Yesterday, I experienced another transcendent moment. A moment that almost wasn't.
As stated in this post, I intended to night over in Lincoln, MT because I was hot, tired and knew that the climb up Stemple Road was going to be tough. Not wanting to pay for a hotel, I decided I'll make the climb and see if I can find a camping site on the other side. The map said that there was a place for bikers to stay at Barbara Nye's. Just call. Well, there's no service so that wasn't going to happen. I zoomed down the road to the stop sign looking for the place. I was at Mile 88.9 and according to the map and that's where the spot was supposed to be. I rode half a mile down the other road to no avail. Checked the map again and saw that she was at Mile 88.1!
So I rode the eight-tenths of a mile back up the hill and saw her sign. I was going too fast down to notice. I knocked on the door and asked how much for camping? She said I could have the cabin. How much to stay? "Free," she said. I was excited.
The cabin was built eight years ago. She didn't tell me why, but said about 4 years ago she began allowing bikers to camp and stay there. It's small, maybe 15x10 with a loft that has a double bed on one side and a single on the other. She's set a new solar shower that she was excited for me to use (water was still cold). Inside, there's a stove and she even has a small stash of food for cyclists to cook and prepare if they want.
It was just such a well thought out place and she obviously put some thought and consideration into it. It wasn't just a place to sleep, someone put heart into this and wanted to make visitors feel welcome. Like they were home.
It was a godsend that I found her place. I wasn't on National Forest property anymore so camping meant that I make the steep climb the way I came or go 5 miles off the route.
The bonus of the cabin, besides being so welcoming and a great place to rest is that the views were stunning and her three llamas were your greeters in the morning. I arrived just before 8:00, giving me plenty of time to eat dinner, clean clothes and write in my journal.
My travels always reveal to me that people are good and there are good people. I think we're bred to think the worse of people sometimes. I am often shocked at the kindness of strangers. At this point in my life and the experiences that I've had with them, I shouldn't be. Just on this trip, I've had a stranger give me a ride off the mountain and a free meal and conversation with the campground hosts in Basin. And I stayed at the Llama Lodge, one of the highlights of my trip.