Day 11: Holland Lake- Ovando

(July 4th 🇺🇸)

Miles: 63

Climbing: 4970ft

Before I get started on today, I want to make a PSA: USING YOUR STUPID PHOTO DRONE AT 10PM OVER A CAMPGROUND MAKES YOU AN ASSHOLE.

Anywho, today was a super good day. Even if a stupid drone made it hard to sleep last night. (I go to bed at like 9pm most nights—because I’m pretty far north still, I literally haven’t seen the stars yet on this trip.)

Waking up, there was this amazing fog and mist rising over the lake.

I eventually got moving and headed up a big climb, which was…..climby, I guess. My legs/knees have been feeling a bit better and saddle much better.

Once I got up the hill a bit, I was rewarded with some really great views.

All the beautiful nature was making me feel a little patriotic…..but listening to a heart-wrenching podcast on family separation at the border cured that pretty quickly.

Once I reached the top of the hill, HOLY MOLY! Probably my favorite stretch of trail so far–fantastically fun singletrack, beautiful open views, and really interesting landscape and plant life caused by fires.

There were a couple of really magical moments during the day, too, like riding through a path flanked by wildflowers and stirring up thousands of butterflies.

I would also go through these sections where dandelion wisps (or something similar) would be floating all around like I was on Avatar or something.

And, just some incredible sights:

As well as some terrifying edges where I 100% got off and walked.

Once I got off the mountain I went into the town of Seeley Lake for some food, and walked smack dab into their 4th of July Parade. This was fine with me, since it meant all the restaurants were empty.

I kind of got a bad taste of the town, as I arrived just as a giant Trump 2020 float was going by, and then a woman pointed at me and started talking about how annoying/stupid/crazy cyclists were, and then had a dog chase me, and then I almost got hit by a truck. So………the fried chicken lunch was great, the town? Mehhhhh.

Got back on the trail super full of chicken, but still had about 25 miles to get to Ovando. It ended up being a fine ride, if a little sluggish. I passed 3 NOBO riders, one of whom who was racing.

Ovando is a super cute (super small) town that has a reputation for being really welcoming to cyclists on the Divide, and it lived up to it! There’s a general store that offers (excellent) showers and laundry, and you can camp pretty much anywhere in the town square. They also have a tepee, old wagon, and bunks in the old timey town jail where cyclists can sleep. I unfortunately was too late and all those were full (lots of cyclists!!), so I set up my tent right in the town square. No biggie!

I’m dumb and didn’t take any photos of this cute little place. You’ll just have to go visit and find out for yourself!

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