Sent: Sunday, 7/2703
To: Friends and Family
Subject: Cedar Creek Campground, MT to Cooper Lake, MT
Thursday, July 24 - Cedar Creek to Holland Lake (48 miles, 4020 feet of elevation gain)
Note to self: It's okay to admire the athletic accomplishments of women 35 years my junior without having to emulate them.
This is hard -- even the "easy" days are hard! On what should have been a short, relatively flat ride, we got lost. We rode 48 miles and climbed 4000 feet. Jim and I finally made it to camp, expecting to find Evan. He got there about 45 minutes after us and reported that he got even more lost that we did. He was beat. Ironman Evan was even thinking about taking the highway tomorrow, avoiding what the guidebook promises to be a challenging day. You know how I feel about highways, so I'm reserving judgment until tomorrow.
When we got to Holland Lake, I did some hammock time.
Friday, July 25 - Holland Lake to Seeley Lake (35 miles, 4090 feet)
This is my kind of riding! Yes, there were some climbs, but we were rewarded with the best single track yet overlooking a breathtakingly beautiful basin. We had all recovered enough after a good night's sleep and hearty breakfast that there was no talk of taking the easy way out today.
The temperatures are perfect for riding -- 80s in the lower elevations, 70s in the mountains. That's so much nicer than the 100+ temperatures we suffered through at the start of the week.
Jarla told me that worry is "praying for what you do not want." I've been a bit worried about the grizzly bears, and after remembering how I worried about the scorpions in Costa Rica until one finally stung me (see www.adventuresoftheheart.com, Innsitting, "The Sting"), I decided to refocus my energy about bears. Today's ride took us into some remote grizzly bear habitats. Whenever I felt myself getting uneasy about the bears, I simply affirmed, "Nature grants us safe passage." I felt much calmer.
Saturday, July 26 - Seeley Lake
We took a day off today to enjoy Seeley Lake. Vern, Jarla, Jim and I rented canoes and floated down the river to the lake. It was easy rowing, giving us time to talk, laugh, and picnic. Vern tried fishing, with no luck. We saw cranes and loons. At the mouth of the river we rowed by huge expanses of water lilies.
Jim and I brought our fly fishing equipment, thinking with two experienced fly fishermen along, it might be a good time to learn a thing or two. The water seems to be too warm and low for any good fishing. I probably don't have what it takes to be a good fisherman. I see no reason to fiddle with the equipment unless the fish are biting. Vern gave me a short casting lesson in camp. I caught a tree and a couple of bushes, but that's it so far.
Sunday, July 27 - Seeley Lake to Cooper Lake (47 miles, 2700 feet)
Evan stopped in a fly fishing shop in Ovando. I asked the woman who worked there if she knew who won the Tour de France. I cheered when she told me Lance Armstrong had won. She went on to tell us Lance visits a nearby ranch each September. She's probably the only person I've ever met who has met my hero. She was a great person to meet on the day Lance won his fifth Tour. I can just imagine how happy Scott and Lauren must be. Scott's 40th birthday present to himself was to be in Paris at the finish line for this event.
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