Lowell ID to Powel ID-66 miles
We were slow to get up because the nearby cafe along the Clearwater River didn't open until 7am. By the time we got there, it was packed.
Ed and I sat with an interesting German couple who was in the U.S. visiting their grand-nephew. They were highly complementary of the people in our country which always makes me proud. Their comments about the work pressures that Germans are under made me thing about our own situations and the opportunity to do a trip like this. I guess I'm thinking to much about being back at work next week. Enough of that BS.
It was interesting to learn from the cafe owner that river was low even though it looked fast moving to me. Snow pack was far less than normal this year so the whitewater season was quickly wrapping up. She anticipates a busy fire season and referenced the last good burn which took place in the 1930's.
As we traveled upriver, it started out flat and wide with small rapids and then narrowed and quickened and became more aggressive. It was more beautiful around every bend until about 40 miles into the ride when we realized that every bend looked exactly the same. We wanted to see the bend in the road that led to Lochsa Lodge (our campground for the night). Unlike previous days, the views were near by and very similar. The sameness became monotonous.
Around us were the evergreen covered mountains that make up the Selway - Bitterroot Wilderness. While we saw a few fly fisherman, the river was generally free of people. We saw several trail heads but no hikers.
With the heat, we decided to stop often. At one point, about 40 miles into the day, we decided to get off the road and into the river. We spent about 2 hours soaking as well as resting in the shade. It was a much needed break.
Today is a transition day so we knew that Karl Murphy would be flying into Missoula. Ed put out a text to Murph yesterday asking him to meet us at tonight's campsite with food and cold drinks. Murph did better than that! He drove down the road and met us with 23 miles to go. He had a cooler full of cold drinks for us. It could not have been better. We were feeling the heat and we were sick of drinking very warm water. We all pounded sodas and hit the road. The last miles of the day were the best. We pushed a fast pace to our campground which proved to be posh by previous night's standards.
We stuffed ourselves on the food that Karl brought... Cold cuts, bread, chips, pickles, soda, oranges, bananas, peanut butter, jelly, Nutella, and ice cream to go on the delicious pound cake that Mrs. Broz made! It was a feast beyond any other that we have had on this trip! How I had room for a root beer float an hour later, I have no idea.
We invited Ironman and Ian over to share the feast. Ironman wished us well with the expectation that he would be a day ahead by Monday. He paid the boys a very nice complement. Having camped a few days earlier in New Meadows next to a group of local teens, he saw how the other half behaves. He shook hands with each scout and praised their accomplishment and work ethic. He made a point of telling us that we were riding with a great bunch of guys. I can only agree. We wish him safe travels to Virginia.
After dinner we all took our first showers in 3 days. We all felt fantastic and refreshed and ready for Lolo Pass tomorrow! I can't wait to do another 12 mile climb.