7/1/17 Day 14 Two Rivers RV Park to Libby Dam (Dunn Creek)
Miles: 68.1. Total Miles: 691.3
After a breakfast of canned peaches, bananas, granola, and coffee, we packed up and were on the road by 7:30am. An early start is key to beating the heat. We immediately left HWY 200 and turned north up HWY 56 for about 35 miles.
We decided we needed a new word, other than “pretty” because we were saying it so much! So instead, this route was “brilliant”! Wide shoulder, light traffic. We kept seeing signs (even homemade ones) to watch for bighorn sheep...but never saw any.
We stopped for a quick snack (energy bar) with an stunning overlook of the Cabinet River and Cabinet Mountains.
View of Cabinet mountains at our snack stop
At about 11:00 am, We stopped at the rest area at the junction with HWY 2 to refill our water bottles and eat PB on bagels. I had been feeling sluggish all morning and a little light headed - so I laid down in the grass for a little rest. BINK - before I knew it, I slept for half an hour. Power nap! I felt refreshed and ready to go.
HWY 2 had heavier traffic and some big hills - in a few miles we stopped at the Kootenay Falls & Swinging Bridge. There was a forest trail that went on much longer than we thought (a mile), but we were committed to the bridge. The Kootenay is a large River and the swinging board bridge did bounce around quite a bit! Doug elected to be the photographer as I enjoyed the crossing and back.
We had a tailwind to help us along HWY 2 into Libby (about 50 miles). Libby was pretty spread out - we had lunch “Henry’s cafe” (I had a delicious small taco salad and baked potato - Doug had a Chef Salad) and we bought groceries for dinner at the store next door.
We didn’t dilly dally because it was HOT 90+ degrees and we still had 18 miles to go. We fumbled our way out of Libby to find the “Old Haul Road” (as recommended by our map) and it was a beautiful, a little rough, back road that followed the Koocanusa River. Because we were late in the day, we had shade (and a little tailwind) to help cool us off and the miles went by pretty quickly.
Dan & Becky's "cabin tent" and our little tent back in the woods
When we arrived at the campsite...all of the sites were FULL! The long miles of the day weighed us down and we were not ready to find another place to camp. As we were making the loop around the campground again, I heard someone call out to us, offering to share their campsite. A miracle! Dan and Becky had plenty of space so we found a spot in the shade of the pine trees. This was an Army Core of Engineers campsite and it was FREE - with a limit of staying 2 weeks. Dan and Becky were going to stay for the full time and had set up their hard side tent - it even had a stove in it that they could cook on. So cool - but not something that fits on a bike.
Wild Turkeys with wild turkey babies in our campground
SO HOT, we walked across the campground to the Koocanusa River to filter more water for coffee and our water bottles. Swimming was out of the question - the river was WAY too cold! We soaked our feet, dunked our heads, rinsed a our shirts and called it good.
We had a nice chat and shared their picnic table to make a dinner of bison burgers and baked beans. Wasn’t quite enough food, but it's all we had. As a precaution for bears, we hung all of our other food in a tree and we turned in early for sleep
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