It’s seriously so hot here in Idaho. Both awesomeness wise and temperature. To be honest, it would be too hot for me if it wasn’t such an awesome state. Which I will get to but for now, lets rewind to Washington.
Coming in from eastern Washington, we stopped in Winthrop, WA for a sweet mountain bike ride on Buck Mountain. The first few miles went 2,000ft uphill on a gravel path, giving us a pretty solid work out, and then it rolled along a cool ridgeline. In several spots we came across herds of cows, which Leika heroically chased off the path for us. It was a bit dusty, but traction was still good. I had another “oh, sh*t” moment and almost fell off my bike down the hill, but caught myself milliseconds before smashing my face into a jagged rock. Just skinned my knee, adding to the collection of scratches/scrapes/scars on my legs.
After the ride, we were ready to shower off the dust and cool off, but before heading to a campground or gym in an attempt to find a free shower, we swung by Sun Mountain Lodge… We pulled up and hobbled over to a shady bench to take in the beautiful view. It was right next to a pool which we couldn’t resist. We ran back to the car, changed and jumped into the pool. Amazing. The lodge was beautiful and was situated in the middle of a cross country ski track, which in the summer is converted into and extensive network of mountain bike trails. Winthrop seems to be off the beaten path, despite a 120 mile cross-country ski trail network during winter. We’ll certainly be back for some skiing.
So now back to Idaho… We started from Missoula, MT and headed south along RT 93. We didn’t spend too much time exploring Missoula, but we did have an intresting encounter on our way into town. We were pulled over at a look out where Jakob and Leika had gone for a bathroom break – Nikki was sitting in the passenger seat with the door open and reading. A guy riding a massive motorcycle came up to her and started chatting about reading and books… after a somewhat strange conversation he walked away only to return with a book called “Till Death Do Us Part”… Now, but to RT 93. It was a dry and windy road so it took a little while to get to Stanley, Idaho, our next goal. The last few miles of driving into Stanley are stunning. You have red rock running along one side of the road and a beautiful stream along the other. We drove into the small town (home to only 64 people) and our jaws dropped. It was situated at the base of the Sawtooth Mountain range, that loomed over the town with jagged, sawtooth-like peaks (and we stopped wondering about the name). Again, it was incredibly warm so we stopped by Redfish Lake (“one of the most photographed places in the world – if not Idaho” – visitor center staff) and took Leika in for her first swim. It wasn’t her favorite thing but she wanted to be with Jakob and me, so she followed us in. The second her feet lost touch with the ground, she’d start clawing at us. She got a little more comfortable with time and was a surprisingly fast swimmer.
After the swim, we picked up some groceries and headed out to a dirt road someone recommended for camping… Amazing. You drive a few miles up a dirt road and just pull over somewhere flat to a spectacular view of the Sawtooth Mountains – with nobody around. The next morning we continued driving down the road to where there were several more camping spots, with equally, if not more impressive views.
The next day we headed down to Sun Valley. We spent the morning walking around town, which was great. While sitting outside and planning our day, a couple that has lived in the area for over 27 years started talking to us and gave us not only some great pointers, but a very warm and welcoming feel to the area. We headed out of town for a mountain bike ride, where another local guy went out of his way to ask if we wanted some advice on which trails to ride. It was really nice to have met such friendly and warm people so quickly. After the ride, we spent some time at Lefty’s, a local bar, where we met more friendly locals! Leika managed to get her fair share of treats, so everyone was happy.
After spending the night in the National Forest nearby, we left town to head towards Wyoming!