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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:

1 - farewell bend

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.

2 - boise riding

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?

3 - chocolate gultch

Turns out they have big skies in Idaho, too:

4 - chocolate gultch summit

and mountains that go as far as the eye can see, with not a soul in them:

5 - ketchum countryside

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.

6 - chocolate gultch descent

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:

7 - hemingway memorial

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:

8 - coldspring climb

3/4 of the way up is this handy viewpoint:

9 - cold spring lookout

Looking over the ridge we could see our descent trail (Warm Springs Trail) snaking off round the mountain:

10 - warm springs trail

On the summit finally, pretty amazing views, but sadly no beer or ice cream:

11 - baldy summit

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:

12 - Stanley valley view

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:

13 - stanley free campsite

Bess is slowly turning all our camping trips into glamping. Candlelit dessert anyone?

14 - glamping

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.

15 - angie little sawtooth lake

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!

16 - ring

Shortly afterwards, at the real Sawtooth Lake:

18 - sawtooth lake

19 - sawtooth lake 2

Looking back down, a spectacular spot for a memorable moment:

17 - engagement lake

As we hiked down there is a lot of alpine rock across the valley, there must be good climbing

20 - rocky peaks

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.

21 - elk meadows

Spectacular meadows with views up to the Sawtooth wilderness, but not an Elk to be seen.

22 - elk meadows 2

End of Part 1, to be continued….

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One response

  1. Sheila and Percy

    Congratulations; what a beautiful spot to start your next chapter in life. We are delighted to hear the news. Sheila and Percy

    August 22, 2014 at 6:33 pm

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