The Beauty of the Tour Divide
Now that I’m housebound here in rain-soaked Northern California, I can resume posting about the
Tour Divide, the 2,700-mile Canada-Mexico adventure of a lifetime I finished five months ago. I even brought the notepad I was scribbling on in my one-person tent under the glow of a one-LED finger light each night just so I could transcribe its daily notes while I’m on vacation.
In July and August, I mainly posted about “look at how ridiculous/difficult/nutso this race was,” so this time I thought I’d begin posting about how scenic the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is. Here are scenery photos from the Tour Divide. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever done.
The start of the Tour Divide mountain bike race at the trailhead in Banff, AB. This would be the last time I would see many of the racers. [Day 1, Mile 36] Riding with racer Kevin Hall and, briefly, Andy Buchanan (I think) on a gravel access road near Banff National Park. [Day 2, Mile ~100] Riding again with Kevin Hall through the Canadian Rockies north of Elkford, British Columbia. [Day 2, Mile ~120] Some of the best scenery of the entire race was through the Canadian Rockies. [Day 2, Mile ~120] Rocky trail by a river south of Elkford, BC. [Day 2, Mile ~145] Don't worry, I didn't break the speed limit here in Sparwood, BC. [Day 2, Mile 187] Twilight at Baynes Lake, BC. [Day 3, Mile 247] Approaching the Whitefish Divide in Montana. [Day 3, Mile 257] Beautiful trail through the Flathead National Forest in Montana. [Day 3, Mile 286] Hike-a-bike from this section until I stopped for the night at Red Meadow Lake (2 miles later), where I encountered Kevin Hall in his tent. [Day 4, Mile 317] Whitefish, Montana had nice homes with views. [Day 5, Mile ~425] Riding through grassy meadows straddling between the Swan and Mission Mountains in northwestern Montana. [Day 5, Mile 443] Snow-covered Richmond Peak in northwestern Montana. [Day 6, Mile 540] Sunset over the Helena National Forest in Montana. [Day 9, Mile ~825] Long but rocky descent east of the Medicine Lodge-Big Sheep Creek Divide through "Big Sky Country" west of Lima, MT. [Day 10, Mile 938] Finally made it into northeastern Idaho. Gorgeous! [Day 10, Mile 954] Flowers all over northeastern Idaho with the Tetons in the distance. [Day 11, Mile 997] Cranky in front of the Grassy Lake Reservoir along the John D. Memorial Parkway through the Targhee National Forest in Wyoming. [Day 11, Mile 1020] Jackson Lake, Wyoming with the Grand Tetons in the distance. [Day 11, Mile 1046] Horses near the Turpin Meadow Campground in the Teton Wilderness of Wyoming. [Day 14, Mile ~1320] Through the Great Divide Basin of southern Wyoming. [Day 15, Mile 1424] Riding by a huge snowbank 30 miles south of Rawlins, WY, near the Sierra Madres. [Day 15, Mile 1448] Aspen Alley, just 18 miles north of Colorado. Very beautiful! [Day 16, Mile 1500] Through the Routt National Forest of northern Colorado. [Day 17, Mile 1678] Going towards the top of Boreas Pass (elevation: 11,482 feet) southeast of Breckenridge, CO. [Day 17, Mile 1693] Historic Como, CO, and into South Park. [Day 17, Mile 1767] Descent into Salida, CO with numerous Fourteeners in the distance. [Day 18, Mile 1803] Mellow descent through the Gunnison National Forest just past Marshall Pass (elevation: 10,842') in southern Colorado. [Day 18, Mile ~1875] Going by the Rio Grande National Forest in southern Colorado, towards Carnero Pass. [Day 19, Mile 1971] Approaching Platoro in southern Colorado. [Day 24, Mile 2187] Screaming descent towards Cuba, NM. [Day 25, Mile ~2370] Nice mountain views about 15-20 miles north of Pie Town, NM. [Day 26, Mile ~2510] Going through the wretched Gila Wilderness where I faced mud and monsoons. [Day 27.5, Mile ~2600] Through no-man's land south of Silver City, NM with monsoons again. [Day 27.5, Mile 2624] No more off-roading and just 65 miles to the Mexican border on State Hwy. 81, "The Lonely Highway." It was also the loneliest finish ever but totally worth it!