June 3 – day 17: rafters in the river and hot springs

June 3 – day 17: rafters in the river and hot springs

June 3 day 17

Miles 58.5

Campsite near Lowell ID to Lochsa Lodge ID

Brett got up super early and quietly. I can understand getting up with the sun or trying to be out early so you miss the heat, but a 6am leave every day is a little much for me.

Another day of riding on the river gorge. Today was the first day though I saw more than just river. There were paddlers out there as well! Which amazes me because just how swollen and fast the river was moving. In Richmond the James is no slouch for water, especially in flood times, but this was a whole other thing. There were stretches of a full mile where there was nothing but churned white water moving faster than I was. Rushing and roaring and drowning out all other sounds.  

I stopped and talked with a few folks as a group was putting in. A cyclist there let me know that the Lochsa Lodge was nice and the camping was free to cyclists, but the food was pricey. No worries – I still had things in my food bag.

This was a stretch though that had no services for the stretch. There was a ranger station about halfway that had water which was good. It had been the hub for firewatch towers in the area and had quite a bit of interesting history regarding the region’s rangers and backwoods fire fighters.

The other interesting thing is all the small bridges and cable cars that cross the river. Some are legitimate pack bridges meant for animals and People to cross. Others are simply zip lines and cable cars that someone had put up in the past. How legal some of these are I’ll never know, but it was interesting to see ingenuity at work.

With about 7 miles to go and moving faster than I had anticipated I stopped at the Jerry Johnson Warm Springs area and took a hike to the springs themselves. They were wonderful. The perfect temperature that you want when you get into a hot bath. I sat and soaked for a good 30 minutes and utterly relaxed. When i did finally get out though I felt a little drained – that type of feeling you get after too long in a hot tub. An easy solution lay in front of me though – one of the streams leading into the river.

Mountain snow melt water feels like nothing else except ice. It was a great way to wake up though. I doused myself and was left gasping when I put my head in. I soaked my Jersey for good measure and shivered for a few minutes at the difference between the 85 degree day and the 50 degree water.

As I was leaving there was a pile of butterflies just hanging out on the side of the road. The whole day had been filled with butterflies and they just stood still for a moment.

I also met a charming Australian couple. Ros and Mark are currently motorcycling their way around the country. You can find their adventure at Facebook.com/endlessroad2017

Lochsa Lodge was a gem and their camp store had ice cream so I was happy. Two Choco Tacos later I was content with life and the day.

2 Replies to “June 3 – day 17: rafters in the river and hot springs”

  1. Sights and sounds–good reporting. Quite a contrast between the warm springs and the cold clarity of the mountain’s snow melt. And nothing like a paid of Choco Tacos as one’s just desserts.

  2. “It always seem impossible until it’s done”
    Shall we try some Oxymoron’s just to keep ya thinking
    Act Naturally, Sanitary Landfill, Alone together, Legally drunk, Soft rock, and working vacation.

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