Joyce along Coeur d’Alene
Since we did the Mullan to Wallace and Wallace to Kellog sections yesterday late afternoon and evening, all we had left for the rest of the Coeur d’Alenes Trail was from Kellog to Harrison. Each section has been so different, and today was no exception. Martha and I started right after breakfast and rode to the Enaville Trailhead, where we met Ron and Ed, who had driven the distance in the truck to meet us there. Our ride without them was 6.7 miles, and together the four of us did 32.4 miles, totaling 39.1 for today.
Much of this ride followed along the Coeur d’Alene River and through the valley formed by it, and a good part of the trip was through a swampy area filled with wetland grasses, water lilies, and other wetland plants. We saw an osprey nest on a thick pole in the water and some ducks, but no moose feeding anywhere along the way. We had high mountains on each side of us, reminding me of being in the Sawtooth Mountain Range in lower Idaho, around Sun Valley and Ketchum, from years ago when I would go there with Pam Circuit. It was really pretty scenery.
Our Picnic Spot
The only problem with the trip was that it was hot and when we were ready to eat we couldn’t find a picnic table in the shade. Finally we settled for the ground beside the trail, but at least it was in the shade. The Ride Idaho group (which we were told numbered in the hundreds) rode swiftly past us in various packs of people, so we were consistently hearing “passing on your left.” I would guess we were passed by about fifty people during the ride, most of them going about eight miles faster than us and wearing their bright colored bicycle outfits. It looked fun, but it didn’t sound fun to be with so many people at night eating dinner and in the mornings when nature calls us to the toilet. Maybe we’ll do a bike ride across Georgia sometime, but we both agreed our first priority is the Hall of Fame Rails to Trails because they are flat and scenic and because we can do them whenever we decide, with whomever we decide.
Lou McCarty (recommend by Pedal Pushers* bike shop) picked us up in Harrison and drove us and our bikes back to the truck parked at Enaville. We were fortunate that he was as flexible as he was, because we changed our itinerary twice on him. The first change came last night when we decided to reverse our direction for today’s ride so that instead of him picking us up in Enaville and taking us to Harrison, we opted for a little more downhill slope and had him return us to Enaville from Harrison, which meant we changed his time from morning to afternoon. Then along the way we decided that we didn’t have time for another ice cream at the Creamery (this time I got the Huckleberry, which was delicious) if he met us at 2 p.m., so we called and asked if we could change to 2:30 p.m. Again he graciously agreed to our change in plans. He shared interesting information with us on the ride back, and we give him a thumbs up for anyone looking for a shuttle driver in this area: prompt, flexible, reasonable in price, friendly, and a good driver. What more do we want? *Just for the record, we gave our blog this title before we knew about this bike shop.)
So we turned our bikes in at Excelsior Bike Shop (to which we also give a thumbs up for good, friendly, and reasonably priced service.
Came back to the hot tub for another little water massage on the feet and legs and then on to our dinner excursion of riding up the gondola at the ski resort mountain and having a steak huckleberry barbeque dinner and a short walk on the nature walk in the woods up there. Nice and peaceful, and we got an excellent view of the valley and surrounding mountain ranges as we rode the gondola. It was a good closing to a good day, ending a trip we will not forget. It was almost a dream come true trip.