20140804 Better Late Than Never
Good things come to those who wait…both a lot of photos, and other things as will become apparent if you keep reading.
Inspired by Andrew and Lina’s trip a couple of years ago, this year’s summer holiday was to Idaho, to ride the Sawtooth Mountains.
It was also our first “real” trip in Bess, newly fitted out with an awning which we put to good use for drinking beer under on our way across Oregon:
Our first stop was Boise, Idaho, a city we were interested in checking out as it potentially has both jobs and mountains. Turns out it’s pretty nice with an old brick downtown, leafy streets and singletrack riding from downtown. It was also hotter’n’hell, so we had to cut short the riding before Angie fainted from heat exhaustion.
That afternoon we drove round to our first real destination, the conjoined towns and MAMIL capitals of Ketchum and Sun Valley.
After a bit of gear-shop wandering and discussion with one of the local bike shops we headed just up the road to ride Chocolate Gultch.
Chocolate, bikes, and mountains. I began to wonder if we would ever leave?
Turns out they have big skies in Idaho, too:
and mountains that go as far as the eye can see, with not a soul in them:
They must have a pretty healthy population of trail-fairies though, as there was a ripper of descent from the ridgetop back to the valley.
It turns out that Ernest Hemingway was a big fan of Ketchup, and there is a rather nice little memorial with a shady stream running through it:
Next day, time for a little bigger ride. The Bald Mountain ski hill dominates the view as you stand in downtown Ketchum, and handily they built a couple of nice singletracks that climb all the way to the top, and back again, without having to pay for the gondola.
Going up is Cold Springs Creek, a long (and I mean 3 hours or so) gentle climb:
3/4 of the way up is this handy viewpoint:
Looking over the ridge we could see our descent trail (Warm Springs Trail) snaking off round the mountain:
On the summit finally, pretty amazing views, but sadly no beer or ice cream:
After a day of lounging around in Ketchum we packed up and headed North towards Stanley, stopping for a shower at the hot springs before climbing over Galena Pass until you get a view down the Stanley valley and into the Sawtooths beyond:
One great thing about Stanley is that there is a bunch of free camping. We stayed a couple of nights at the Redfish Lake overflow, which is free and has a toilet, and is all of about 500m up the road from the pay campsite:
Bess is slowly turning all our camping trips into glamping. Candlelit dessert anyone?
Next day we decided to pack the day with a hike to Sawtooth Lake in the morning and a ride round the Elk Mountain loop in the afternoon. However, I had something else on my mind as well…
Up at the small subsidiary lake just below Sawtooth Lake, Angie found a nice spot to sit for a snack. Also the one spot almost impossible to kneel on.
It only took me six years, but I finally popped the question. Hysterical laughter ensued, which was a bit disconcerting, but while gasping for a breath, she also managed to say yes.
The ring even (almost) fitted!
Shortly afterwards, at the real Sawtooth Lake:
Looking back down, a spectacular spot for a memorable moment:
As we hiked down there is a lot of alpine rock across the valley, there must be good climbing
Not wanting the small matter of an engagement get in the way of riding, we went round to Stanley Lake and headed out round Elk Mounatin.
Spectacular meadows with views up to the Sawtooth wilderness, but not an Elk to be seen.
End of Part 1, to be continued….