Susan joined me for a ride this morning and I had no idea that she would ride for so long and so far! We left the cabin to bike along the very hard packed road just to see where it would lead.
|The not so hard packed gravel road from the cabin|
In not too long, that very hard packed road turned into gravel -- my very least favorite, or should I say my very most hated -- biking surface. Had I been on my own for this day, I would have turned around right there and had a rather short day. Susan of course said it is fine, you can do it.
|Ok, I'll be brave and give this a try|
And then Susan saw the sign for Stemple Pass and wanted bragging rights, so on we went.
In placer mining water is used to wash the sand and gravel away leaving the heavier gold or other precious metals. It requires only a pan or sluice box and is much easier than the mine shaft methods needed in some areas.
Before you knew it I was a pro at this gravel riding stuff.
|Gravel? What gravel?|
It wasn't difficult though because there really wasn't loose gravel and almost no traffic on the road. The difficulty came when the climbing got steeper. We were huffin', puffin' and gasping as we slowly made our way up the mountain. Truth be known, we even had to walk the last little bit. Every false summit dashed our hopes that we were at the top. When I saw one more summit I determined that if this was not it, I was not going any further! It was it.
|We made it to the summit. I think we started at about 4400 feet|
We reveled in our victory for a while, had our celebratory orange pop, and fought off the horse flies. I especially was attacked by the flies and one even drew blood on my leg. Susan dug out the dreaded deet bug repellent which worked immediately.
Riding down the mountain was not difficult in pedaling, but hard on the hands to feather the brakes the whole way. We realized just how long we had been climbing as we did not move a pedal for much of the return to that very hard packed (think pavement) road.
By now it was mid afternoon and we had a few chores to do in town so we stayed in the saddle a bit longer. Too early for our planned dinner at the Montanan Steak House, we opted to enjoy an iced tea and a beer at the Lodge Inn.
On our ride home from dinner I tried to get a good shot of mama and baby deer but got a fairly bad one. But I needed at least something.
|The not so good photo of baby deer|
The day was quite fantastic! And I was so glad to not see a bear.