After riding, coffee, swimming and playing with a friendly dog on the beach, we decided that Helena had delivered enough (for now). We decided to take highway 12 over to Missoula to get a jump on the next day.
Along the route we passed a couple who were riding on mountain bikes loaded for bikepacking and heading for the divide. Then drove up Mullan Pass and crossed the Continental Divide to the west side (for the first time in around a year).
We actually camped up here about 3 springs ago. It was cold, very windy and raining really hard; we had the place almost all to ourselves. Great views.
On the way down the highway to the west side of the pass, a blue roadside sign said “Water 1/4 mile ->” and we pulled off at a spring fed water filling spot below a tall rock cut on the highway.
At the spring, there was a guy already there who was making hand-squeezed lemonade with fresh lemons, spring water and a little organic maple syrup. He originally comes from near Lancaster PA, and he gave us a cool glass of the most wonderful lemonade on earth and we chatted a while. He told us how he used to eat a lot of cheese doodles, and about 10 years ago he switched to all home-made foods and lost 60 pounds, and this was “pretty good water”.
Then we carried, on, darkness fell, and we rolled on into Missoula.