Trail of the Hiawatha and Wallace, Idaho, Day 6


Entrance to Trail

This turned out to be another wonderful day—good exercise, beautiful scenery, terrific weather, and lots of variety. It started with us renting bikes here in Kellog and driving to the Trail of the Hiawatha on the Montana state line, stopping at Lookout Pass Ski Resort to pick up our passes and shuttle tickets.


Scenic View

The scenery was breathtaking because we were so high in the mountains, got to ride through ten tunnels and over seven railroad trestles. It was so green, mostly filled with various types of pine trees, and we felt we were in an almost heavenly valley.


Bitterroot Mountains

Essentially, we were going down into a canyon that had been cut out over the millions of years by a stream. It was 15 miles downhill at a 2% grade, on a gravel pathway, but it was packed enough to not be dangerous when braking. Martha took some really good pictures.


Entering Tunnel

The first tunnel was 1.7 miles long, so it was very dark and we needed both our head light and the light on the bike handlebar in order to see where we were going and the ruts in the trail. Fun. We took a shuttle back up to the top of the mountain when we were finished, after about 1 hour and 45 minutes of riding.

When we left there Ed and Ron dropped us off at Mullan, the eastern end of the Coeur d’Alenes (which reminds me that I have been spelling it incorrectly but am not going to go back to correct it now). Actually, the trail goes on to meet up with the Hiawatha, but it’s called the Bitterroot Trail (spelling?) on that end. So we started heading west to the town of Wallace, a silver mining town from the 1800’s. It was a neat little town, kind of like Park City, but not as commercialized. We went 6.5 miles. Ron passed this part of the trail up to go with Ed to a Bordello Museum in Wallace. (He bought me a bright red t-shirt with “Bordello” on it. Not good marketing for a clean personality.) We met them at the Northern Pacific Railroad Museum for an interesting tour of the old railroad history in the area. Then we did the Sierra Silver Mining Tour, which took us underground in their actual mine. Our guides in both places were quite knowledgeable, which made the visits interesting. Those miners really led a hard life, as did the men who built the railroads. It gives me a new appreciation for those people who built our country in the 1800’s. Our dinner was at a good, casual barbeque restaurant that Martha had researched and selected. Thank goodness for Martha, as our days are filled with good stuff.

Since we are riding the entire Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, Martha, Ron, and I took off and rode to Kellog, just 11 miles and at a slightly downhill terrain, which made riding easy, not quite as easy as Hiawatha, but we were able to move along at 12-15 miles per hour pretty easily. We rode alongside a stream that should have attracted wildlife, but we didn’t see any. Back at the condo, we went to the hot tub for a relaxing 15 minutes and then came back in to write this blog for the day. This is really a good vacation.

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