Day 6: Seeley Lake – Holland Lake

Was planning to stay at the Holland Lake Lodge tonight that everyone raves about, but I called ahead and they are booked with a wedding this weekend! Bummer – I’ve heard so many good things about it. But there is also a campground at Holland Lake so I’ll probably stay there.

John and I met for breakfast and rode together today. It was a good day to have a riding partner as we were entering “Grizzly Alley” :
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This area is a valley sandwiched between highway 83 on the west and the Bob Marshall Wilderness (“the Bob”) on the east. It is basically the closest you can get a mountain bike to the Bob. Here is a view down valley looking south. Look closely and you can see the dirt road we rode up:
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After a few miles of climbing the road ends at a group of boulders, which you ride around to get onto the Most Awesome Singletrack EVER
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One drawback was that in some places the trees were so close on either side that you got scratched as you rode. John got a really nasty one on one leg.
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We make for the Gap of Rohan! πŸ™‚
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We saw one biker coming the other way. He was a local so he didn’t have packs, but I did notice that he had bear spray strapped to him!

We stopped for lunch as we crested the top and had a tremendous view to the north. (At this point the roadbed had washed out and was only as wide as the trail for a few yards. We surmised that this is why the road was closed.) That small body of water might be Holland Lake ; the snow capped peaks are the Mission Mountains, which are on the west side of the Swan Valley.
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After a while we came to the end of the singletrack and resumed on a dirt road. Then there ensued a ridiculously fast and long downhill. A road change or two and suddenly John looked at his gps and announced that we had gotten off the route. Backtracked about a mile; how could we have missed this? πŸ™‚
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Eventually we ended up at Holland Lake.
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Not only was the Lodge full, so was the campground! So we rode up the highway a bit looking for the town of Condon. We passed a restaurant that john wanted to eat at, but I was determined to find lodging first so I pressed onward. Well, the hotel that was supposed to be there no longer exists. At the town center “, which is really just a convenience store with showers and a few ridiculously overpriced, crappy cabins, I was told of a B&B that was “a mile and a half, if that” further up the road. The guy let me use the phone to call them and they had room, so I decided to go for it. At this point I realized that I was not going to return to the restaurant that john was at so I grabbed a Costco chicken bake before I left. πŸ™‚ Good thing too, because the B&B was actually TWO and a half miles. Doesn’t sound like a big difference but when you’re on a bike and you’re not sure where you’re going, it’s quite aggravating. I didn’t see John until the next day because when he left the restaurant, he became dejected at not finding stuff where it was supposed to be, so he turned back to the official route. As it turns out, there was another road about 2 miles beyond the B&B that cut over to the official route so I did not have to backtrack the next day.

The B&B was fantastic. It’s called “Standing Rock” because the grounds are littered with giant rocks that the owner has collected from nearby logging roads and stood on end. Very bizarre. A beautiful pond has a huge pile of large boulders that a fountain spills from. The rooms were very nice, price was reasonable, and breakfast was incredible. Also, the owner is a pro b&w film photographer, and the walls are covered with his work.

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