This year's Tour Divide Race has the largest number of racers ever and epic snow levels lead to the decision to allow the racers to follow an alternate route, bypassing the snow-choked passes of the Flathead Region. All racers but one, speeding southward, chose the Fernie Alternate Route, bypassing the Flathead Region. The one exception, Justin Simoni from Denver Colorado, is taking the long way, the hard way through the snow.
I know that Justin did not make this decision lightly or accidentally. What some may regard as foolhardy I can only regard as epic, honest and admirable. As of this writing Justin has made it about a third of the way through the Flathead Wilderness. Around midnight, he made it to the Butts Forest Service Cabin. This morning he is moving onward.
Signals reach out via the Spot Tracker and satellites to tell us of Justin's motion. Where he is now he cannot receive such technical reassurances from those of us who track him. He has the land, his gear, his wits and his resolve. And though I've never met Justin, I believe that these things will be enough to carry him past the drifts, doubt and difficulty. Because he chose the long way, the hard way.
Godspeed to all the racers, but I have to confess, I have a favorite now. His name is Justin Simoni. He is taking the long way, through the snow.
Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA