Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coeur d' Alene bicycle adventure

We returned from an amazing vacation September 5. We spent a whole week in Northern Idaho along 70 miles of paved bicycle trail on an old railroad bed. It begins in Mullen Idaho and runs down along the Coeur d’ Alene’s and ends at Plummer Idaho. Because it runs on the old railroad bed it is pretty much non-hilly except for the last mile or so. We started our adventure on the Hiawatha Trail which is a separate 13 mile trail which is not paved but still on an railroad bed which winds through the mountains and through several tunnels, one of which is a mile and a quarter long. It is in this tunnel where you cross the state line from Montana to Idaho. They met in the middle at the state line so you actually stand in two states in the middle of the tunnel. There are several trestle bridges you cross and at the end of the 13 mile descent you have the choice of loading your bike on a shuttle bus and taking it back or taking your bike back up. We chose the bus and it was worth the eighteen bucks we had to shell out.

One evening we had a little time after riding the trail and checked out Wallace Cemetery. It was up the canyon road about a mile and up on a hill. I had never seen a cemetery quite like it. It had very old headstones that were from the mid 1800’s. It is still being used so it was really interesting to see all the different dates and headstones. We were there at dusk and we got a little spooked later on when it got really dark. Tony thought he heard something in the trees so we opted to leave. Next time we’ll go during daylight.

We stopped at a women’s garden in her backyard. Apparently she works in her garden quite often and she gives her seeds away and if you see her there she will come and talk to you and put your name and city on a bright colored ball and hang it on the fence. We weren’t lucky enough to get to see her. We stopped at Cataldo and took a tour in the oldest standing building in Idaho. It has been renovated in 1974 but they said that there is still 80 percent of the original material still standing. It was a pretty amazing place to see.

We spent a day in Coeur d’ Alene but the wind was blowing so hard that day it was kind of hard to get around. They had burning some fields so the whole valley was filled with smoke. The next day the smoke cleared out and the wind died down and finished the last section of the trail. It was on this day we had a baby bear run 5 feet in front of us and into the bushes. We were both so startled and it happened so fast that neither one of us had time to pull out camera to snap a picture. We were both terrified the Mom was going to come charging out of the bushes and attack us, but we never did see her.

All in all we logged 157 miles in 6 days and we really want to go back and do it again. Anyone want to join us next year?

Here is some of the Wildlife we encountered (minus "The Bear")