The third week of our journey down the GDMBR was book-ended by rest days. One end was our day off in Eureka before Rachel’s parents came to join us for 6 days on the trail, and on the other end we were extracted from the trail for 2 days off in Lakeside, MT at Sydney and Jack’s beautiful home on Flathead Lake. We pedaled from Eureka to Holland Lake in Condon, MT before being whisked away in Jim’s truck. Between Whitefish and Big Fork, the route was mostly pavement and flat, but the rest was forestry roads with daily climbs.
The second week of our summer-long trip down the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route took us from Ghost Station Campground near Cochrane, AB, through British Columbia and across the international border into Eureka, MT. We had a relaxing day in Canmore, and then headed north along the highway before looping back to the South, returning to the mountains and mining towns south of Banff.
The first week of our summer-long GDMBR tour took us from Jasper National Park to Ghost Station Campground just west of Cochrane, AB. The riding varied from singletrack to dirt roads to pavement. Primarily, though, the route took us on what is locally referred to as the Forestry Trunk (not truck, although there are lots of them at times) Road, all the way from Hinton to near Cochrane. Between Hinton and Nordegg, the road was wide and heavily used by logging trucks. The sky was clear and the road was very wide so we felt like we were baking in the sun and the dust from the road was sticking all over us.
Dust billows upwards as another logging truck careens past us. I pull my handkerchief up over my nose and mouth as I hit the wall of dust it leaves behind. Ahead, I see a glimmer, and I realize that the sun is reflecting off of glass- the windshield of a second logging truck. I wonder if he can see us through the cloud of dust left by the first truck. At the last moment, he must spot us, because he swerves right to give us some room.
With only a week to go before driving west towards the start of our summer on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, we hit pause on packing up our apartment and set sail for Burlington, VT. We chose Burlington primarily because Charity, Casey, and Julie were running the Vermont City Marathon, but also because we had set aside time to test ourselves and our gear on a last-minute shakeout tour. The route we rode is known as the Green Mountain Gravel Growler, and is composed of 250 miles of Vermont dirt roads and singletrack-goodness. We only had 3 days for the ride, so we planned to ride a 100 mile sub-loop.