Day 4. Lost Trail Pass into Montana

After three days of riding and fretting about my bike tour fitness, I’ve now decided that it’s a much better plan to focus on pedaling rather than worrying. This approach makes the day better.

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Today was a fantastic ride up Lost Trail Pass from North Fork, an area that the Lewis and Clark Expedition traversed back in 1805. We’ve spent the last two days in land covered by their trip, and today I was overwhelmed by the acute sense of history that grasped me in these mountains.

I could not imagine traversing these daunting climbs without a road in sight, but rather the rivers, mountains, and sun as your guide.

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The area around Lost Trail Pass is one of the only parts of the Lewis and Clark Expedition that is subject to some question in terms of routing. There are a few theories, but no one knows exactly how all of them managed to cross through this area.

As for us, we took the highway, Idaho 93. It was quite a nice, if lengthy, scramble to the summit. The grade of the road was around 5 percent, a slant that makes for a good workout, but allows for decent progress over 25 rising miles.

After entering Montana immediately after the Lost Trail Pass summit, we were treated to a brief rain shower. So good thing we brought those rain jackets. Sure would hate to haul them around for two weeks and never put them to use.

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The second half of our day was valley riding, until we decided to take the “old road” into Hamilton. This serene gravel road ascended above the valley to open up wide views down to the Bitterroot (?) River. It was a beautiful way to end our 72-mile day.

I often find myself second-guessing the way and place I’ve chosen to live. I’m not tough enough, not living authentically enough, not pushing myself hard enough, not living in the right place.

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Today, pedaling this area around Idaho and Montana with Felkerino, I experienced a brief and satisfying moment of acceptance– that everything I have is enough. Life is as it should be and it’s really all okay. Sometimes it’s best not to worry so. Bike tours are good for the soul like that.

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