When we woke up this morning, it was still raining! It had rained all night long, and it was a fairly heavy shower. While we were still laying in the tent, not wanting to get up, we began to hear these big thuds, and things sounded like they were breaking around our tent! I thought, "Ah! It's a bear!". I poked my head out of the tent, but I didn't see any bears (phew!). I didn't see anything actually. I just stared, and then suddenly, I saw a big pinecone hit the ground...then another. I looked up, but I didn't see anything in the trees, so I figured it must just be the rain making them heavy.
Relieved that there weren't any bears by our tent, Nathan got up and went to get the bags so I could put our sleeping bags and other stuff away. However, when he reached for the bags, he discovered that everything we had was soaked!
We have 8 panniers (bike bags) and 2 dry bags (bags used for canoeing/kayaking trips). All 8 panniers and their contents were soaked. The panniers even had puddles in the bottoms! And one of our dry bags had a huge puddle in the bottom, and all of its contents were wet too. Only one dry bag was dry - it was the bag that had our bike clothes and bike shoes in it.
It was still raining, and there was electricity or shelter for miles to help us dry our stuff. We didn't know what to do.
Then John, our neighbor who had loaned us his cooler the night before, came over to check on us. When he found out that all of our things had gotten wet, he immediately started helping us. He and his wife built a big fire and set up places around it for us to hang our wet clothes, bags, helmets, and everything else that got rained on. Even though it was still sprinkling a little, the fire was doing a fantastic job getting things dry. It was neat to watch the clothes steam and dry out around the fire. And while everything was drying, John and Laura made us breakfast!! We had fried potatoes and onions, eggs, and sausage. It was so good! They even made Nathan coffee and me licorice tea. I've never had licorice tea, and I wasn't sure what to expect from it at first, but even with no added sugar or honey, it is amazingly sweet. It almost tastes like sucking on a honeycomb! I'm hooked for life on licorice tea now, I'm pretty sure. :-)
It started raining again, and John and Laura hung a huge tarp on the trees surrounding their picnic table, so we could have a dry place to put our things as they dried out. John kept getting more wood for the fire - he must've gathered and chopped wet wood for hours just to help us. I was shocked at all of his hard work for us.
John asked if we knew Jesus Christ as our Lord. We both answered yes, and then we all started into a great conversation about God. I gave them my testimony, and we told them how we met and fell in love. It was a good conversation, and all got to know each other better. I liked it.
John and Laura told us that the big pinecones that were falling around our tent this morning had also fallen around their camper. One even hit their skylight and went right through it! They said there was a little squirrel that was running around in the trees dropping them all over the place. Ah ha! Mystery solved. And I thought it was a bear...
We hung out with John and Laura until the rain stopped, and it didn't stop until 2pm! With all of our stuff mostly dry, we packed up (and even found a spot for the tarp John and Laura said we could have - THANK YOU!) and headed back to the infamous Route 12 to make some more progress towards Lolo Pass. Nathan was frustrated that we just getting started so late in the day, but I didn't want to ride on 12 in the rain, so I felt fine.
We didn't make it very far today, because of our late start - only 40 miles. Here are some pictures from the day though and a video of a particularly beautiful spot:
We stopped at Colgate campground, another place with no water or electricity, but it was free. We got a spot right on the river. We are now following the Lochsa river, named for the Lochsa indians.
It was very cold, so we tried to build a fire, but everything was still wet from the rain, so it didn't work. Bummer.
We also tried to set our tent up early to dry and hang our rain fly on a clothes line to dry, but because it was getting dark and it was so cold, neither really dried out.
On top of that, we discovered that because Nathan's sleeping bag had been packed in the same bag as the wet tent, his sleeping bag was damp. That was the biggest bummer of all. It wasn't too wet, but even a damp sleeping bag is no fun - especially when it's cold outside.
We still weren't sure how to hang our food in the trees, so we put it in the bathroom and hoped that both animals and other people would leave it alone for the night.
Then we ate dinner in the dark by the light of my quickly dying flashlight and went to bed.