Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 20--A Shower of the Thunder Variety

I picked up the Harriman Trail at Prairie Creek CG.
It was a nice trail, and I wish I'd ridden it from Galena Lodge like I was supposed to (ah...hindsight is always 20/20). Still, I had several miles on it.
A nice gravel trail, double-track most of the way.

There were a couple of nice campgrounds along the trail. I stopped at Wood River CG for my morning snack.
The trail runs along Big Wood River. 

I hadn't seen anyone else on the trail, until I saw a gal walking her dog. I stopped and chatted with her. Her name was Catherine Bryan (totally making up how she spells it). Her and her husband have a house here, but they also have a house in Seattle...Magnolia to be precise. I asked if by chance she knew my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Pat and Mary Welch. She didn't know them, but they don't live far from each other.

I continued on. As I came to the end of the Harriman Trail, I was talking to a guy, when I noticed some cyclists on mountain bikes with panniers stopped on the hwy looking at a map. I hollered over to them, asking if they were looking for the Harriman Trail. Sure enough, they were.
This is Mary and Ray from New York. They are doing the whole loop too (of course, counterclockwise). They started in Boise. We did the usual swap of trail info. They said they are traveling with some friends who were a bit behind them.
Mary and Ray's friends, Andreas and Suzanne, also from New York. They were both doing more the bikepacking method. Notice Andreas' bike. Yes, I finally found someone with fat bike tires! He called it his Frankenbike because he put a Surly Krampus fork on a different frame. We both agreed the 3" tires were great. I told him I had finally dialed in the perfect tire pressure. Andreas and Suzanne are not sure if they will have time to do the whole loop. But, they might go to McCall, and figure out a way to get back to Boise in time for their flight. They asked me how McCall was. I told them it was nice, and worth a visit.

I had to ride on the hwy for awhile until I could pick up the Wood River Trail. It's a paved bike trail that goes all the way into Ketchum. Since I had caught up to within 13 miles of where I was supposed to be yesterday, I rode on into Ketchum and hung out for awhile. Okay, hung out...maybe not, but I got things done that I needed to do. I went to the market first.
A nice store much like Eugene's Market of Choice or Whole Foods; which might lead you to believe it was expensive. You would be right. But, sometimes it is better because I am able to get things in smaller quantities (for example, I was able to get a salamini--a small salami). I also got some lunch in the form of a turkey wrap and a smoothie. I went across to the town center/plaza place and ate my lunch. My bike computer battery is running low. Lucky me, there was a drugstore in the same little mall as the market, and they had the battery I needed. My shopping complete, I opened up JP's dry bag and put away my groceries. I also pulled out my iPad so I could post yesterday's blog. I checked my email and took a glance at Facebook. 
The plaza.
Cool horse sculpture.

All my housekeeping duties done, it was time to head back to the route. I returned to the gravel about 4 miles out of town. My goal was Cottonwood CG. Before I made it to the gravel, a thunderstorm started. I didn't figure it would last long, so I didn't put my raincoat on. I was only slightly chilled, more because the wind was blowing. Soon enough, the rain stopped. When I got onto the gravel, it was actually nice because the rain had knocked down the dust. 

As for the campground, it's kind of like Prairie Creek was. It's not a formal campground, just sites along the forest service road. Nothing ever said "Cottonwood". I looked at site 8 (strangely, they were numbered). It was nice, but without easy access to the creek. Site 9 was the same. Site 10 (the last one) is right on the creek. There was a pickup there, but it was just a fisherman, and he was heading out. I decided to call it a day. 

My first priority, because it was sunny, was to wash up some in the creek. Then I washed my bike shorts. I had two pair to wash because yesterday's wouldn't have dried overnight. This is one thing very different from road touring. When I am road touring, I can just dry laundry on the back of the bike during the next day. But, doing the mountain bike route makes that rather difficult. The dust coats everything...not conducive to drying laundry!

I could hear more thunder in the distance. No time for lolly gagging around! I got my tent set up, everything in it that is necessary, closed up the dry sack, and covered Mama Cass with the tarp. No rain. So, I decided I would go ahead and filter some water. As I'm standing there holding the bag over my head (oh yeah, I bought a Platypus Gravity Filter in Stanley--I have a Steripen, but the Platypus is much easier), I start to feel the first few raindrops. I got most of the water filtered before retreating to my tent. I started writing this in my tent, but now the rain has stopped, so I'm back outside.

Now I am more miles short, but tomorrow I will have been on the loop for 7 days. I have as many as 18 days total to do the whole loop. It's okay if I don't stick with my itinerary. Tomorrow is a long climb to Dollarhide Summit.

Total miles today: 30.26
Average speed: 8.4 (a good chunk of gentle downhill)

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