Our Last Days In The U.S.
After we got off the river we felt pretty complete with Idaho. With summer "coming to an end" and so many other places to see and a new country to visit, we figured it was best to start heading north. We stopped in Coeur d’Alene and biked around the downtown area to check it out. We had a great lunch at a craft brewery, resupplied, then hit the road. A place like Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding area warrants more time, but we just weren't feeling it - we had CANADA on our minds! But before Canada, we had one more stop - The Hiawatha Trail (HT).
The Hiawatha Trail is a 15 mile “Hall of Fame” section of Rails-to-Trails. Riders go through 10 tunnels and ride over 7 sky-high trestles. Riding our bikes was sounding really good after being more sedentary on the river. With so many trails around the area we were hoping to extend the HT into a two day bike tour. Unfortunately, getting clear and consistent information about the HT proved to be more difficult then we expected. Getting information about connecting to another trail and extending the ride, even harder!
The afternoon led into the evening as we drove from Coeur d’Alene and John suggested we pull over to find a place to camp and grab a bite to eat. We ended up pulling over in Wallace, ID - a historic mining town that seemed to stand still in the 1800’s (we later learned that the WHOLE town is on the historic registry). We ate dinner at the local saloon and the place was packed! When we asked if the restaurant was always this busy, the waitress said everyone was there for the Huckleberry Festival. After dinner we strolled back to the rig. On the way I saw a flyer for the Huckleberry Festival and stopped to read it. There was a 5K the next morning, a pancake breakfast, live music downtown, vendors, mutton busting, and a bunch of other things happening. It seemed pretty fun! John immediately thought we should get up early and run the 5K. I was a little reluctant and the girls reacted with BIG groans of “NOOOOO”!!!!
The next morning, over coffee and while the girls were sleeping, John and I decided we should run the 5K and check out the Huckleberry Festival (so much good planning happens over coffee). One of the things on my “BT Wish List” was to do a 5K together as a family. But for me the 5K was going to be a family GOAL that we “trained” for, not a 5K off the couch! But sometimes things present themselves differently and you have to just go with it! When we woke the girls and told them the plan, they weren’t any more into the idea of running a 5K then the night before - not surprising!! But sometimes being a part of the Shaw Family means you have to do things you don't want to do! And anyway, we knew they would have fun once they got started!
The run was fun and it felt great to move our bodies...and the girls did a great job! After the run we ate huckleberry pancakes at the pancake breakfast. We then strolled downtown to check out the scene. We bought books at the library book sale, we got henna tattoos, tried huckleberry popcorn, had a sign made for Ridiculous, and even got some more information about the Hiawatha Trail. It was an unexpected great day in the town of Wallace, ID!
From Wallace we drove to Lookout Pass Ski Area at the Idaho/Montana border to camp for the night. We set up camp and had a relaxing afternoon and evening. John brings music into our lives several times a week when he plays his ukulele. Sometimes we sing along, sometimes we just listen, and sometimes Isla plays along with him. I just love this picture of the two of them playing music at camp at Lookout Pass.
Sometimes it's not always easy to decide what is right for the family when it comes to adventure and the right amount of challenge, push, ease, etc.. It's easy for the girls to initially say "noooo" to physical adventures, but after doing them they almost always enjoy them. So knowing when to push and when to hold back can be challenging. After going back and forth about the different options for riding the HT (extend the ride to tour, ride UP the Hiawatha Trail and then ride back down, ride it only downhill and take the shuttle back) John and I decided we would just ride the HT downhill from top to bottom and get the shuttle back. It wasn't really our favorite option, but it seemed like the best considering the logistics and the information we had to work with.
The ride starts with a 1.66 mile long tunnel - the longest tunnel any of us have ever ridden through. It was DARK and COLD and WET, but it was also really awesome! Once we started riding it didn’t take John and I long to realize we had made a mistake! We should have ridden the HT from the bottom to the top and then back down again. Knowing that we went into the day telling the girls we were only going to ride 15 miles (downhill) we knew it would be met with resistance to ride back up! With a little massaging, coaxing, and maybe even a little bribery we got them to agree to ride back! In the end, it was a great choice! We all enjoyed the HT so much more getting to ride it in both directions. It was fun to see the scenery in reverse and riding over all the trestles and in the tunnels twice made it even more fun!
From the HT we continued into Montana and had a short one night stay at Flathead Lake. We all took a swim at dusk in the cleanest, clearest water we've seen. Like Coeur d'Alene, Flathead Lake is worthy of more time and we intend to check it out on another trip. Next stop, Canada!!!