This bike trip, 17 miles on the Route of the Hiawatha, was one of the things I was most looking forward to about our trip! It wasn't a very long trip, but was made adventurous by the 10 train tunnels we rode through, as well as 7 super high trestles to cross!
On the way to pick up our bikes, I realized I'd forgotten my camera at the condo. :( In the past, I would have insisted we go back for it OR had a terrible mood for the rest of the day because I was missing out on getting great pictures. This time, though, I felt it was God giving me an opportunity to "rise above" the circumstances and look at the big picture. I opted to be okay with pictures on our phones (a big step for me!) and the day was Great! I am pretty happy with all of these phone pictures: =)
We drove to the headquarters, picked up our bikes (already selected and labeled for us, depending on our height, etc) and they helped us load them in the back of the Explorer (since we didn't have a hitch to put a bike rack on).
We drove into Montana (Yay! Another new state for us!) to the trail head. Most of the trail was in Idaho.
The trail was gorgeous - mostly along HUGE drop offs! (Thankfully the trail was wide enough that we felt safe-ish. =) We were riding on the very last day of the season that the trail was open, so it was quite busy!
Love this one that a kind stranger took
There's one of the trestles way in the background
See how far down that is??
Another kind cyclist took this one (but didn't really get that we wanted the bridge in the background)
There it is, way in the distance
(We would ride over it later)
I love taking adventures with this guy!!
The weather was so beautiful
On one of the trestles
(On the side "boardwalks", you could look down through wide cracks and see all the way to the ground!)
Here's a shot over the side (I wonder how many cell phones are down there?)
Philip on another bridge
At the entrance to one of the tunnels
Okay, I have to talk about the tunnels for a minute. They are not lit, so you can only see by turning on the small light on the front of your bike. The first tunnel (at the Very beginning of the ride) was 1.8 miles long!! It curved right inside the entrance, so the light was immediately blocked out and it was D-A-R-K. Dark, dark, dark. The lights really only shone brightly enough for you to see a few feet in front of you, and to know where the walls and other cyclists were. They did nothing to "brighten it up" at all. The ceiling looked like a cave, water was dripping down, the path was bumpy and filled with small puddles...and it dropped off on either side into a fairly deep gutter! Oh, also, it was COLD!!! So cold that before long I had to ride with one hand in my pocket (wishing desperately for gloves), and the other one turned bright red and stiff and sore! It seemed like a long time before we saw a pinhole of light at the other end and were SO glad to burst out into the sunshine again! 1.8 miles was definitely long enough. Had it been any longer, I think I would have started to get really depressed in there =) None of the other tunnels were nearly that long, and some you could see the other end from the entrance.
Me on a trestle
Looking down at a road winding through the valley
We made good time and were passed only once while we were moving. The trail was pretty easy to ride on and went in a downhill direction (though never very steep) the entire time. It Was very bumpy though (with a lot of loose rock), so my hands and arms were getting a little jarred by the end.
At the end (Philip is imitating the person on the Hiawatha sign) =)
At the end, they have shuttles (old school buses) meet you and pick up your bikes. We were trying to make the 1:15 shuttle, that's why we were motivated to keep moving at a good pace. We had a bit of extra time, so we sat on a bench and had our lunch before getting on the bus. It was pretty full so we had to split up, but both sat by pretty interesting people, so the half hour ride wasn't bad. The bummer was that the bus couldn't make it (full of people) back up the steep roads to the trail head, so it dropped us off at the entrance to the first (long, COLD) tunnel and we had to ride back through it again to the start! It helped that we knew what to expect this time though, and we were riding with more people, so it didn't quite as isolated and dark.
What a fun time! We decided that it was too late in the day to try and do the hike we had planned, so we headed back to our condo in the late afternoon. It was beautiful out and I needed to go for a run, so we changed and headed out to a beautiful running path that went right by our condo.
Pre run selfie
(Philip ran parts of my run with me and geocached in between) =)
The trail was flat and gorgeous (in the valley between mountains) so my five miles went by fast (but my legs certainly felt like they had already had a workout from the bike!)
That evening we ate random stuff for dinner (to make sure we didn't end up with groceries we couldn't use since we were leaving the condo the next day). We just relaxed, watched some Lions football and found ourselves back in the hot tub, nursing our aching bones =)