Everyone who glimpses Cold Mountain
starts complaining about insane winds,
about a look human eyes can’t endure
and a shape nothing but tattered robes.
They can’t fathom these words of mine.
Theirs I won’t even mention. I just tell
all those busy people bustling around:
come face Cold Mountain for a change.
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home
We could have come so very far, in at least as many years
I spent some time in Butte gathering some needed supplies and replacing some items that were not up for the rigor of bikepacking. It was a hot day, with big puffy clouds and as I rode out of town in the late morning a fierce wind began to pick up.This wind would dog me for the bulk of the days journey. There was a decent amount of time spent on pavement today, first riding out of Butte and then climbing into these hills above the town. But after descending the route turned up a canyon and eventually onto a dirt side road.
This gravel road gently climbed into the Basin watershed and up into National Forest land where the CDT crossed. Views of mountain ranges, sage meadows, and a big rust colored butte surrounded one as the route descended into this valley. Riding these gravel roads isn’t and end in and of itself, though I suppose for some it might be. The reason I ride them is that they can take you to places you couldn’t get to otherwise. The ride down from the CDT here is a case in point. Absolutely stunning scenery and you are right there in the midst of it
Things became more rocky, with large outcropping which ha almost a southwestern flair. The road was softer dirt now and was tougher to maintain control in. There was another climb out of this valley and then a long hot descent on this soft dirt all the way down to the highway.Turning right into the wind the route climbed the arms of Mount Fleecer. This followed a joyful creek as it ascended. The wind really gusted as I crossed the valley and now only the bulk of the mountain kept it out of my face as I climbed. The wind and the heat of this day plus the late start made me decide to camp at Beaver Dam Campground right before one of the most challenging sections of the route. We will save that for tomorrow morning!