Author: craig kerwien

Wyoming

Northwest Wyoming
Morning shadows along the Rockefeller Memorial Parkway
East view of the Tetons
The bike insisted on this photo op…
…even tho the rear drying rack was full.
Pedaled up most of this…
…and the downhill reward was underwhelming…neither long or steep enough. Phhfft.
And immediately start another climb…this leads up to Union Pass
This section was brutally tough — 100 yards of huff and puff and pushing the bike up two feet at a time…
…and this was the payoff. Lovely high ranch land plateau at 9000ft..
…with more incline.
And finally descending into Pinedale a day later. “All the civilization you need.”
Artist mural at the Pinedale Post Office, where I picked up a resupply box.
Then cycled down to…
…Atlantic City. Population: “about 57”. Certainly not the Altantic City I grew up with.
Then it was time to cross the Great Divide Basin, along a 96 mile route with little water. So I camped at the…
…Diagnus Well for the first night to load up…
…and added to the roadside cairns for easier spotting from the road.
The trail used old wagon tracks through the basin…
…that sometimes turn into roads…
…that drift into hillside ridgelines…
…sometimes accompanied by wild horses…
…and dusty construction traffic. So not fun around Wamsutter.
Wyoming finally ended with steep inclines…
…and a brief sign off.

Southwest Montana

More highlights from the GDMBR in southwest Montana…

These next 4 shots show a 10 mile downhill towards I-15 from Butte…
…as I raced down this section…
…to beat out the incoming…
…thunderstorm. I still got wet.
South of Wise River.
A storm came through as I neared the top of this steep climb near Bannock Road…
…and quickly passed through.
~7200 ft elevation at the top.
Morning after descending from Bannock…a cattle drive came by as I was breaking down camp. One of the cowboys said they’ll need an hour to get the cattle to their pen, so take your time packing up.
Big Sheep Creek southern entrance outside Lima…also popular for birders and fly fishing.
Centennial Valley east of Lima
Centennial Valley — that’s a Golden Eagle on the telephone pole.
Centennial Valley cattle gate – I ate lunch here.
Montana was long and hard, I was glad to be done.

Idaho part II was a quick 1 day scoot, then I was into Wyoming.

Start of the GDMBR

Began the trail in Ovando then headed south for 2100 miles.
Deep into big sky country now
All-in-one: Grocery, shower, laundry, motel, and water
Bikers can stay in a jail, tepee, or sheep wagon. Local tip is to pick the wagon – it’s warmer and has fewer bugs. Night time temps were in the 40s.
Lots of climbing to do…here’s a view of the upcoming elevation profile
Delighted to spend a rest day at Barb and John’s Llama Farm – they are wonderful hosts for Divide riders!
Trail goes past an old abandoned silver mine
Wide open country…all up or down. Nothing flat.
Lava Mtn trail – this section was stupid hard, lot of hike-and-bike-and-puff. A wolf crossed the trail ~30 yards ahead of me. It took a quick glance over and kept going.
Landed at Big Butte peak…
…the day after it was used to shoot off fireworks for the Fourth of July…
…to this view of Butte.

Riding through ID and into Missoula

State line between Tekoa WA and Plummer ID
Western terminus of the Coure D’Alene Trail – a gold standard example of Rails-to-trail conversion – all paved, great condition, just 5 miles of incline at 3% grade. Lovely.
Coure D’Alene Trail – bridge crossing over Chacolet Lake
Eastern trail terminus in Mullan
Nor Pac Trail – saw a bear cub here. No mama.
Route of the Olympians just after a hail storm – a hail pellet is just smaller than an M&M
Adventure Cycling Association HQ in Missoula – beautiful offices…
…complete with secure bike parking…
…cyclists lounge with wifi, desks, beverages, ice cream…
…and visiting rider wall.

Crossing Washington

Washington was hard, particularly the central and eastern segments.

Starting off was easy: follow the I90 trail to Preston, scoot through Fall City to the Snoqualmie Valley trail, cruise through North Bend to Rattlesnake Lake, then it’s crushed gravel riding on the Palouse-to-Cascade Trail over to Hyak, Cle Elem, and Ellensburg.

Routing then becomes tricky because of the Columbia River:

  • The natural crossing for the trail would be the Beverly Bridge, which is closed due to safety concerns. Repair money just passed WA state infrastructure budget approval.
  • The Vantage Bridge is used for I90 vehicle traffic. While technically bikes are allowed to use the bridge, there is no shoulder for more than a mile, just the white lane line next to the metal guider preventing cars from going into the river. So it’s not safe. Take a look.
  • The Wenatchee Bridge is the next crossing to the north, which is our way to cross.
Heading north to the Colockum…not too bad…good prep for the Divide
Elevation ~4000ft

After reaching Wenatchee and crossing the Columbia, the route then climbs back up the steep Rock Island Grade and into ranch land before reaching Ephrata.

I won’t lie…I walked part of this.
Climb tracks away from the Columbia River
The Rock Island Grade – see the red pickup for scale
I ate lunch here
More climbing
Stream crossing…only a couple of feet deep.
Now into eastern WA along the Palouse to Cascade Bike Trail
Check out the ballast…chunky and loose.
Keep following the trail, such as it is.
Gate just tall enough to slip under
So many gates. And remember which lock combination to use…Department of Natural Resources or Fish & Wildlife?
Bogs don’t smell nice.
Sometimes easier to take the road, just don’t expect it to be flat.
Finally landing in Tekoa: free camping in the park, with water, electricity, and bathrooms.