Today’s episode in bike touring found Felkerino and I sidling along the Salmon River for most of the 82 miles we covered. Our route was via highway Idaho 93, but it was quiet except for the perpetual singing of the Salmon River. Now that’s the kind of highway noise I could get used to.
I love my Potomac River commutes, but the Salmon River is a completely distinct character. It converses with us as we ride, its flowing water talking just the right amount.
The river was largely visible as we rode, and areas beside it were lush green– a sharp contrast to the arid hills enveloping us.
As the day’s heat and sun increased, the river beckoned to us. “I’m right here. Dip yourselves in.”
For many miles I ignored these invitations. Despite being a Pisces, I’m not really into water. I mean, I shower and stuff, but water for recreation and relaxation is not my thing.
But the heat kept rising and the river would not rescind its invitation to submerge ourselves. Finally, Felkerino and I could no longer resist the appeal of cool water flowing over our bodies so we pulled over and dipped our feet in. Heaven.
We stopped once more before reaching North Fork, our final destination for the day. Again, pure bliss. My toes reveled in the water’s fresh temperatures.
Perhaps I’m more of a water person than I knew. All I needed was the brilliant heat of Idaho and a soft, yet insistent, serenade by the Salmon River to show me the way.
Felkerino said that today is when the mountains embraced us. I said it was a day of bike tour magic.
Part of the reason for that, of course, was the beautiful climbing on the Million Dollar Highway for the first 38 miles. We ascended from Ouray at 7,800 feet to over 10,000 feet and crossed three passes in the first half of our ride: Red Mountain; Molas; and Coal Bank.
Recently, a friend recommended Willa Cather’s My Ántonia so I have been reading it. I’ve always avoided this book because it sounded too much like required high school reading. Now I understand why that is so, although I don’t know that I would have appreciated all this book had to offer had I read it earlier in life.
Jump photos. If you haven’t done one, you should try it.
You have to intuit the right moment for a jump, as it’s unlikely to turn out if forced.
Sometimes a jump photo was just what we needed during our Sedona hikes this week (longer wrap-up post about that on deck) because it took us away from a tough moment on the trail and reminded us we were on vacation.
It took a few shots to capture us all airborne, but eventually we got there.
This photo was taken as we reached our turnaround point on Bear Mountain. We hiked our way up a steep stairstep climb until we began the ups and downs of the final mile to the ridge that would lead us to our final lookout.
It was getting hot and the hiking was losing some of its fun factor. We took a break to eat a snack and cool down. Good humor returned at the realization that a fast descent was in our near future. Before heading down, though, we took a moment to jump.
A good jump brings me back to the carefree joy of being healthy and alive. And three people simultaneously leaping and sharing that feeling makes it even better.
So like I said, if you haven’t tried it you should set the camera’s auto-timer and go for it.