Leaves were falling, just like embers

I’m sitting beneath the picnic shelter at the Wolf Lodge Campground in the beautiful Idaho panhandle near Lake Coeur d’Alene. Today it’s just me and the dog watching over the camp as everyone else in our party cavorts at the Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach Water Park. I didn’t bring a laptop with me but the dog’s owners brought several so I bummed one for the day. The dog is completely deaf and not a good conversationalist so I will amuse myself with some blogging, assuming this HP laptop doesn’t drive me crazy first (windows keep popping up every minute and it chooses to ignore many of the letters I type).

On Tuesday, we left Portland and drove up the Gorge into Washington, headed north to Spokane and then on through Coeur d’Alene. Although we weren’t able to use our new bike rack because of unexpected clearance issues with the Scion, another Scout family had plenty of room for our bikes in their gigantic flatbed trailer. We spent the first two nights at the Blue Anchor RV Park in Osburn.

On Wednesday, we took the long car journey to the head of the Route of the Hiawatha rail trail. Along the way, one of our vehicles suffered a flat tire and one of the boys found a .38 revolver on the side of the road while we waited for the tire change. Eventually we found our way to the trailhead and embarked on the most magical bike ride I’ve ever had in my life. The route is only 15 miles long and entirely downhill. We rode down at a leisurely pace and made many stops to read about the history and enjoy the spectacular views. I can’t recommend this trail enough. It takes very little effort and the payoff is unbelievable.

On Thursday we dropped off the bikers and a few of us drove all the equipment here (to the Wolf Lodge) where we settled in for the rest of the trip. The bikers (including Tina and Thomas) rode another 30 miles on another rail trail from Mullan to Cataldo. That night we celebrated one of the Scout mother’s birthday with chocolate cake, ice cream and homemade dutch oven cobblers. It was a sublime moment of comraderie and fellowship.

On our last day of biking, we drove out to Harrison for an “out and back” ride to Plummer along Lake Coeur d’Alene. Graham only wanted to go 12 miles so we turned around after 6 miles, but Tina and Thomas rode the full 32 miles, giving them a total of about 79 miles for the three days. Because of our slower pace, however, Graham and I were able to observe the local flora and fauna better than the hardcore bikers.

Today is probably the highlight for all the kids as they ride the rafts and rollercoasters. I volunteered to watch over the bicycles and the dog. I’m enjoying the solitude, though, and have been wanting to write about our trip since the second day. Tomorrow we pack it all up and drive home. We’ve been on many scouting campouts before but I think this one has been the best for getting to know the other parents. I’m very glad that we came and I’m quite certain that we’ll be back.

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