We ate breakfast in the bunkhouse. Mine consisted of PB&J on two semi bagels (flat bread with a hole in the middle), a banana, and some Dot’s pretzels. Nutrition is my middle name.
We headed north through the Big Hole Valley for 12 miles where we found Wisdom. We were looking for enlightenment but settled for some snacks. It should be noted that Wisdom is the mosquito capital of Montana.
We headed west for ten miles and stopped at the site of the Big Hole Battlefield. This is where the U. S. Army attacked a Nez Pierce encampment. The Army set their teepees afire at dawn, burning to death men, women, and children. A fierce battle ensued with the Nez Perce woefully outgunned and undermanned. The Nez Perce escaped only to be chased down farther north where they surrendered. Chief Joseph, their leader, famously said: “We will fight no more forever.”
The Army was following a policy called manifest destiny. The policy was based on the concept that it was God’s will that white people should conquer the lands of the west. I wonder if God was pleased when Nez Perce children were burning to death.
The next 16 1/2 miles were a gradual then increasingly challenging climb culminating in our reaching Chief Joseph Pass (elevation, 7,241). There was no sign. Corey made it to the top more slowly than usual but he made it. A good sign for the days ahead. He reports this evening that his back is feeling better.
We dropped down one mile along the Idaho/Montana border until we reached Lost Trail Pass. It’s a treat to go through a pass while going downhill.
Next the fun began. We descended seven miles through a series of banked curves. The scenery was amazing but I can’t say I took full enjoyment of it as I was trying not to die.
After the descent we rolled north through the Bitterroot Valley, gradually riding downhill. Last year the forest in this area burned. It was quite a site to see the aftermath up close on both sides of the road.
We made a pit stop in Sula where the deli had just closed before our arrival. As we ate and drank convenience food stuff, Mark called ahead to Darby (elevation 3,885 feet) to secure our lodging for the night, a two-bed cabin. Mark is sleeping on the floor. The cabin is small. Corey and I will try not to step on him if we need to use the bathroom in the night.
Corey is cooking tortellini and making a salad in the cabin’s kitchen. We’d help but the kitchen isn’t wide enough for two people.
Miles today: 77. Tour miles: 2,337.5