it felt like pretty soon I qas over the top and heading down the other side. As I did I bumped into another cyclist.... rare enough but this one was also a she! Anna had ridden Northbound from Antelope Wells so was almost finished. Shd said she had seen 1 bear in the distance but was blowing her whistle a lot ... wasnt just me then!!  It was nice to chat with a fellow cyclist but one eye on the time .. so said goodbye and set off again.  The downhill bit wasnt bad ... still no view.

With the big climb out of the way... I was feeling a bit smug... 30 miles to go until I got to Holland Lake and although it was a bit of a gradient upward it shouldnt be too bad. There was another smaller rise and again this was ok. The sun was now beating down and I was getting hotter and hotter and hotter. Add to that... the pains in my legs were getting worse.
Still I tapped up the next rise... still not having resorted to walking yet which was a first!
I was going along  .. when I screeched to a stop. There on the path... was a snake!! And it wasnt dead!!! You already know that Im craZy... add in that I actually love snakes and you top off the wierdness. Looking at this one I was fairly certain that he was non- venemous. The shape of his head and markings pointed towards some kind of garter snake. And when I googled later I was pleased to find out that I had been correct. Western garter snake. Venemous or not... I didnt disturb it.. a) in case I was wrong and b) he was minding his own business... so I left him to it and wound my way upwards. It had made my day. I look for snakes in the wild and see none... people I know who hate snakes just seem to bump into them!

Got to a point where in theory it was all downhill from here haha and my phone beeped ... I had a signal! The time was ok back home so tried to ring my parents... for some reason wouldnt connect... so I tried my brother Paul. For once his phone had charge and he answered almost immediately. It was really nice to chat to him... eased the homesickness and for those of you who were wondering why we were discussing fake tan... Im a bridesmaid for my best mate in September and I will have my cycling tan lines and a one shoulder strap dress!! Never not individual me😁😁

Anyway after chatting to Paul  I only had 20 miles to go... only now the legs were barely working again so those 20 felt like 40. The route went up and down... up and down like it couldnt make up its mind. The downhills were a relief for my arse which felt like it was on fire and the uphills were being crawled up!! Its very frusyrating when the mind is good but the body is sayjng noooooo!
Eventually after what seemed like forever I made the turn onto a disued trail which had now grown over... the grass was tall and the bushes close... it was the first time in montana that id felt this hemmed in. A friend of mine said he had done it in the dark!!! No thanks... waay too scary! 
Eventually it spat me out onto a descent road which finally descended down. Hot... sweaty.. dusty.. thirsty... knackered. There was one non camping option... the lodge at Holland lake. The mountains around the lake were glowing in the evening sunlight and the lake looked lovely and cool... I wanted to jump in! The lodge was welcoming... charged me an arm and a leg to stay the night but at least dinner was included with that.
The evening was spent making plans for the days to come but more of that later. 

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LHS