Day 8: Holland Lake to Ovando

After a great nights rest and figuring out a bear storage hack, we got a relatively early start to what the guide book said would be a tough day. After a few miles we began the long climb up to the infamous northeast flank of Richmond Peak. About halfway up the climb we passed a couple of riders and shortly thereafter came around a switchback, where we saw a huge grizzly in the middle of the road about 50-60 yards away. We shouted at the bear to let it know we were there, and it just stopped and starred at us for a few seconds, then meandered off into the woods. We thought it best to wait for the other two riders and proceed with the strength of numbers, since that was an option. We rode with the couple, who turned out to be from the UK and were on an even more epic adventure than ours; Banff to Patagonia, then a tour through Australia ending at Ayers Rock, followed by another tour in India through the Himalayas!  We rode with them for a handful of miles then went ahead on the last steep 5.5 mile segment of the climb. After a great lunch spot at the top, we continued to the northeast flank of Richmond Peak. This four mile section was supposed to be challenging to negotiate due to downed trees, poor road conditions, wash outs and other obstacles that would hinder progress. However, it turned out to be lots of fun. We were fortunate and late enough in the season not to have to deal with any snow, plus there we no major obstacles. The scenery was incredibly beautiful and the rough double track, soon turned into a fun downhill single track. We eventually ended back on dirt roads for the rest of the decent. In the afternoon after many more miles of ups and downs and some more ups we were feeling tired, hot and pretty exhausted. We passed a couple of glorious looking small lakes and decided to go swimming. A joke was made about how awesome a rope swing would be, and by the awesomeness of the universes, the spot we had decide to go to from across the lake had a rope swing. It looked a bit sketchy, but ended up being such great fun! The water was cold but refreshing and soothing on sore joints and muscles. We relaxed for a little then got back to riding, feeling much better. After that it was mainly flat or slightly downhill to Ovando, our destination for the night.  Once we figured out were to camp in town, we set off to the local pub, Trixie’s.  We ordered burgers and beer, which were both delicious. But the real  highlight of the meal were the fries. They were amazing. So good we ordered a second helping before heading back to camp.












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