Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 44 Daunted Courage, August 12, 2013

Route: Lolo Hot Springs (Montana) over Lolo Pass to Powell, Idaho

Sho’s (age 12) quote of the day: “Let’s go on a hike and look for edible plants.”

We cycled today over our third and final mountain pass on this trip, officially making it over the Rocky Mountains!  Some people wondered if it might be too much for 12- and 6-year olds to pedal over the Rockies, but Sho and Saya agreed that this last mountain was “easier than we thought it would be.”  After cycling many hours a day for over a month, they are getting stronger and not intimidated by steep climbs and switchbacks.  The trick is to take breaks when you need them and not give up.  Kinda like life in general…

When we reached the visitor center at Lolo Pass, we were in a triumphal mood and celebrated by hiking through the woods and eating wild huckleberries.  Sho bought the book Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Rockies, which led to the quote of the day.  He excitedly pointed out which berries looked edible and which ones he thought were poisonous.  We decided to err on the side of not making a mistake and only ate huckleberries.

We hung out at the mountain pass for a couple hours, savoring the accomplishment and socializing at the visitor’s center.  Sho translated for a couple from Lausanne, Switzerland, who spoke French and were having difficulty explaining to the park ranger that they wanted a book on Native American history.  They took photos of us with our bikes and told Sho how impressed they were with him.  And we met Steve Getsinger from Vancouver, Washington (near Portland, Oregon), who offered to host us at his home when we pass through.  More reminders of how many kind people there are in this world.

Lewis & Clark, hungry and exhausted, made it over the mountain pass here in September 1805.  Early snows were already falling, and several of their horses slipped on the steep trails.  At night, I read out loud from the Journals to Sho and Saya.  My kids were most excited by the following description by Meriwether Lewis from September 19, 1805: “Fraziers horse fell from this road in the evening, and roled with his load near a hundred yards into the Creek.  we all expected that the horse was killed but to our astonishment when the load was taken off him he arose to his feet & appeared to be but little injured, in 20 minutes he proceeded with his load.  this was the most wonderfull escape I ever witnessed, the hill down which he roled was almost perpendicular and broken by large irregular and broken rocks.”  We could easily picture this dramatic scene, as we had just cycled beside the very cliffs where the accident occurred.

We decided to spend the night at Lochsa Lodge, a collection of cabins nestled in the forest about twelve miles down from Lolo Pass, beside the gently gurgling Lochsa River.  There are no gas stations, stores, towns or supplies for the next 65 miles, and Lochsa Lodge offers delicious food.  We ate dinner there and will fuel up with a good breakfast in the morning before riding into the wild. 

I have a weak Internet connection here, just strong enough to allow me to post this blog text, but I was not able to upload photos.  I’ve selected pics for yesterday and today, which I’ll add to the blog the next time we’re in a place with a good Internet connection – probably in two days.

Here are some pics (added Aug 14):
Bill and Mi-Young Johnson, who treated us to dinner at Lolo Hot Springs

In front of Lolo Hot Springs Lodge

Megaload on the road

View of our route

Sho and Saya picking huckleberries

Saya celebrating our final summit over the Rockies!

More celebrating

View from Lolo Pass

"Is this edible or poisonous?"


  1. You did it! The Rocky Mountains are behind you!! We are so proud of all three of you...
    You're in the home stretch now. We are sending you our best wishes! Good luck and enjoy, Maddie, Sydney, Jack, Bobby and Alison

  2. Our community of Kamiah Idaho has been following you, and welcome you when you get to our little town in a couple days. Enjoy the scenic Lochsa and Clearwater rivers as you travel this way.

  3. Dear Berna Family: Thank you for the good wishes! We were very excited to make it over the final mountain pass. It's hard to believe that we're nearing the end of the trip -- we should be at the Pacific Ocean in 2 weeks. We're looking forward to seeing you all back in NYC and hearing about your summer.

    -- Charles, Sho and Saya

  4. Robert,

    Thank you for following our journey! The ride along the Lochsa and Clearwater Rivers has been gorgeous. You live in a beautiful part of the country. We are on our way to Kamiah today! (Wed, Aug 14)

    -- Charles, Sho and Saya