Day 60 - Anaconda, MT to Hamilton, MT - Can('t) Hurt Me - CycleBlaze

July 11, 2021

Day 60 - Anaconda, MT to Hamilton, MT

Gravel grind

This morning, when the alarm went off, we just ignored it for another hour. Eventually we got up and packed away our things. Blaze's girlfriends car was back, so either he is at the hospital or made it back ok.

Smokey skies
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We made breakfast outside and didn't want to go inside for our morning poops since his place is basically a open concept studio. We all ended up pooping in various outdoor locations. We packed and left before anyone woke up. We headed back into the wind up route 1 towards skalkaho pass, which started off as an easy grade and became steeper as we approached Georgetown lake. Some locals had told us there is a spring there to drink from but we didn't find it. I think we did see a hot spring, but it was fenced off on the side of the road.

Georgetown lake is pretty big
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Since we were off route, we had a poor understanding of the elevation changes along today's ride and google doesn't do a good job for cyclists. After Georgetown lake, there was a huge descent that must have been 4 miles. It was totally unexpected and had intense mountain views.

The views going down. There was also a water pipeline traversing down the mountain to the left of this photo
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We arrived at the bottom ready to turn left on skalkaho road in no time. I figured we would have to climb back to the pass and Alex said that google predicted 2200'. In addition, 15 miles after the turn, the road turned to gravel for most of the pass.

This sign has alot of adjectives
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Things really slowed down for the uphill climb and it probably took 3 hours. We stopped at a stream about a mile from the top to have lunch and soak our feet in the water. It was ice cold and hurt to keep your feet in. I saw mark stick his head in and had to do the same. It was super refreshing and nice to get all the dirt off. The locals who had driven up seemed impressed with our progress; they guessed that it took us 3 days to summit the pass.

 After reaching the top we entered into the bitter root national forest. It was all downhill to our warm showers host in Hamilton from there. Good thing too, because we have been pretty tired even though we just had a rest day in dillon. The road was really rough on this side and there was one section that had alot of big rocks imbedded in the road.

There is a sheet cliff right behind us. I'm sure cars go off every once in a while
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I lost a bucket and had to run back up and grab it. It had no significant damage so I just strapped it back on. Alex had to keep checking that all his bags were on, and Mary's phone flew out of her bag on another rough section; luckily we think the screen protector cracked instead of the actual screen.

A view of the road on the way down
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We came to the waterfall area and the traffic after was alot heavier because of tourists just driving up to see the falls.

The falls. We heard they are much more vigorous in the spring
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All along this route there were signs warning against people taking RVs and trailers but sure enough, there were crazies towing RVs down. I was surprised they didn't lose an axle! The cars and especially trucks towing RVs kicked up so much dust that everything was coated in it. I could hardly see through my glasses and the whole bike was brown. 
We finally made it to paved road and saw mark and Alex stopped on the road. We were chilling out for a minute when we heard air coming from marks tire. He tried to plug it, but all the darts failed. He had to take the tire off and put a tube in, but luckily the tube held and we didn't have any problems the rest of the way. We arrived at our hosts home a few miles later. It was a beautiful home with a couple creeks running through the property. Jo wasn't home yet, but she left instructions for showering. We hoped in the cold creek and the took turns showering.

The small creek in the yard. It's about a foot deep and almost silent
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Jo and Craig got back from rafting the river while we were eating dinner. We ate all of our emergency foods that night so we would be riding into Missoula light tomorrow. After dinner we hung out with them on their porch. We talked about everything from politics, the weather's fires, and rafting. Jo and her late husband built the house and it has so much character. I got alot of inspiration for working on the inside of the tiny house. We camped in the yard with no rain fly. We wouldn't have set up the tent except for the stories about rattlesnakes. It was nice to listen to the creek overnight.

Altitude gain:3500

Today's ride: 70 miles (113 km)
Total: 3,161 miles (5,087 km)

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Susan CarpenterHey Jordan - I used to live in Hamilton and would often take visitors over Skalkaho pass - always by car, with hands clutching the steering wheel. I can only imagine what a wild and woolly ride it was! Well done!
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