Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Eureka to Polebridge

     My dad called it the Lake Tear of the Clouds Maneuver, our bypass from Canmore, Alberta to Eureka, Montana. The weather being what it was, we all decided that Canada would be a bad idea, especially since the freezing temperatures was in the forecast for longer than we planned to be there for. Our pass back into the states was uneventful, our bear mace strapped to our bikes right in plain sight, the border patrolman noticing only that we were ready to be back in the country, our eager/ exhausted faces all turned towards him, giving him grateful smiles.
      As we made our way into Eureka, unable to submit ourselves to the multiple seedy hotels along Hwy 93, we headed west six miles towards a town called Rexford. After driving past the turn off for it multiple times, mistaking it for an RV park entrance, we drove down in, scoffing at the idea of finding a place to stay in a town so small. My dad hauled himself out of the truck, into the mercantile to inquire about nearby accommodations, my mom and I shaking our heads at his aimless attempt. After a few minutes, my dad and a stout, burly man walk out of the store, passing in front of the truck and into the building next door. After outbursts of, "There's no way!" and "It can't be!" my dad and the man walk out of the building, both pleased with themselves. As they got the room ready, we went to the neighboring restaurant, feasting on homemade fried chicken and chargrilled ribeyes. Once we sauntered over to the room, fishing our overnight bags from the back of the truck, the burly man renting us the room came out of the store, stood behind my parents with their heads still in the cabin of the truck and waited. I watched as he stood there awkwardly, waiting for my parents to notice his presence and most likely would have until I couldn't take it anymore and called to them, "Uhm, guys," nodding my head to the man. He smiled, scratched his cheek and said, "Hey, I just wanted to thank you guys for coming in the store." We all grinned at him, our eyes wide at the surprise of the hospitality of this man and the hidden gem that what we at first thought was only an RV park. 
Our second day on the trail started in Eureka. That morning, we climbed a few miles out of town, flattened out around mile ten and started climbing again up towards Whitefish Pass. As we wove our way along the gravelly, craggy road, we crested the top of the pass and found ourselves in the middle of the beastly mountains, a portion of the trees on our right side leveled where an avalanche had come through the previous winter. The ride down the pass gave us the speed we lost on the climb up and in no time we found ourselves in the small town of Polebridge. A cabin with two double beds and a roaring fire waited for us, all our bags and food deposited within, my mother proudly displaying our home for the night.
                                             view from canmore, alberta motel after day one. 

rock scaling along the highway
 rexford, mt
 eureka, mt before the start of the climb
 avalanche aftermath
 whitefish divide

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