July 22, Day 20 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
When I crawled out of the tent at 6:00 am, a friend from the wild greeted me. Much to my relief, he was no bigger than a breadbox and had long whiskers, the kind of critter you may think of around Eastertime. Our stay at Powell Junction was a mixed bag: roughing it outside in the dew-splashed tent while later being treated to a gourmet breakfast at the Lochsa Lodge. We knew they could dish out the cuisine in fine fashion from our passage through these parts four years ago.
Back then, we had stayed at a campground downstream before our ride through Lolo Pass, which represented perhaps our most significant climb on our 2010 tour. That meant cycling 41 miles to make it to last night’s stay-over spot before tackling the ensuing 2,000-foot climb. This time around, we journeyed up to the pass early in the day, with fresh bodies and a nutritious breakfast making its way to rejuvenating muscles. Sparse eastbound traffic allowed a stress-free ascent. In relatively short order, we made it to the Visitor’s Center atop the pass and stopped to take it all in. We were yards away from entering Montana.
We overheard a conversation from a couple who lived just south of Nashville. Our ears pricked up, since that’s where TheHopeLine’s headquarters are located. We asked for more specifics and then shared in a “well, for heaven’s sake” moment with them. They live in Columbia, just south of Spring Hill. We shared a card and encouraged them to check out this organization, which pipes hope nationwide from a small town just up the road from them.
Our nearly 40-mile ride into Lolo was also easy, as most downhill rides are. During the final leg into Missoula, we met a gentleman who teaches at the University of Montana. He provided directions upon our request and, then, we shared with him about TheHopeLine. We thought it may be relevant to the students he deals with.
“Do you see any issues with your students?” we asked.
A wry smile and chuckle preceded his comment: “Do I have issues with students? Oh yes! They have a lot of issues.”
Clearly, he could relate to our cause.
If you have not already pledged your support to TheHopeLine, please consider doing so. Your entire contribution will go directly to help young people struggling with life. You can pledge online at this webpage. If you’re wondering why it is a good investment, please read this webpage.