It was the best of climbs. It was the worst of climbs. If Dickens were a cyclist he’d have been inspired on today’s ride. We entered Glacier National Park from Polebridge. The ranger and also the owner of the North Fork Hostel we stayed at last night told us that the dirt road we planned to ride down to get to our campsite at Fish Creek was closed due to flooding. We frowned. But, he said, we could still use the road as long as we didn’t mind getting our feet wet fording the flooded area. We smiled. We love getting our feet wet. It’s sort of been a theme of this trip even though we’ve yet to ride in the rain.
When we arrived at the flooded area we were surprised that the five inches of water covering maybe twenty feet of the road would cause the rangers to close it. We rolled through it with confidence and thought, “That’s it?” Well as soon as we rode up the road we saw the real reason why it was closed. The nearby creek had overflowed and actually swept away a good ten feet of dirt road. It was time to get wet. The water was flowing pretty fast across the missing section of road and it was about knee deep as well. I tried rolling my bike through it but the current kept pulling it away from me. Damn. I didn’t want the bike to fall in or I’d lose my camera and iPad. With Carrie’s help we got both bikes across and continued.
After that I thought the rest of the ride would be a breeze. After all, we were only riding about 30 miles today. I was wrong. We then had the joy of riding through maybe six different drainages, which meant descending to the creek, crossing a bridge, and then hauling ourselves out of the drainage. Each drainage we went through seemed to be harder than the last. It was after we passed over the Anaconda Creek that we had one of the hardest climbs of our trip. It was definitely hors categorie caliber. Consistently steep and seemly unending.
Once we crested the Anaconda Climb we were only about half way. It was going to be a long day. On top of that, we could hear thunder clapping in the distance. A nasty storm was heading our way. Luckily the remaining drainages were gentler. We were trying to outrun the storm, which in our experience never works. But there’s always hope.
With about five miles to go we got to the top of our last climb and then had an awesome descent all the way to our campground. The narrow road curved gently and wasn’t too steep. Steep enough to get some speed but not so steep that you have to ride the brakes the whole way. This would have been frightening if cars were also driving up and down the road, but because it was closed until further notice, we had the one lane to ourselves. A great way to finish our ride.
After setting up camp at the hiker/biker site, we rolled down to Apgar Village, the launching point for Glacier activities, to plan our next couple of days and to have dinner, which consisted of salad with huckleberry dressing, a local beer with huckleberry juice, and a huckleberry cobbler with ice cream. Huckleberry. Huckleberry. Huckleberry. Maybe if I say huckleberry enough times I’ll finally get to see a bear.