Day 16: Lowlands Campground to Divide Bridge Campground

Miles: 58

Climbing: 3600 ft

Miles to date: 729

I was so exhausted/destroyed from yesterday that I slept super well last night, and woke up to no rain. Now of course, the rain started about 5 minutes later, so I just went back to sleep. Whatever. Early morning starts are for suckers.

I stayed half-awake, listening for enough of a break to pack up super quick, and when it finally came I threw all my (very wet) stuff onto my bike and got the heck outta there.

I didn’t even eat breakfast or make coffee, knowing Butte was only about 15 miles away. Because of all of yesterday’s climbing, the ride into Butte was mercifully a descent, on only slightly muddy roads.

The weather cleared up quickly, so I was in pretty good spirits rolling into Butte. Coming into town, I looked for somewhere to eat, and was surprised to find myself looking for easy fast food. I had eaten at tons of little cafes and local restaurants, and at this moment, I just wanted a place to shovel as many calories into my face as possible without having to make conversation with a waiter. (Again, surprising, considering I spend all day alone and talking to no one, but the heart wants what the heart wants).

Heading out of Butte was uneventful, and the one big climb of the day felt relatively easy compared to the misery of yesterday. The summit of the day’s climb was absolutely gorgeous, as was the descent, through fields and interesting rock formations of various colors.

At the bottom, I had a decision to make: head up the “legendary” Fleecer Ridge Pass, or skip it and take the flat, shorter, paved Divide alternate. After yesterdays bullshit misery (and reading “hike-a-bike” in the Adventure Cycling description of the Fleecer Ridge route), I decided I deserved the break, and coasted into the Divide Bridge campground, completely skipping one of the most infamous passes of the Divide.

(The only regret I feel about this decision comes from the news from other riders that Fleecer was apparently wayyyy easier than Lava Mtn the day before.)

The Divide Bridge campground was right on the Big Hole River, which is famous for fly fishing. It also had these awesome picnic table overhangs that I really could have used on the rainy previous night.

It ALSO had the worst infestation of mosquitoes I’ve literally ever experienced. Almost 2 miles away I started getting attacked while riding, which is unusual—-my back and legs were already covered with bites as I pulled into camp. I made the best of it, wearing my hat, gloves, rain jacket, and rain pants, which served as a pretty good mosquito deterrent. I sat in my tent a lot, too, while drying out all my wet stuff from the night before.

My mosquito deterrent suit

All in all a good day, ESPECIALLY compared to the day before.

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