Day 29 Hopping to Butte

After yesterdays difficult day we were optimistic about this being a good day. The route was 30 miles and only 1300 ft of climbing.

A short piece of pavement then we were on the gravel track. This gradually wound its way up the valley following the River Boulder (nothing as grand as a river really, just a small stream but nontheless lovely).

We did see our first confirmed Bald Eagle 2.0 m wingspan (again the picture opportunity was missed but I have included a rough sketch of what one looks like).

There was another bird of prey black with a grey underside but I have no idea what it was. A large heron was startled from its search for small fish in the river and flew off downstream.
As you can imagine the track gained height very slowly following the river, so it was a very nice cycling indeed. Of course this could not carry on and eventually we met the Interstate 15 (I15) where a much steeper track loomed before us.

We had just started up the track and had stopped for a) A drink, b) A breather, c) To look at an insect, d) To look at a bird or e) To look at the view, select the one you favour most. When the two cyclists from yesterday came plodding up the I15 (not our track), they were sticking to the road, easier and shorter (we were having none of that,  a day without toil is a day wasted) we waved them on.

Our track soon levelled off (by level I mean a slight uphill) and the cycling became really nice again. Around 4 miles in, tunnel number nine came in to view, this dates to 1911 and is the only tunnel section of the old railway track remaining.

Shortly after this we saw our first car of the day, very quicky followed by a buggy. All buggy owners seem to stop and want to chat, this one was no exception they had relatives in Cornwall.
Eventually at around 6000 ft we joined a tarmac road (did you notice I didn’t use the word pavement? Just to avoid repetition). This ran parallel to the I15 for the complete length of the valley, around 8 miles. For a clip showing the road riding follow this link

At several points a large bird of prey teased us, waiting until the camera was just in position then flying off. I made several attempts to capture it (on film as I have left my eagle catching kit at home). These turned out to be Red Tailed Hawks (1.2 m wingspan).

We stopped for our egg break just before joining the I15 ourselves. We took shelter from the sun under the juntion bridge.On to the I15 and very quickly we crossed the great divide.

Then is was 4 miles of down, down, down, no brakes just go for it.
A pause part way down as I surprised a coyote who ran off up the siding, as you know what one looks like from previous I have include the photograph it is on this picture, can you find it?

Another stop and we could see the whole of Butte, a town build on a mining  past, first gold then copper. A brief history below.


Once in to town, we zig zagged our way to the KOA RV park, and $30 lighter in pocket we had a nice spot (actually on some grass).

Finally some shopping (we need 2 days of food for the next part) and as a treat we had a lovely barbecue, with steak and maple sausages followed by blueberry muffins, need I say any more?

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