Riding the Great Divide Trail. Day 5

Riding the Great Divide Trail. Day 5. Seeley Lake to Cooper Lake.

This day just seemed very, very long. I was getting saddle sore and my knees were beginning to swell. The ride was arduous even though the gradients were not too hard, except for one long climb up to Huckleberry Pass.

In the second part of the day we looked up to our left at forested hills as we skirted the wilderness areas, and down to our right to the farms and cattle ranches in the floodplain of the Blackfoot River.

I have little to say about this day. My body was unresponsive and tired and I just kept focused on getting through it.

We stopped briefly in Ovando. It had a little museum and two coffee shops.

I was really glad to get to the campground at Coopers Lake. We cooked up another carbo load and washed in the lake and talked a little before getting out our sleeping bags.

Tomorrow we will get to Lincoln.  The hills around Lincoln were where Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, had his cabin.

Jamie is interested in Kaczynski.

Kaczynski was a genius-level mathematician who became an eco-terrorist. Three people were killed and many more injured by the parcel bombs he posted. The targets were academic scientists, technologists and, in one case,  the head of forestry management in his area.

He said he would only stop the bombing if his manifesto was published prominently.

After that his brother became suspicious and got experts to study the manifesto and compare the language with letters and other writings of his brother’s. That’s how the Unabomber was finally found.

Jamie said Kaczynski hated leftists whom he called “over-socialised” and who proposed a moral code they could never keep. He loathed technology and industry and wanted a return to natural living. He taught himself subsistence skills.

“Kaczynski was a lifetime loner. I admire people who may take time out to rest their brains and settle their thoughts before returning to do useful work, but Kaczynski was just plain crazy,” Jamie said. “Reverting to a so-called “natural” life will get us nowhere…”

I was thinking Kaczynski matured in the same cultural moment that has made me keep my copy of The Whole Earth Catalogue from 1969.

It felt like a huge moment at the time but it is hard to disentangle what actually flowed from it.

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