Friday, August 3, 2007

Ketchum & Sun Valley, Idaho

Finally a new state… Idaho. We left Wyoming on Thursday, and made the fairly long drive across Southern Idaho toward Ketchum/Sun Valley. This area was absolutely beautiful. Sun Valley (as you probably know) is a very fancy/ritzy ski resort town, similar to Jackson, with lots of stores, restaurants, coffee shops and traffic, but set in an alpine valley, with big green mountains all around. We found a campground a few miles outside of town in the Sawtooth National Forest, and just managed to get the tent set up before a pounding thunderstorm set in for the evening. With the pouring rain pelting our campsite (the tent is a champ at keeping things dry inside), we decided to head to town for dinner. We found a great little log cabin restaurant/brewery, had some dinner, and played a few games of pool. It was still a bit rainy, and early, when we were done, so we found a coffee shop with covered outdoor seating, and ordered some hot chocolate, while I had a 30 minute conversation with 3 9-year olds about whether or not Harry Potter dies at the end of the latest book.

After a nice, quiet sleep, we woke up to about 45 degrees the next morning. It was a bit cold packing up the still wet tent, but some after some oatmeal and coffee, we headed out for our day of mountain biking. Inside the Sawtooth Nat’l Forest is the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA). This place is just awesome. In the winter, there are tons of cross country skiing trails, which in the summer turn into tons of mountain biking trails. There were so many people doing active things on this Friday morning, we wondered if anyone had a job. People riding road bikes everywhere, tons of mountain bikers, runners. We heard the trails in the Galena area, about 15 miles north of Ketchum were the best, so we picked one labeled “advanced” (for some reason we thought this wouldn’t be that bad) and set out. After about 30 minutes of steady climbing, at about 5000’ of elevation, our lungs were broken, and we came up on what could be described as nothing other than a peak assault. The trail seriously went straight uphill for over a mile. We could barely push our bikes up it, there is no way a human could ride up it. To make the trail even more adventurous, we came across a bear in the valley below us, about 50’ away. As soon as he saw/heard us, he ran off, but I’ve still had enough close encounters with the bears for now. Seeing no end to the uphill ascent, we took a shortcut off that trail, and hit a few others, which had some great roller coaster hills, more manageable climbs, and were an all around fun ride.

All the trails in the Galena area start and end at the Galena lodge, which has a little restaurant, a bike shop, and an outdoor deck perfect for lunch after a ride. We ate some sandwiches on the deck, then set off to find some $2 showers our campground host told us were “over in the hot spring run by the Baptists.” We found the showers, but let it be know to all that when you are taking a shower at a place known for its hot spring, the water coming out of the shower head is also going to come from that hot spring, and will therefore smell like rotten eggs. Not the most pleasant thing to shower in, but, we were clean.

Next stop, a short drive to Boise.

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