Took our time packing up this morning! We just don't have the drive to get up and on the road as early as our first trip! Everything rather soggy, not from rain just morning dew. It doesn't take much sun to dry it out. As the early morning sun filtered thru the trees, we layed everything out and while we had breakfast, things dried enough to pack up.
The road rolled up and down in front of us as we covered ground quickly on our way to the first town, Stites. We started passing all these fields, miles and miles of bright green leaves with yellow flowers. I was puzzled. We saw similar fields iin Montana on our first trip and all I could guess was mustard! Don't ask me why, must have been the yelllow, but there was just so much of it I could not figure why the world needed so much mustard! We stopped for a water break so I did what every good inquisitive bicyclist would do in the middle of virtually nowhere, i googled it and it is Canola! That made perfect sense! I could pedal on with new knowledge to add to my list! Fun, thanks Google! (Lucky we even had a signal!)
We crossed into the Nez Perce Indian Reservation just about the time all these fields started showing up. It was a beautiful cool morning, little wind and more important no cars! We knew we were going to drop in elevation, not just drop but the line on the topo map was literally a vertical line! That drop has a name, it is known as the Lamb Grade. The only thing I could think of as we pumped our brakes all the way down was how absolutely grateful I was we were going DOWN and not up! It was like nothing we have encountered before! NOTHING! Not even our tallest passes! We had to stop 4 times to let the discs cool down on our brakes. I think it took us 30 minutes to get down, rough surface, tight switchbacks and loose gravel here and there! Crazy!! Took a few photos while we waited for cool down, Remember the photos of the plains we dropped down to yesterday? I thought those would continue to just stay flat but gradually lose elevation! It felt like we were dropping into a crevice in the earth!
Along the bottom of that crevice flowed the South Fork of The Clearwater River. Now on the floor of this deep valley, we followed the river for the next 20 miles thru Stites, Kooskia and eventually our final spot of Lowell.
The river kept us nice and cool, we could feel the cooling effect of the rushing river as a breeze rose up while we rode along.
Probably overused the phrase 'It was just so beautiful" but it was!
We followed a river all afternoon and now it was thhe Middle Fork of The Clearwater River. Just as we got to Lowell, we saw two rivers converge and learned the Selway River (which means smooth water) and The Lochsa River (which means rough water) come together and flow into one river. Because both the Selway and Lochsa are the same size, they had to rename the river it created and that is called The Clearwater!
Rafters are alaready out on the river here! We are staying at The Three Rivers Lodge and Campground, here in time to see all the rafters return exhausted from their day on the river and the crew going out tomorrow here as well being treated to a welcome banquet! Two bus loads of Air Force guys from Spokane. A busy place! Secluded, wild and pristine!
So I must finish. Maybe i have had too much sun today, maybe I am coming down with something, either way I think I am going to treat it with 2 Tylenol and early sleep!
One more note, we are headed off into the wilderness with 66 miles of NO SERVICES! We may stop at a forestry campground or we may push thru to Powell. Just wanted to give you a heads up, if I can't write tomorrow its because we are in the forest!
Hope you are all having the best summer you can!