Into The Land of Tall Pines - A Snake, A Heart, And An Earring - CycleBlaze

September 14, 2021

Into The Land of Tall Pines

Heyburn State Park, Idaho

It was a little chilly in the cabin when I climbed out of my sleeping bag this morning--something like 44-degrees (F).  The cabin had a heating/air-conditioning unit, but I didn't use it.  I wanted to pretend the cabin was just a hard-sided tent and I'd never use a heater in a tent.  Besides, I'm a tough guy.

After my usual slow routine of gathering up my stuff and packing it onto my bike while drinking a couple cups of coffee, I was ready to ride and ready for exciting adventure.  For the first seven miles, nothing too exciting or adventurous happened other than a nice two-mile climb into the national forest, followed by a fast downhill back into the wheat fields.  The nice thing about the northern Idaho Palouse is that mountains are always out there in the distance.

And I'm starting to see more cows.  Everyone knows I love cows even though they are reputed to be the dumbest animals on earth.  I think the reason I like them is because they pay so much attention to me.

I'll shut up now and display a few pictures of what I'm talking about.

The top of the first climb
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Wheat fields with mountains in the distance
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Brown and tan cows might be smarter than me.
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I might be smarter than black cows.
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I can only describe this unusual cloud formation as "white flames shooting up from a holy campfire."
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I had been on the lookout for a black pickup truck pulling a 27-foot Airstream trailer all morning.  It would be Cycleblaze's most famous dancing duo, Don & Marilyn Swett.

By 11:30 I had given up on seeing them.  I was sure they had gotten a much earlier start than I did and were well on their way to Hell's Gate State Park.

Overall, Highway 95 had fairly decent riding conditions today:  Good shoulders, good surface, and good places to pull off the road for a break.  However there was one section where the shoulder narrowed considerably and that's where the traffic seemed to concentrate.  I pulled off the road at the end of a long guardrail for a quick gulp of PowerAde.

That was the place where a black truck pulling an Airstream (named Tango) came around the bend.  I saw two people waving from inside the windshield.  I waved back.  That was it.  There is no way they could have pulled over to the side of the road at that point -- even if they wanted to.  And I sure wasn't going to try to chase them down.

It was still a CycleBlaze meet-up in my book.  And the thing that amazed me most is that they got on the road even later than I did.  That's saying something.

I finally arrived at the town of Plummer.  From there, I took Marilyn's advice and rode the Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes.  I'm glad I did.  This is logging country and logging trucks slow down for no one.  They were bad enough on U.S. 95 and I sure didn't want to deal with them on a secondary highway with no shoulders.

Add to that, bark often peels off the logs. I'd hate to have something like that fly off the truck and hit me on the head or poke me in the eye. Some of the detritus is big enough to cause a pinch flat it you run over it at high speed.
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  I'll be your trail guide for about 20 seconds.

I made it down to Heyburn State Park.
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The Visitor Center was closed due to "staffing problems" so I self-checked myself into the tent-only section of the Hawley Campground.  I wondered if RV-ers get as upset about tent-only campgrounds as cyclists get about RV-only campgrounds.

I was elated to once again be the only camper in the tent area.  Up above, the RV area was almost full.

Hey Mikey, he likes it!
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The view toward the lake.
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 I was writing about my day when I heard a knocking sound.  Somebody or something clearly wanted some attention.  I got up from my table to see who it was.

The red headed woodpecker is my third favorite bird after the bald eagle and the loon.  I was happy to catch this one on video.

I took an evening hike up among the tall pine trees.  It was exotic.  I had forgotten how the wind sings when it blows through the pine needles.

A tall pine. I'm sorry you can't hear the wind singing up there.
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Then I proceeded down to lake level.  I've always felt the presence of water adds something to the landscape.  Am I wrong?

Holy Land? It IS, in the Church of the Great Outdoors.
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Andrea BrownLakes = magic.
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Andrea BrownIndeed! That's a mathematical equation that has been proven many, many times.
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1 month ago
A wild rice paddy at the edge of the lake
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I think I just gathered some wild rice, but I don't quite know what to do with it. When I cook that fine Minnesota wild rice at home, it doesn't have all those hairs hanging off of it.
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Keith KleinHi,
I’m not sure if that’s wild rice or some other grass, but if it is wild rice it’s not ripe. In my limited experience of harvesting it, it falls off the stalk pretty easily, with a little tapping, and the husks (glumes, botanically) separate easily and can be winnowed quickly. When I lived on Oak Island in Lake-of-the-Woods, we could harvest it by canoeing through the beds.
My wife loves the stuff. I showed Sue your photos, and she doesn’t think you found any. Sorry.
Cheers,
Keith
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Keith KleinI don't know for sure, but I still think it's wild rice. It did fall easily off the stalks as you describe. Either way, you're definitely right about it not being ripe yet.
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1 month ago
Keith KleinTo Gregory GarceauHi again,
After much careful research, I’ve reached the conclusion that you might be right. It appears that there are four species of wild rice, all in the genus Zizania, which I find interesting because zizanie is the French word for craziness, chaos, or mayhem. About the craziest story I know about wild rice is from Sue, who had a friend that taped over his bellybutton when harvesting because those long hair like things (awns) would get in there and stick. Because they are stiff and barbed when the seed is ripe, that could be painful. Also they would get in his ears, so he kept his hat pulled low. Something else to ponder over.
Cheers,
Keith
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Keith KleinGreat wild rice story.
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1 month ago
Within the wild rice paddy, I saw these blooming flowers.
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I bet I know somebody who could help me identify it.
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Bill ShaneyfeltFragrant water lily

https://weedwise.conservationdistrict.org/nyod
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Bill ShaneyfeltThanks Bill. I knew you'd be the guy to ID it for me.
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1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Gregory GarceauAlways glad to help!
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1 month ago
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Today's ride: 44 miles (71 km)
Total: 277 miles (446 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 5
Rachael AndersonGreat day and great photos and videos. That trail is great! We did it a few times while we were there. You are going to love going over the bridge!
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Rachael AndersonYeah, I probably should have camped an extra night at the park so I could explore the length of the trail. Maybe next year I'll ride over that bridge.
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1 month ago
marilyn swettHey Greg - you're right that we got a much later start on the road due to all the crap we had to pack up. We would have pulled over to talk to you but there wasn't a safe, wide spot to park. Maybe we'll meet another time! Looks like cold rainy weather coming up this weekend so stay warm.
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1 month ago
Emily SharpI like to think I'm a pretty tough chick, but I would have most definitely used the heat or AC. I thought the whole point of paying for roofed accommodation was climate control and a shower :-)
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Emily SharpNormally I agree with you about the heat & the shower. But in this case, the point of the roofed accommodation was to avoid tenting in a crummy patch of grass behind the overflow car parking and next to the railroad tracks. It was just pure luck that I ended up really enjoying that cute little cabin.
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1 month ago