“There is no hurry, we shall get there someday.” -A. A. Milne
A fitting quote for a tour that seemed to consistently change course and purpose due to barriers, obstacles and new paths. That is philosophy simple enough for me to grasp. The original purpose of this trip was to follow along the Boise River Watershed in preparation for teaching about Boise ecosystems July 10-15, get about 250 miles on the Surly and soak in a few hot springs along the way. As the path of a river, the route adapted in order to reach a particular destination… with no hurry.
Day 1 began in Pat’s Featherville Cafe, tucked along the Middle Fork of the Boise River, about 20 miles South of Atlanta. The small town is composed of loggers, retirees, farmers and people of the land. Naturally, walking into this cafe in cycling tights drew some glares.
“Howdy” was met with the silencing of silverware and some blank stares. “Do you all know the road to Ketchum, over Dollarhide Summit?”
Pat, the owner emerged from the kitchen with a pot of coffee in hand. “Oh you’re one of those crazy cyclist! Hell no, you’re not going to Ketchum.” As it turns out, 7 miles of the road from Featherville to Ketchum was wiped out by the huge snowpack runoff. Looks like the first bend in the river had been encounter. Pat had met over 220 cyclists last season and seemed sorry to break the news. Thanks for the advice and free cup of coffee, Pat!
Still ready to make the climb over Dollarhide Summit, I headed for Ketchum to ride from the East rather than West. After setting camp, making this a bike-and-hike more than tour, I headed past Baldy, up toward Dollarhide. The ride was beautiful, dirt road surrounded by meadows, aspen groves and Warm Springs Creek. Sulfur filled the air and hot springs were nearby so I continued up the road, to be greeted by another closure.
A man in a dump truck came out to greet me, apparently he drove straight from the year 1849. “Howdy, the name’s Stick. Looks like you reached the end of the road! Dollarhide is closed for 7 miles on either side.” We conversed about the road and the forests for a few minutes, concluding with Stick sharing his hobby of riding mules into the mountains… “And when we can’t enjoy the mountains and ride mules, it is a BUMMER!” Thanks for keeping the Wild West alive, Stick.
Since the road was impassable, I threw the Surly over my shoulder and scrambled up to the hot spring access point. The spring was mostly washed out but marked by lively algal an bacterial growth clinging to the mineral-rich rocks. Thanks for that knowledge, Dr. Bruslind.
Back at camp, the Wood River had flooded the tent site, leading to the discovery that a Marmot Apex 2P fits into the bed of a 2000 Toyota Tacoma. The real look of luxury.
My neighbors quickly took interest in my confusion or ingenuity. Enough so to invite me over… “Would you like an I P A?!”
Over beer, Anke, Bob, Eamon and I talked about politics, touring, camping, teaching and Idaho. A nice way to end Day 1, as solo touring can get lonely.
Day 2 kicked off with Trail Creek Summit, a climb that kicks from about 6000′ in Sun Valley, up paved road until about 7000′, where it climbs steeply up the side of a canyon to the border of the Sawtooth-Challis National Forest. This was the toughest climb of the trip, riddled with rockfall, cold winds and steep grades. Good thing it was open!