Scott was talking to his parents on the phone last night. I overheard, “So, what’s your plan from here?”
Scott answered, “We’re going to wake up tomorrow, the sun’s going to come out, the roads are going to dry out, and we’re going to ride to Waterton.”
Sometimes plans just work out superbly.
I was the first to succumb to having to pee in the morning and peered out the bathroom window. “I see blue!” I said excitedly. “It’s a tiny patch, but it’s definitely blue!”
The snow had stopped, the clouds were clearing, it was going to be a beautiful day of bike riding, if a bit cold.
Breakfast. Discover that the shuttle from the border to East Glacier wouldn’t take bikes, decide that was an issue for another day. Pack. Roll out.
It was four miles to the turn off towards Waterton. The snow was melting fast, massive chunks dropping off the still green aspens. No one was ready for winter yet! From there, 14 miles of mostly climbing towards Chief Mountain Pass. The views were off the hook. The cows provided endless entertainment. We could see south for miles into the imposing peaks of Glacier. Spires, rocks, huge, huge peaks.
The border crossing went easily and we were magically transported into an otherworldly land. The peaks got twice as big, twice as dramatic, and stretched out in every direction.
We made it to Canada!
18 more miles brought us to Waterton proper. We spent the whole approach to the park marveling at the giant peaks. I’ve never finished a trip in such a spectacular place.
Arriving at 3, we debated trying to knock the hike out in the afternoon, but we would have been rushing, and anyhow, we were hungry. Instead, we booked our shuttle to the border (thank you Canadian shuttles for taking bikes!), checked into our motel room (the heater cranks!), and went out for lunch.
We decided it would be a good idea to see where our trail tomorrow started in order to decide whether to ride or walk to it in the morning. We wandered along the lake’s edge, eyes turned upwards to the imposing peaks, eventually finding the trailhead.
We’re riding, we decided as we barely made it back to our room. Walking without the support of a bike may prove to be difficult. 8 miles roundtrip…this could be the hardest part of the trip.
It hasn’t really sunk in that for all practical purposes, we’re done. We pulled this thing off. 4 months to the day.
Tomorrow, we go there.