Days mileage: 100 miles
Our free loafing at the Marriot hotel expired right after I finished swalling the last oversized chunk of blueberry muffin from the continental breakfast bar....Stephan and I rolled on out around 7:30 am seein the weather report was indicating a good chance that 100 degree temps would be felt by most of the human population that resided in Montana. So, we made haste to chase down as many miles of pavement as possible before our bodies screamed that they had had enough for the time being....
I'll just say here that Missoula itself was a bit of a let-down-town. Not sure if I had just romanticized it a lot while re-reading "A River Runs Through It"....or if things changed a lot from that time era....prob a nice proportion of both...
Anyways, both our legs were still pretty dead and neither of us felt like pushing the pace any more than was necessary to prevent us from losing balance and falling into 65 mph traffic flows...and it seemed like before we knew it we were eating lunch in an amazing little town (about 3,000 homosapiens reside there) that had the best bakery in the world (A Place To Ponder). They also had a great bike shop, great place to eat lunch, and a lot of fly-fishing shops. The day was gettin hot, and rather quickly by the time we took a knee to rest...we were pleased to have gotten in 51 miles before lunch time...good deal.
Our goal was to get to a town about 40 miles away called Sula that was at the base of a long climb we were also wishing to summit before days end. But, seeing how hot the day was we decided to coast on through those 40 miles and rest until about 7pm at the little town of Sula.
During the ride out towards Sula we starred in wild wonder at the destruction caused by a forest fire (the local townfolk point the finger of blame towards bolts of lighting). The destruction of mountainside and forest alike stretched for miles and miles and miles with no clear end insight unitl the town of Sula.
I soon came to find out how neat of a town Sula was...it had a population of 50 folks, one convenience store, and a camping area...oh...and a mini-golf course that redefines the term "miniature golf course." But, perhaps, the best part of this town is that a river flowed right behind the convenience store...and that's when I got to talkin with the lady behind the registar about whether or not it was alright to fish such waters where Montana trout may be waiting for such a fisherman as myself to sacrifice themselves to. "Yeh...I don't care...you can fish where ever you want to...just go 'round back and follow the deer path that leads down to the river and there's a good hole right there."
I jaunted out to me velo, rigged up me fly-rod, tied on a Muddler Minnow, and started to walk...lets just say...quickly towards the river (it was more like an all out sprint seein how excited I was to fish some hours of Montana summer heat away...Stephen chilled out in the A.C. reading a book I think while I chilled out in the waters).
I stumbled in the river and made a few casts. The current was swift and the river flowed wide. It took me a cast or two to find my rythm again, but once I did...well, that's when I landed my first native, wild Cutthroat trout. It faught pretty damn hard and was refusing to be pulled up and out of it's familiar world of water. I was pretty excited. I had caught a fish in Montana....a dream come true to say the least and I was ready to call it a day when I just figured I'd cast for a good while more while the temps were still near 100+ degrees.
I ended up landing 1 more Cutthroat trout and one 15" rainbow trout that nearly broke my arm off while I tried to reel him (or her) in. It was a pretty dandy experience to say the least.
By this point in the day I was pretty damn full of myself and thought I was unstoppable....not b/c I had caught wild, native trout in Montana...but b/c I caught those fish wearing spandex biking shorts and a biking jersey....there were about 6 fishermen (all decked out from head to toe in their finest of Orvis attire) who def scoffed at me as they went by figuring I had no idea how to even figure out how the river even flowed...boo-yah!
But then I realized I had to step down from 'Cloud 9' and still had a long climb up Chief Joseph Pass (Elevation of 7,200 feet) before the days end. So Stephen and I clipped into our pedals and were off. We were soon exchanging similar statements about how glad we were that we waited until 7:45 pm to climb this monster of a climb seein how cool it was now...hurrah for common sense, eh?
It took us about 2 hours to reach some rest stop right near the top (just over 7,000 feet) and figured we'd best call it a night there seein it was, basically, dark. We pulled into the parking lot area and were suddenly greeted by..not one...not two...not three...but (drum roll).....20,000,000,000 mosquitos and they were all lookin to get the better half of Stephen and myself. Though the temperature was quite nice we were forced to retreat to snug fit of our spandex pants, several layers of long sleeved garmets, a hat, and a towel around the neck.
We pitched tent, inhaled all the pasta we had packed up and retreated to our tent for the night.
2:30Am....I found it odd when I awoke to the sound of rain hammering away relentlessly on our tents. The skies were clear with stars everywhere the eyes might wish to wander...very odd....that's when things started to click into place and I was fully awake realizing that we had pitched our tents on a plot of grass that looked too good to be true to begin with and the rain was nothing more than automatic sprinklers that were just doing their job. I took some comfort in our stupidity, excused it hastily with our excuse of being eaten alive, and dove back into a deep slumber that not even automatic sprinklers could pry from my grip....