Day 11: Polebridge – Fish Creek Campground

Had a very good night’s sleep at the hostel. Here are the “cabins” behind the hostel, which are really just a bunch of old trailers that have been parked there. To say that this place is funky is an understatement!

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First thing this morning, after using the lovely outdoor plumbing, was a ride down to the Merc to get breakfast. Polebridge, it turns out, is the gateway to the northwest corner of the park, and the bakery is packed with hikers and other park visitors.

Then back to the hostel to clean and lube my chain. The road here are incredibly dusty, and by yesterday my chain was so dirty it was making grinding noises and sometimes skipping. Luckily Oliver, the hostel owner, had some chain lube.  When I left it looked and sounds like new again.

Since today’s ride is a short 30 miles, I took a detour to see Bowman Lake. It was a steep climb of about 800 feet on a bumpy road with a lot of traffic. But it is pretty :

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The creature from Bowman Lake

On the way back I stopped at the Polebridge ranger station again to ask about the road closure sign I had seen. No problem for a bike, I was told. Ha!

Here’s the historic Polebridge ranger station built in 1922.

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It survived the fire in the late 90s but the namesake bridge was not so lucky and had to be rebuilt. BTW the bathrooms in that ranger station are the finest in Polebridge. 🙂

After riding along for awhile I finally got some nice views of the north fork of the Flathead River. That’s one enormous river!

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Look at how clear that water is!

But alas the road doesn’t follow the river liked I hoped it would, and I spent most of the time riding in heavy forest.  Traffic dropped to zero once I passed the quartz creek Campground and finally I came to the closure.

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Note the smaller sign in front that says Ok for hikers and bikers. The fine print says, basically,  “don’t even think of going in here alone. ” oops! It was pretty freaky riding through the heavy forest and I was ringing my bell like a streetcar! Lol
So it turns out there are lots of downed trees on the closed road, which are a real pain in the butt when your bike weighs 60 pounds!

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Also the road kept crossing large creeks, which means big downhills to the bridge and then big up hills on the other side of each creek.

The weather forecast was 90% chance of a thunderstorm and sure enough it started to rain on me. It felt good because it was such a hot day.

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However, as it got heavier I decided to stop and put on my rain jacket. No sooner had I done so, the sun came out and I was roasting.
Here I am crossing Dutch Creek.  See how sunny it is again? .

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You can see the evidence of the forest fire all around.

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Finally I made it to the other end of the road closure!

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Within a mile I was at the fish Creek Campground. $8 for a hiker or biker including a shower! Fish Creek runs right into Lake McDonald.

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