June 12 (late afternoon)
The rain turned to wet snow in the afternoon. By the time I reached
Logan Pass it was snowing hard. In fact, the park service wouldn’t let cars go over the mountain. They closed down the highway. When I was in line with the rest of the cars, waiting to finish biking the Going-To-The-Sun-Highway, I had to make a decision, “Do I sit in the snow, or do I try the to bicycle over the pass?” Nobody said anything about stopping bicycles from climbing the 6600-foot pass, so I ducked under the chain and started peddling. At first I felt really proud. The scenery was beautiful and I had the road to myself. After an hour though, the snow made bicycling impossible. I got off my bike and pushed it through the snow and up the mountain. I knew I had made the wrong decision when in order to keep the snow and sleet from burning my skin, I had to keep my face pointed towards the ground. I couldn’t go back down. I hated to backtrack. When it got so bad I found myself with one hand on my bicycle and the other clutching at rocks to keep from being blown off the mountain, I began to wonder if I would live to tell my story.
As I was getting close to the top, I saw a pickup truck parked in an
emergency pull off. If I could make it to the truck I would be safe.
The driver, an Indian, welcomed me with a smile (or was it a smirk,
I’m not sure). He worked for the park service, and it was his job to
radio in the weather conditions from the top of the pass. Together we waited out the storm, and then he drove me over the pass and dropped me on the other side a mile down the highway. I was still walking my bike through four inches of snow when a van pulled up and offered me a ride. The van had been in the front of the line when they let some of the cars cross over the mountain. I got a ride all the way to where Going-To-The-Sun-Highway met Highway 17, another twenty miles down the road. I found out later the pass was only open for thirty minutes before they had to close it again. I was lucky to get a ride.
On Highway 17 I biked north, and then under a heavy rain pulled into a small gas station. I took shelter under an overhang at the rear of the station. The owner of the station seemed to want to help me, so after we talked a little, he offered me a job. He was putting in a trailer park and needed some painting done. The way I felt, I wasn’t about to say no.
I was in a two-bed bunkhouse sitting on the bed. Todd, the inhabitant of the other bed, was outside pumping gas. The rain had pretty much stopped, but it was still very cold and windy outside. There was no heat or water in the bunkhouse, but it still felt like heaven. When I left I would have to go back into the park where it was still raining and snowing. That thought was so depressing.
Tom, the owner of the gas station, offered me a day’s work. Maybe I could turn it into a few more, or at least make it last until this
damn weather breaks.