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I woke up and it was light outside already. I had to piss so bad but I didn’t want to get out of the bivy. I was still wore out from the night before. I managed to fall back asleep, only to be awoken again but the sudden urge to piss. There was no messing around this time. I had to get up!
I started getting dressed and noticed that my bivy and down sleeping bag were soaked. In my late night stupor I thought I found a spot that had adequate cover, but I was wrong. All my gear was wet. Shoes, socks, gloves, everything. I had a thirty mile ride into Whitefish ahead of me, mostly downhill. There’s nothing worse than wearing cold and wet clothes while descending. I packed up but decided to put on my rain layers. This helped to block the wind chill on my fingers and toes.
The ride into Whitefish was really nice. Better than my mood. The night before had really taken it’s toll on me. The energy burnt in frustration, fear and nervousness wore me down. I couldn’t get to Whitefish and a hot meal fast enough.
A huge omelette and four glasses of orange juice later and I was back on the move. The plan was to get to a town that had a motel so that I could dry out my gear overnight. Hopefully one close to a climb so that I could start the climb the following morning. Unfortunately there wasn’t much to choose from between Whitefish and the next climb out of Ferndale. I made my way to Swan River and stopped to look at the maps outside of a small cafe. A gentleman came over and asked where I was headed, which when told Mexico, is usually followed with a head scratch. He told me that he owned the cafe and would like to buy me lunch, but I’d have to act quick as they were closing in five minutes. I thanked him but told him that it was against the rules. He didn’t understand and seemed to take offense to me turning down his kind gesture. In our brief conversation though he told me about a couple motels in Big Fork.
Big Fork sits on the edge of the Flathead Lake and is two miles off course. It would make for a short day, only about seventy-three miles for the day, but I decided that would be my best plan and made my way there. In hind-sight I think I should’ve done the sixty-five miles to the next refuel at Holland Lake Lodge, but at the time it seemed impossible.
Once at Big Fork I checked in to a motel, grabbed some food and set about drying my sleeping bag. I also was able to wash my clothes and clean up. To say that felt good is an understatement. The day seemed to drag on though, knowing that I could’ve been riding. Should’ve been riding! The convenience of a motel only does some good. I would quickly learn that staying in a motel is a huge time suck. To top it off, this would be the worst night of sleep for me. There’s something special about pushing yourself all day and climbing in your bivy in the woods. You just can’t capture it in a motel.