Day 17: Divide Bridge Campground to Bannack State Park

Miles: 68

Climbing: 3271 ft

Today was unique for two reasons: First, it was 100% on pavement. Second, in an attempt to conserve battery life, I did not listen to podcasts or an audiobook. So, silent pavement with just my own thoughts to accompany me. And I didn’t go mad!

Left Divide and rode through the Big Hole River valley—many nice river scenes:

I stopped at the Wise River Mercantile for a quick resupply. There are lots of these types of places around the route—convenience store with simple groceries, basic supplies, and a few camping/outdoor stuff like clif bars and camp fuel. The sweet lady at the checkout had me sign the guest book, and a I recognized a couple names of those ahead of me.

Then, I set out on the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway—a nice paved road that slowly climbed up and up through a forested valley in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.

At the top of the pass were a series of beautiful meadows. I stopped for lunch at Crystal Park, which is a spot where people come to pan for quartz crystals.

The ride down from this pass was a SUPER fun fast downhill on the paved road, only slightly marred by my fear of a truck swinging along behind me on one of the turns.

I ended up heading all the way to Bannack State Park—the end of the day was uneventful, except that it was very remote, with no services for the next few days. The big open spaces I was entering also meant my first real experience on the trip with wind—-a couple of miles of mild headwind reminded me that wind can be a huge pain in the ass, haha. In lots of the mountainous areas I’ve been traveling through till now, wind hasn’t been much of an issue…..(posting this several days later, this evening was a strong foreshadowing of things to come ☠️).

I got into Bannack state Park, not knowing what to expect, and it turned out to be an old ghost town with a visitor center! I arrived just as they were closing and was able to grab some snacks and a cold drink. In addition, there was well-appointed campground (Electric! Water!). A pleasant surprise. There was a tepee you could stay in, but it cost a lot more, so I just took some photos ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .

CAMP LIFE

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