I woke to a cold fog and amazingly, after complaining
about intense heat just 72 hours earlier, my hands
were numb with cold over the first 5 miles. Then
the only real climb of the day, in the early morning,
warmed me up for good.
I found traffic again, throngs of tourists visiting
Radium Hot Springs and Fairmont Hot Springs, two
places converted from their natural states to basically
heated swimming pools. The Highway 93 corridor going
south towards Montana is a busy place, with golfing,
jet boating, etc. and its hard to beleive I was staring
at high alpine wildernes and glaciers one day earlier.
I have crossed so many rivers in the trip that I’ve often
been uncertain where I am in the grand scheme of North
American geography. I crossed right by the headwaters
of the Columbia River. I had expected for such an
amazing river to have its origins is some remote wilderness
area. Instead it originates at Canal Flats, an old mill
town whose sawmill has closed. At least I found an RV
I could settle into for the next few decades. Its top
ornament suits me well!
The good pedaling finally returned later in the day as
the road cleared out and I entered what sure feels like
the inter-mountain west….beef cattle farms, irrigated
alfalfa fields, and barbed wire. I found a break in
the ‘No Trespassing’ signs and pitched my tent on the
banks of the Kootenay River as a pack of coyotes started
howling from across the river. Here’s a short video clip
of pedaling through the hot dry grassland in the river valley.