Down to the water - The Adventures of Garfield and Tango - CycleBlaze

September 7, 2021

Down to the water

Coeur D'Alene Trail - take 1

It takes awhile for the sun to filter down through the incredibly tall pines to the ground at our campground so we worked to empty out the bed of the truck. Don's back hurt after that exercise as he was lugging around 2 generators, propane bottles and various other stuff. Now we could lay the tandem on its side and transport it to our start.

We had decided to drive to Plummer which is the beginning of the Coeur D'Alene Trail. Don wanted to buy some ice and check out the town.

Parking for the trailhead was not well marked but it's at the Veteran's Memorial Park just off Hwy 95 at the north end of town. 

From here it was easy to get on the trail and follow it downhill to Lake Coeur D'Alene. And it WAS DOWN- we barely pedalled at all for the 6 miles it took to get to the lake where it leveled out.

There were a lot of other cyclists on the trail with many on e-assist bikes. We met a guy at one bathroom stop who was doing a short self-contained ride from Mullen to Spokane. HE wasn't using an e-assist bike and looked to be in his later 70's. 

There had been a little smoke smell and haze since we started the ride which was a bummer. But it wasn't nearly as bad as in Butte so we kept going.

A few miles down the trail we encountered a large section where there had been a recent wildfire. The blaze had scorched the trees and earth on both sides of us. Apparantly this part of the trail just opened for use the past few days. 

We saw several signs warning us to watch out for wildfire crews still working on hotspots and we even rolled over a couple of water hoses that must have been pulling water from the creek below us up to the side of the hill.

It was fun to just coast down the hill, but we knew that we'd get our work out going back. Don suggested that maybe we should cut the length of our ride, so we decided to just go to the top the bridge that crosses over the lake, then return.

Once along the lake, it opened up we had more sun.  We enjoyed trying to identify the waterfowl - mostly cormorants, coots and mallards. As we neared the small village of Chatcolet, we saw many of the homes were actually floating ones similar to what we've seen around Portland on the Columbia River.

The Chatcolet Bridge is a unique one as it rises up in the middle and was originally designed to swing open for steamboats cruising the St. Joe River which feeds into the lake. 

It took a little extra umph to bike up to the top where we stopped to admire the views. After catching our breath, we turned around the headed back to the truck.

The 6 mile climb back to Plummer wasn't too bad as it was a steady 3% grade, since this was an old railroad bed. But it was continuous and we did get a workout. 

In addition, it had gotten hot with the sun directly overhead. At least the air had cleared by now so we weren't inhaling smoke.

Don was dripping sweat by the time we made it back to the trailhead (I was just hot) and we both appreaciated the air conditioning on the drive back to camp.

The rest of the afternoon we just hung around camp and sat outside under the awning, reading. 

Huh - guess we didn't start at mile 0 in Plummer!
Heart 0 Comment 0
The start of the Coeur D'Alene Trail is in Plummer, Idaho. This part of the trail is owned by the Coeur D'Alene Tribe and they had built a very nice Veteran's Memorial park here. It had bathrooms and this prominent statue, along with a wall engraved with the names of tribal members that had been killed during different wars, including the Steptoe conflict in 1858.
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This is the Chacolet Bridge.
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Scott AndersonI love this bridge,. I think we biked over it four or five times in our stay here, at one of the cabins in Chatcolet.
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2 weeks ago
The bridge was built with this unique stairstep design that adds strength and makes the ascent easier.
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You can see the stairsteps better in this photo. This cyclist made it up to the top under her own power - NOT e-assist! Good for her.
Heart 1 Comment 1
Scott AndersonThis is a great perspective on the bridge. I can’t believe I forgot it was stairstepped like this.
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2 weeks ago

Today's ride: 17 miles (27 km)
Total: 238 miles (383 km)

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