Another day of rerouting! I spent most of last night worried about bears after John had told me about this incident which happened relatively close. In the future I’m always going to hang my food up in a tree just for peace of mind. We got a small shower of rain too. When I got up in the morning John was gone. Kristin and Andy were just getting up. I made breakfast, packed up and left around 8, a bit after Kristin and Andy.
The day started with about a 1000 foot climb. It was steep but I felt fresh and it went quickly. The rocks on the climb were amazing
Halfway up the climb I was passed by a massive tractor moving almost as slow as I was. The climb headed into a narrow crack in the rock and began to mellow out, indicating we were near the top
You can see the smoke here. It’s been constant for the last few days, but was really starting to get bad.
I rounded the top of the climb to see the large Georgetown Lame stretching out in front of me. It made me a bit sad I wasn’t able to climb up to it last night and camp in one of the nearby campgrounds
I rode a little further and got this panorama
The route followed the curve of the lake for several miles before climbing gently to another lake, Silver Lake
The water was amazingly still and the reflections beautiful. The road began to descend and I quickly gained speed. Soon I was doing 30 while doing my best to avoid the rumble strips and gravel at the edge of the road. It was fun but slightly scary. The descent continued for a good while through pleasant forested valleys before flattening. After that there were just a few miles left to the town of Anaconda. The town was named after a mine, and I have no idea why the mine was named after a snake that doesn’t exist in the area. I rolled through town and saw a diner, but they took too long to seat me so I went further and went into Donivans, a very attractive wood paneled restaurant serving breakfast. Who should be sitting in a booth but Kristin and Andy. This coincidence is insane. We got breakfast, I had eggs Benedict and pancakes. Everything was huge and excellent. We said our real last goodbyes as we would be taking different routes. I rode out of town past the massive smokestack and slag pile from copper ore processing
I kept riding and then turned right onto 569 towards Wisdom. As soon as I made that turn I got worried. The mountains in the distance were even more shrouded in smoke than the ones I’d been passing through. I stupidly didn’t take a picture. I rode a few miles and my eyes were burning and my throat was scratchy. I looked at my phone and tried to find alternatives. It was about to die, and my portable battery was dead. I was feeling very anxious and worried. I turned around and went the 5 or so miles back to Anaconda. I stopped at McDonald’s to charge and use their wifi. I looked at fires in the area and realized that, on top of the fire on 43 that I’d been rerouting around there’s also a fire near the Pioneer Scenic Byway which was my next destination. The road hasn’t been closed but it did seem like an unpleasant ride, and who knows if it will close in the future. I looked into alternatives. I realized that I could go to Butte then take highway 41 down to Twin Bridges. I fortunately there didn’t seem to be much lodging in Butte. I contacted two warmshowers hosts and one got back to me immediately saying I could stay. I set out for Butte. Unfortunately this meant some highway riding on my friend from yesterday I90 to get to Butte, but only 5 miles. I rode through the flat farmlands east of Anaconda then, after steeling myself, got on the highway. It started off rough with a climb, but that was over soon enough. On the far side of the climb I got a hill and was able to maintain 20 mph for several miles. This was really nice as it meant I was only on for maybe 15-20 minutes. I exited to a very bumpy frontage road. The bumps continued for several miles through sparkly vegetated brown hills, reminding me of California.
I got to enjoy a still bumpy but pleasant bike trail for a few miles. The flowers were awesome
As I exited the path I rode into the outer limits of Butte. The poorly maintained roads continued being bumpy until I got onto a bike path, which was also bumpy in a different way. The path led me almost to the door of my warmshowers host for the night. I met Michael, a very experienced bike packer doing the continental divide trail and John, the host. John made an amazing pork dinner with asparagus, cantelope, and lots of other sides. It was all amazing. I salted everything to high heaven because I’ve been craving it. Also in attendance were Flipper, Roux, and Winston, John’s dogs. We sat and chatted and played with the dogs while digesting. A brief rain came through and even cleared the smoke for now. We’ll see tomorrow. Alright, I’m exhausted, night!
- REI breakfast scramble
- Cliff bar
- Eggs Benedict
- McDonald’s minute made smoothie
- Beans and rice
- Collard greens