With Polebridge about 40 miles away, we were in no hurry to leave the comfort of our cabin. Our first task was to summit Whitefish Divide. It sounds hard but the grade going up was long and mellow. The descent was even better. It was also mellow, so we could turn our attention to the creeks below to try to spot any bears searching for food. We still haven’t seen a bear. I may go my whole life not seeing a bear in the wild. Carrie thinks I’m jinxed, and she’s happy about it. She’d rather not see any bears.
As we neared Polebridge we finally ran into other southbound Great Divide cyclists. An American and an Israeli who’d met in Banff and who were both planning to do the whole 2750-mile route, decided to team up for the ride. We talked about our experiences so far and of course about the animals we’d seen. I got to brag about seeing some mountain lions but they got to say they saw a grizzly bear. That led to our discussion of what methods we were using to alert bears of our presence so as not to scare them. Carrie and I have chosen to whistle and sing. The American had a bell and the Israeli had a rape horn. Great idea! He demonstrated it’s power. The sound was piercing and awful. A perfect warning system.
When we arrived at Polebridge it was like entering the old west. Our cabin at the North Fork Hostel had no electricity and smelled old timey, a combination of used bookstore and wet logs. In “town” there was a general store and a saloon, where we were treated to some fine Montana beer, a quesadilla, and a lovely slice of huckleberry pie and ice cream. Did you know Montanans are crazy for huckleberries? The people and the bears love them equally, and for good reason, they’re sweet and tangy and taste like no other berry I’ve tried. Yum!