Saturday, July 11, 2009

June 8—Baker Creek, Galena Lodge

This morning was especially chilly. It was only 36 degrees inside the motorhome when we woke up to start the day. Needless to say, we didn’t start the day very quickly. Instead, we decided to drift in and out of sleep until it was at least 45 degrees inside the motorhome. We made hot cocoa like normal and started the practiced routine for bike riding. Only, I jumped back in bed and delayed the start by another hour or so. By 10 am the clouds were looking a little scary and we questioned whether we would be able to ride at all. We took extra precautions of rain coats, long sleeves and plenty of food and water. Baker Creek is a ride that has a leisurely uphill along an old forest service road. At the top, there are lovely views, but nothing too special. At first, we were super psyched about the winding downhill, but it soon got very steep we had to stop to let our braking hands have a rest. At the end of the ride, both Eric and I felt like we hadn’t accomplished much. The climbing was so easy and the downhill was over in minutes. Not to worry, Eric had heard of another area near by that promised fabulous single track on looping cross country ski trails. Galena Lodge has a nice little café and picnic tables. There is camping around the area, which we did not utilize. Eric chatted with the staff while I took a nap in the car. Eric returned with a map showing many loops that were all 10 miles or less, but could be linked to cover a lot of ground. We opted for a 10 mile loop that had the most single track riding. We hopped on the bikes and took off. Once riding, we realized much of the trail was actually double track or unmaintained dirt road. We were a little disappointed. We have found that the Ketchum, Id area is not very good at putting in switch backs to avoid long rocky, unsustainable climbs (and decents). There is a race on July 25 around this trail system, but Eric and I thought it would be a strange place to hold a race. We ended up truncated our planned route because neither one of us was really into it. Back at the motorhome, we cooked up chicken and rice with pineapple. We followed up this meal with ice cream!

June 9 – Prairie Lake hike

My neck has really been bothering me. Last night I couldn’t sleep because every time I turned over my neck shot pain through the top of my head. Very strange. I got up in the middle of the night for some pain-killers and jumped back in bed. It is going to be another very chilly morning. Instead of riding, we decided to hike a suggested ride that visited 2 lakes, Prairie and Miner. It was pretty cool, starting with a couple creek crossings. The whole time, Eric talked about how easy the ride would have been. Why didn’t we bring our bikes? I was happy to be walking. The lakes were your typical alpine lakes with emerald green water and some picturesque mountains as landscape. Bugs weren’t really that bad either, but were pretty much the only wildlife we saw. The “downhill” section was a ragging rock garden that was super steep with water problems. Again, I was pretty stoked not to be on my bike. What was supposed to be a ~9.6 mile hike, was actually 11.2 miles based on our GPS. Always a nice surprise. My favorite part of the day was riding the motorcycle. We left the camper at the campsite and drove up to the trailhead on our scooter. I drove Eric! This had to be hilarious! It was to me! I was very pleased that Eric trusted my driving abilities, but I did turn over the wheel when we reached the highway. One thing that was awesome about the hike, we didn’t see a single other person the entire time on the trail or at the trailhead. No one.

June 10 – Fisher Creek

Last night, we committed to driving away from the Ketchum area and drove North to Stanley, ID. We had one bite on our signs, but nothing all that promising. It was worth a shot. Although Stanley is much smaller than Ketchum, the amount of people recreating was exponentially higher. Stanley is a hub of rafters, fishers, bikers and campers. Finding a campsite proved much more difficult. We ended up camping at the trailhead for our ride in the morning. We figured, we aren’t really camping, we’re just parking. It was fine. This morning we awoke once again to chilly temps and proceeded to get ready for a ride advertised as Idaho’s best bike trail. All 3 times we drove past this parking lot, it had been jam packers with cars and trailers. Needless to say, we were excited. At first, we put on long sleeves and cycling tights to fend off the cold, but as numerous other groups showed up and the sun announced herself, we found we were over dressed. The first stretch is on the highway for 2 miles and then a dirt road for several more. Eric and I considered shuttling to avoid boring riding, but when children were out there doing it, we decided we couldn’t shuttle it. Reluctantly, we headed out on the pavement, which as it turned out was pretty pleasant for me. I think I miss road biking. Soon we saw a sign for Fisher creek road and turned off to start our climb up to the trail. Shuttling would have saved us over 1500 vertical feet of dirt road climbing. We passed pastures with grazing horses and people out waking their dogs. We traveled next to a creek and butterflies scattered as we rode up the path. It was actually pretty nice even though we were climbing on a road. We hit one long miserable steep section before arriving at the trail. A fellow cyclist was taking a break at the top before the awesome, Idaho’s best, trail. He was a PE teacher from CA. His wife taught the first grade. Eric thinks that is the coolest thing ever and is now considering going back to school for some sort of teaching certification. Having the summers to travel, wow, that would be amazing. We pushed off down a windy single track that twisted and turned smoothly through a burnt forest. It was really fun and beautiful in a creepy sort of way. At the bottom of the hill, Eric, myself, and Greg (the school teacher) discussed how cool the decent was and chatted about other rides in the area. We decided to do a short out and back that goes to the biggest meadow ever. Greg came along too. The meadow was actually 3 miles away and required crossing a couple creeks. We came to an intersection to either Robinson Bar or Born Lakes (or back the way we came). We decided that it was early enough in the day to do some exploring. We chose the route to Born lakes because it is closed to motor cycles. The trail was great and led out into the open meadow. We had to cross a serious looking creek. There was a little log, but neither Eric or I felt real comfortable crossing on it. To be honest, I don’t really feel all that comfortable crossing on much larger logs either. Eric found another log to add to the bridge and we continued on our way. Amazingly, the trail wasn’t much more than some pushed over grass through the meadow, but we managed to follow it for several miles. We thought that is was an unused trail due to the lack of a trail and several down trees that Eric and I took effort in moving out of the trail. Eric wishes he brought a small foldable saw to do more trail maintenance stuff. We have ridden so many trails and many of them could use our help. It was the least we could do and I got to feel exceptionally strong, moving trees all on my own. We ended up running into 5 other people on the trail that had come from 4th of July road and were making a loop of it (so the trail is actually ridden much more frequently than originally thought). If we were to continue out on this trail we would eventually come to a trailhead and have to take forest service road back to our car. That didn’t sound like much fun, so we turned back towards the Fisher creek loop. We were glad we did, because the next section of Fisher creek was awesome. Although we had another little climb, it was fun and beautiful. It really was an amazing trail. Once at the top, we had a screaming fun decent with views of the Sawtooth Mtns to boot. We could hardly bring ourselves to stop and take pictures. By the end, we had covered over 29 miles and both felt like we could have had someone. It was that fun. We had hamburgers in the motorhome and took a quick trip on the motorcycle. We ran out of gas, which I thought was terrifying, but as it turns out, we have a reserve tank, so we really hadn’t run out of gas. Funny, huh? We then took to town, grabbed groceries, checked the email and headed out in search of a new campsite. We are really testing our ability to sleep crooked. We are parked a little sideways, but we didn’t have a lot of options.

June 11—Rafting the Salmon

Today, we did laundry in town and are planning to run the Salmon. I will keep ya posted on how that turns out. Signing out!

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