Day 13 Friday, July 22 Stanley to Challis, ID 59 miles
As I sat outside and ate a small Maui Waui pizza for dinner last night with the sunset on my left and a microbrew on my right I got to know Michael and Keith who had been in Stanley for a full week. Keith is a professional photographer who specializes in out of the way waterfalls. Michael was learning a trick or two from his friend. We had a nice conversation about hiking, biking, Ibuprofen, and the spectacular views (everyone talks about that!). As they left Michael teasingly quoted most of the old traditional Irish blessing often attributed to St. Patrick:
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
Michael was teasing because he knows in a 4,000 mile circular trek it just isn’t going to happen that the “wind will always be at your back.” But, that is how this day felt with the road rising to meet me and the wind gently pushing me from behind (with the exception of the one gust that nearly blew me over. That took me by surprise!).
I guess it was my just reward after climbing thousands of feet the day before. While there were no screaming downhills the route had me following the inviting Salmon River downstream. 59 miles of gentle descent leaving the rugged, spectacular Sawtooth’s behind and entering the nearly as rugged, but barren Lost River Range.
The day started with ambivalence and was quickly corrected. I awoke to a rather chilly 38 degrees and my front tire was flat. Some of you know me. I already am not a morning person. Added to that rain was threatening, I was a half mile or so from town and I was camped where the sign said not to, but the local woman said it should be okay. So I was also nervous about a ranger packing up my stuff while I went down to get breakfast. I am not saying that this next sentence solved everything, because it didn’t. But, I turned around and one of the peaks was splashed in the morning sunlight while rain was falling around it and a thick, severed rainbow floated perpendicular in the foreground. This is how the day started. It ended with getting pictures of Bighorn sheep just miles from Challis. The Irish blessing says it best. I’ll let the pictures do the rest.