Monday, September 07, 2009

Trail of the Couer d' Alenes

We had heard about the Trail of the Couer d' Alenes several years ago. We enjoy riding our bikes so much we thought it would be something we'd enjoy doing. So we decided that we'd not let another summer go by without making the trip to Northern Idaho to ride the trail. The trail goes 72 miles across the panhandle of Northern Idaho from Mullen, near the Montana border, to Plummer, on Idaho/Washington border.

Randy is standing at the Trailhead in Mullan where we started our ride Friday morning. We found a woman (that's a whole other story) who would drive with us to Mullan, drop us and our bikes off at the trailhead, and then drive our car back to our Bed and Breakfast in Harrison. So on Friday morning, we left our B&B and drove to Mullan to begin our ride on the Trail of the Couer d'Alenes. We started our ride at about 9:30 a.m., it was a cool 65 degrees, the sun was shining and we headed off ready for a long, beautiful ride.
Here we are at Wallace, just 8 or 9 miles into our ride. The trail for about the first 20 miles was a gentle downgrade. Even though it was next to the interstate you didn't even really notice it because the trail winds through the trees and except for a few open places you never even see the interstate. It was a beautiful paved trail and a very easy ride.
We stopped for a little break near Osburn at this little roadside garden.
This sunny little hillside garden was planted by a woman who obviously loves to garden and just wanted to beautify the trail. There were birdhouses, a wishing well, and a mailbox and a lots of other stuff. If you wanted to take some of her free seeds you could leave a note in the mailbox. I helped myself to a couple of seed packets and then we were on our way again down the trail.
(I'll plant the seeds somewhere in my garden and they'll be nice reminder of fun trip)

Our next stop was at the old train depot at Kellogg. We stopped just long enough to go inside and get a map and then we were on our way again. At this point we were about a third of the way.

The area near Smelterville was the most open area of the whole ride. Like many of the old towns in Northern Idaho, it was an old mining town. We stopped long enough to take a picture and were on our way again.

About every 8 to 10 miles we'd stop and get off our bikes and take a little break. Every few miles all along the trail there are nice benches and restrooms. Our legs weren't tired but we got tired of sitting so we took advantage of some of these nice rest stops. Taking a few minutes to walk around, drink some water or eat a little snack was all we needed to keep us energized so we were ready to go again.

After we'd ridden about 25 miles, we stopped for lunch in Enaville. The locals said if you're anywhere near Enaville you had to stop at the Snake Pit. It's THE PLACE to eat. And they were right! It was a big ole log building that looked like it had been around for a long time. It was one of those places that had lots of character and served really good food. It was very convenient because it was just off the trail so anyone who ridden the trail knew about this place and so it was a good rest stop. It was nice to take about an hour to eat lunch, take a little break and feel refreshed ready to go again.

After we left Enaville, to trail left the little towns and headed out through the countryside. From here on the trail was mostly flat instead of being downhill. We were always is the woods and the colors were just starting to change. It was so pretty. It was perfect weather for a bike ride. Randy saw a fisherman on this bridge so he had to stop to visit for a minute to see if the fish were biting. The trail followed either along a river or a lake much of the time. We saw a lot of waterfowl as well as fishermen in boats and pleasure boats. It's such a pretty area.

This view of the trail shows a stretch where we were leaving some of the wooded areas and going out through some marshland. Even the colors in the marshes were beautiful. The grasses and reeds were different shades of reds, greens, and golds so even in the open there was beauty all around us.

The trail just kept on going and going . . . . and going. And so did we!

For several miles as we rode along, we kept noticing muddy tracks coming up out of the marshes, crossing the trail, then leaving the trail again. We could tell they were moose tracks but we rode for miles and miles and never saw anything.
After following all those muddy tracks, I had just said, "I can't believe we haven't seen a moose". We hadn't gone another 200 yards when a moose came out of the trees and stood on the trail. We couldn't believe it! She just stood there eating the leaves off the trees. Of course we had to stop and just watch. We heard more noise and then . . . .
. . . out came twins following their mother. It was an amazing sight! We were glad to see one moose, but we never expected to get to see a mother with twins! Twins are pretty rare and to be able to see them up close was really special. We wondered, if one is a moose . . . what are three? Mices - Moosen - Moose and Micen - - who knows? But whatever you called it, it was really something to see. The three of them just wondered back and forth across the trail eating from the trees and not at all concerned about the bikers standing there watching them. They stood there for over 10 minutes until finally they moved off the trail and down a slope until they were a safe distance from the trail. A moose is pretty unpredictable in any circumstances, but a mother with youngens is even more so. It's better to be safe than sorry, just because they're a big clumsy looking animal doesn't mean they can't move fast. We were so lucky to be able to see them!
Randy is on the home stretch now. He's coming down the last part of the trail. From here we only had another 5 or 6 miles to our Bed and Breakfast. We were like a couple of horses headed for the barn . . . there was no stopping us now!
We finally made it to Harrison . . . 57 miles from where we'd started at Mullen. It had been the longest ride we'd ever attempted but we did great! We had started our ride that morning and seven hours later we had reached our destination. We were tired of sitting but we'd made it in good shape and still felt pretty good. I wouldn't have ever believed we could have ridden that far in a day, but we didn't try to hurry. . . we made lots of rest stops . . . just really enjoyed our adventure together. And the fact that we'd ridden 30 miles the day before made it even a greater accomplishment. It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. And when you can travel that distance riding next to your best friend, enjoying the beautiful scenery and having a new adventure together, how can you help but have a terrific time? It had been a beautiful day, we'd seen some awesome countryside. We'd throughly enjoyed the day we'd spend together - - making great memories all along the way!

1 comment:

Kristi Burley said...

Awesome!! Glad you two are able to get out and enjoy such great rides. I'm not sure if I got a love for riding from you....or if you got it from me. But it's terrific either way! RIDE ON!