Tuesday, June 30, 2015

North Idaho Bucket List: Ride the Hiawatha

There was one thing that I REALLY wanted to do before we left Idaho:


The Hiawatha Trail is a roughly 15 mile gravel/dirt trail through the mountains of Idaho/Montana.  There is a VERY slight downhill grade, but not enough to just coast the whole way down.  It was such a fun experience and I'm so glad we did it.

D and I took a day off from packing to take M up to ride in the Burley trailer with us, while grandparents watched baby J.  We started riding around 9:45 am and I'm really glad we didn't start any later because it got warm and it took us quite a while to finish!

The first 1.5 miles pass through an old railway tunnel.  We knew this, and friends told us to bring flashlights/headlamps and wear a sweatshirt, but man, even with that knowledge I was still surprised at how dark/cold/unsettling it is to ride a bike for 10 minutes in pitch black!

D and I each had 1 headlamp on and M had a flashlight in the trailer.  If I did it again, I would bring even more lights because I could really only see about 5 feet in front of me!  The folks who went through before us had flashing rear lights, so I tried to focus on following them while not freezing my fingers off.  Wear gloves if you go!  I had a sweatshirt, but that wasn't enough so I was frozen by the time we popped out the other side.

The rest of the ride was gorgeous.  We stopped for photo ops and snack breaks.  M did great until we had about 5 miles left to go - by that point he was tired of the bike trailer and the trail was fairly bumpy, so he had enough.  We made it to the end though, without any major fits, and he LOVED riding the big school bus back to the top of the trail.

The bus ride was probably the scariest part of the trip for me because there are no guardrails along the road back up the mountains, and people on ATVs were driving crazy out there.  Dude, what's the rush?  I was having some mom-heart palpitations for sure.

At the end, you ride back through the 1.5 mile tunnel again, and it got really exciting for us because D's crank fell off of his bike midway through the tunnel!  So there we were, standing there in near darkness as he put it back on.  It was comical, and he was able to fix it enough to get almost out the tunnel, so we only had to walk about a quarter mile in the dark.

It was super fun and I'm so thankful that we had the opportunity to #ridethehiawatha!  

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