Friday, 13 July 2012

Powell, ID

Lolo Peak (2,772 m)
It's always good to be back on the road after a rest day, even one spent in as congenial a place as Missoula. The first task this morning was to return to Lolo, where I left the through route on Wednesday to take the side trip to Missoula. Today, tomorrow, and part of Sunday, the road onward is common to the TransAm Trail and the Lewis & Clark Trail. When they part, in Kooskia, ID, I will be going with Lewis & Clark, for reasons explained in my first blog post in March.

I had one final mountain pass to cross today to get clear of the Rockies and enter a new region of this diverse country. From Missoula (elevation 978 m) to Lolo Pass (elevation 1,595 m) the distance is 72 km. Most of the way, the climb is so gentle as hardly to be noticeable. Only the final 6 km is steeper.

Lolo Hot Springs
I stopped after 60 km to have a cooked breakfast at Lolo Hot Springs resort before tackling the pass. A group from Denmark cycling to Colorado were also there.

9th state, 4th time zone
When I reached the summit, I passed from Montana into Idaho and turned my watch back an hour. Now that I am in the Pacific time zone, I am 17 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard time. I had heard that cyclists who make it to the pass are entitled to a free hot drink at the visitor centre there. This turned out to be misleading. Free hot drinks are available to everyone, however they are travelling.

Christian, started in Yellowknife
At the visitor centre I met Christian, cycling from Yellowknife, NWT to Sonoma County, CA. His lightweight bike and small quantity of luggage were astonishing for such an ambitious journey.

On the way down from the pass, I stopped at the DeVoto Memorial Cedar Grove and went for a short walk through the trees.

After 21 km of descent, bringing my total distance for the day to 93 km, I reached Powell and turned into Lochsa Lodge, where cyclists can camp free behind the store, take showers for $5, and use the Lodge's restaurant and wifi.

Ron, Jimmy, Kathy
I had lunch and dinner there with fellow cyclists Jimmy, eastbound to Silverthorne, CO, and tandem couple Ron and Kathy, who are following the Lewis & Clark Trail eastwards.

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