A couple weeks ago I inched closer to my mid-thirties. Time seriously needs to slow down. My cousin Ben from Tennessee happened to drive across the country to visit/celebrate and we had an awesome time. [I’m sure he also wanted to run and hike the fly over states but right now, this is all about me] Saturday we took him to one of our favorite hikes right downtown. It’s pretty easy but has some of the best views of the lake and cool side paths that take you to coves and beaches. While we were out and about I had beef slow roasting at home – dinner that night was slow cooked korean beef tacos with marinated cucumber slaw. heaven. I’m sure we did something else that afternoon but my brain doesn’t work well these days.
Sunday we all tried something new. We planned to ride the Hiawatha Trail. We drove the scenic route to the trail to save some $$ on the shuttle. We took a random dirt road from behind an old craftsman style house right downtown in Wallace, ID. This dirt road went on for miles and miles and included ATV trails, backpacking trails and beautiful views of the bitterroot mountains. It was awesome.
The Hiawatha Trail
was called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. When the Milwaukee Railroad was operating, the trains traversed through 11 tunnels and over 9 high trestles, covering a 46 mile route that crossed the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The “Route of the Hiawatha” is most famous for the long St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel which burrows for 8771 ft. (1.66 miles) under the Bitterroot Mountains at the state line.
Check out the History here. You can now bike this trail – about 15 miles of it, including many tunnels and trestles. The tunnels are pitch black and freezing – a head lamp or bike light is required and most of those aren’t bright enough. We did this slightly…ghetto style. Mick and I both gave our bikes away prior to the move. You can rent bikes at the trailhead, but we’re kind of cheap and decided to borrow from friends. Mick ended up with a 30lb mountain bike with dry rotted tires and unstable handle bars and me…well I had a vintage road cruiser with skinny wheels. At first we didn’t think much of our “gear” until Mick’s tire needed to be replaced immediately upon arrival. While Ben did work on the bike, Mick and I were coaxing chipmunks out of Ben’s car with cashews. Those little things get into everything!
We finally took off on our trek – the first tunnel was 1.66 miles long – it was probably 50 degrees inside but absolutely amazing.
Soon upon exiting the first tunnel, I slow motion wrecked on my awesomely agile cruiser and tore up my hands and leg. I also almost fell into a large pile of elk dung and then proceeded to almost pass out. It was definitely one for the memory books.
The ride lasted about two hours, halfway through Mick and I switched bikes. He was a sight for sore eyes – he forgot his bike helmet but happened to have his hard hat in the truck! When rocking the vintage cruiser he said, “I feel like a parisian girl in world war two carrying baguettes to the troops, all I need is a basket!” Every time he rode past Ben or I we could not stop laughing. I’m sure other trail riders had their own colorful commentary.
Here are some views from the trail and trestles! Breathtaking everywhere you looked! It was such a great day – we were definitely spent after – but it was worth it!