Tuesday June 23: Powell to Missoula

55.2 miles, Lolo Summit then lots of downhill out of the Bitterroot Mountains.

We had 6 miles of same up/down hill, then 4.6 miles of a really steep climb up to Lolo summit. We only stopped twice to rest (the second time at a Historical Marker, our official stopping guides), and once more to take a picture of the snow-capped mountains behind us. Then at Lolo Summit, 5280 feet elevation at the ranger station, Pit 1 gave us mylar shielding which Ro and I used for our feet (shoes still wet from previous day). Turns out it was well-timed, because it started raining again just before we left the Pit! As soon as we left the summit, we entered Montana (State #3! Whoo-hoo!), and went down the next 4.6 *not* screamingly fast because of the wet pavement and loose stuff and bumpy road. After that it smoothed out to a down/uphill more like the other side had been the day before. After about 20 miles we reached the meadow with Lolo at the western edge, and it was all in bloom, still. It is called Anderson Gulch, and was a campsite for Lewis and Clark (who else?).

We stopped at Pit 2 briefly, and continued on towards the turn to Missoula, where we found lunch at Kay-T's hayloft, and were introduced to joejoes (picture an apple slicer applied to a potato, and roll the wedges in batter and deep fry). We moseyed up the last 8 miles to Missoula (turning off of 12E to 93N) and checked in to get our dorm keys and unload our baggage at the University of Montana at Missoula, our hosts.

The dorms seemed great (4 people in a suite, 2 bathrooms/showers per suite, and a common room), but the dining hall is even better. The food is fantastic, and everyone was walking around with huge smiles on their faces. And the food doesn't get cold while waiting in line for condiments! We did 2 loads of laundry, ate, and tried to read but were out like logs by 9pm.

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