As I rode towards Sumpter Pass, the first climb of the day, I witnessed something straight out of a BBC Planet Earth special. I saw a hawk swoop down to pick up a critter, I'm assuming it was either a fat chipmunk or some sort of prairie dog. As it had it's prey in it's talons, a smaller black bird flew down and began assaulting the hawk. The hawk subsequently dropped it's potential breakfast and it bounced once and ran off to the nearest hiding place. It was the most fascinating display of nature I've seen on the trip thus far, and I imagined the sultry voice of David Attenborough narrating the scenario in my head (which makes things all the more interesting).
Salvation came in the form of a small pipe, spewing forth the sweet nectar of life. Luckily, there were a few farmers at the spring and they told me it was definitely safe to drink. I quickly filled my spare liter bottle and drank it down within seconds, then proceeded to repeat this action. Dehydration was my biggest fear when preparing for this trip and I was relieved to overcome this dire situation I found myself in. I'll have to stop in the next town and purchase another spare liter water bottle, for the purpose of not repeating the same mistakes.
I rode a few more miles to find a gas station/cafe/grocery store at Austin Junction, and not much more. It was only 3:30PM by the time I reached this potential stopping point, so I grabbed my map and thought it over with a milkshake. Feeling that I had enough energy to make it over Dixie Pass, the third and final pass of the day, I pumped myself up and climbed over my last ascent in the Elkhorn Mountains. Before I knew it, I was quickly riding down a thrilling descent into a beautiful valley. Within minutes, I was pulling into Prairie City and quickly found a place to pitch my tent. I'm camping near a defunct railroad depot and will be eating crappy Ramen noodles tonight (for the sake of saving money). Looking over the map, I'll probably have a shorter day and stop in Dayville, where there's a Presbyterian Church that offers "hostel-like" accomodations. I'm getting close now... I can nearly smell the ocean!