I left Cottonwood around 8:00 (as an aside...this is the third Cottonwood I've either stayed at, or gone through). Last night there was a thunder and lightning storm. I only got a little rain. Apparently, where I am tonight (Grayback Gulch outside Idaho City), got tons of rain along with the thunderstorm. I heard several people in Idaho City talking about last night's storm.
I knew I had 15 miles of climbing. At first, although I was continuously climbing, it wasn't too bad. But then there were some really steep sections. I'm mean REALLY STEEP!!! I was sure I was going to have to walk, but I didn't! When I would get to the top of one of the horribly steep sections, I would congratulate myself (really...it was a feat of extraordinary strength...well, that and I knew there was no way I could push MC and JP up that steep of a hill). Then, on the parts that were still pretty steep, but not as bad as the others, I would tell myself this song and dance about how it wasn't that bad.
This pretty much went on for most of the 15 miles. However, the scenery was spectacular!
Ah yes, one of the not so bad sections.
You can see part of the problem was the gullies from the rain. Tricky to negotiate at times.
Yes, there was a little bit of rain.
Thorn Creek Butte Lookout (fortunately, didn't have to ride up to it).
I'm not sure this photo does justice to the beauty of the purple flower meadow on both sides of the road. This was almost at the top.
I came to where I was supposed to turn (I think the other way went up to the lookout), but I wasn't so sure. I made the turn and immediately started going downhill. I had this thought, that if I was wrong, I would have to go back up. Fortunately, I was not wrong. When I saw Bald Mountain CG, I knew I was going the right way. I stopped there for some lunch. I had calculated it would take me about 5 hours to make it to Bald Mtn CG. It took me about almost exactly that!
Wouldn't want to camp here unless you had water.
Then came the reward! Just about the same amount of downhill into Idaho City. The downhill was nice, but I noticed it was not nearly as steep as what I had gone up. So, that makes this a con for going clockwise. Unless, of course, one is looking for bragging rights about having made the climb from the other direction!
I arrived in Idaho City about 1 1/2 hours after my lunch at the top. As this is the first real town since Ketchum (okay, there was Featherville...but not much there), I needed groceries, and wifi (no cell service for AT&T--sporadic for Verizon). The Boise Basin Public Library had excellent wifi! After uploading the last four days of posts, I headed to Grayback Gulch CG. It's about 2 miles out of town in the wrong direction (and downhill except for getting into the campground). The good thing is I will be able to upload this post tomorrow when I go back through Idaho City. This is the first night in six nights that I have paid for camping...a whopping $15 for vault toilets and water you have to hand crank yourself (and it is kind of brownish in color...delightful). However, the campground is full (it is Friday).
Total miles today: 32.4
Average speed: 5.6 (at times I was going a new record low of 2.0 mph)