After 13 days on our bicycles, we have reached Missoula, Montana. We traveled 688 miles to finally enjoy a day off the saddle before beginning week 3 of our journey. We passed through beautiful country in Washington along the Colombia River, and in Idaho along the Clearwater and Lochsa River. It will feel great to spend a day off the bicycle, and into the community in Missoula. We are looking forward to events at the Imagine Nation Brewery and Free Cycles. This will begin our more than two week Montana journey.
Near Lolo, MT a year after a wildfire
Climate change has greatly affected Montana from the pine beetle surviving winters and eating acres of forest, to the increasingly more powerful wildfires, to the decade or two that Glacier National Park will have while it still have it’s glaciers. Montana will also face an increase in extreme precipitation events, a warmer, longer winter, and a decrease in snowfall resulting in less snowpack. In order to lessen these effects of climate change, we must mobilize to find solutions and create community wherever we are, in order to tackle these issues together.
We also learned a lot from our travels earlier in our journey. Washington and Oregon rely heavily on their logging and timber industries, and with disease, insects, and wildfires becoming more prevalent, climate change is threatening how well these economies function. The same goes for food production. Agriculture is a huge industry throughout the Pacific Northwest, and is susceptible to the power of severe climate change. If these states change to a different climate zone, this means having to change what plants to grow, how to care for an ecosystem with completely different weather patterns. This will take education, experts, farmers, researchers, consumers, etc. It will take a storm of people to help cope with these huge changes that mean so much for these industries.
As we crossed Lolo PASS at 5,235 feet, we had a spectacular view of the National Forest and Wilderness all around us. Boundless forest with a chilly mist, it was a beautiful place among the mountains and valleys of Idaho. The vastness of these wild places is astounding, and is quite a sight to see as we poetically move along rivers on steel frames and wheels. It’s in moments like these, that I am inspired to be a steward of that beauty, for the sake of Mother Earth, and for all things living and non who have graced this planet.