Day 32, Tour 10 Challis to Stanley, ID

The Salmon River

Another excellent day of touring following the Salmon river upstream from near Challis to Stanley. It was an easier day than yesterday - five an half hours instead of 8 hours and three water bottles instead of five - and a warmer day. I didn't start real riding until near 10 and I didn't need my wind vest, much less my rain/cold jacket. By most standards, it was better ride as well, but I didn't enjoy it as much becasue it was less varied. The Salmon river is lovely, but 60 miles of riding by it, with more to come tomorrow, got a little boring ;-}.

I worked on, and sort of finished, the day 30 web page this morning - I figured that this would be a relatively short day, and I didn't need to get chilled like I did yesterday. Then I packed up and rode to the motel at the south end of town for breakfast. That was really my second breakfast since I did the first one about 6:30 AM in my room. My second breakfast was three big pancakes which were slightly better and about a dollar more expensive, than the pancakes I had in MacKay. After finishing it, I headed south about two miles to reach the start of OR 75, the road along the Salmon River.

Heading up the river

Now the road is running along the river


When the river gets more white water, the road gets steeper

The riding was easy, despite the fact that I was riding up a river canyon where the river sometimes had a lot of white water. I averaged about 11 mph today, although there were times when the road climbed away for the river steeply and I had to use my granny gears, most of the riding was along or near the river. With only gentle grades, comfortable temps, and little wind, it was very pleasant riding.

This ride also had very spectacular canyon scenery, but.for me, this kind of scenery isn't as awesome as the mountains were yesterday. The canyon in the first half of the ride was generally broad with fields and pastures on the river plain.

Canyon wall with horse pasture and river

Farm with 'Idaho' irrigation system

In the second half of todays ride, the canyon was often narrow, with steep sides and the road was sometimes cut into one side. This part also had the steepest climbs, in part because the river was steeper, but also because the road sometimes climbed well above the river. It was still good riding, but it was harder and much hotter riding. The fact that a gentle tail wind developed in this section didn't help. Neither did the fact that my stomach was upset, probably from the four cups of coffee I drank yesterday.

Narrower Canyon

Single lane bridges provide access to dirt roads on the other side of the canyon

The half way point on todays ride

Very clean water, important for Salmon spawning

Boats getting ready to come out of the river after running white water just above this section

After my three pancake second breakfast, I didn't need to eat or rest for about 20 miles. I stopped the NFS camp site called East Fork, used the bathromm there - there are lots of NFS bathrooms on this ride - and ate an apple while watching some folk get ready to fish while floating down the river. Later I stopped at The Old Sawmill Station - that is station in the sense of Pony Express station - for a good sandwich for lunch.

Salmon spawning grounds
Fish spawning here have come 600+ miles from the Pacific
Very few make it now beacause we have screwed up the river.

Salmon have to swim through this, and many other, rapids to get to the spawning grounds above

My bike at the spawing grounds overlook

The next to last ten miles of this ride was the hardest for me. I had to stop at a bathroom at the start of this section and at a campground not long after the end of thie section in order to rest and recover enough to go on. The combination of heat, hills, and tummy problems debilitated me, but I recovered pretty well in the last ten miles where the road, once again, stayed by the river.

The view improved as I neared lower Stanley ;-}

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