Lolo Hot Springs, MT to Lowell, ID. (87 mi.) Mile 3536
A whole lotta Lochsa
It was cold this morning, with overcast skies threatening rain. Even though we had enough groceries for yet another meal, we still used the Lolo Hot Springs Restaurant's hot coffee to warm up before riding up the final 8 miles to the summit of Lolo Pass, the Idaho-
Dropping over the summit and down Lolo Pass into Idaho
Once over the summit of Lolo, it was all downhill for over 80 miles. However, the road was rough with little to no shoulder, and in places, there were miles of road construction involving pavement removal and new gravel. Traffic was light but we still had to contend with trucks and RVs.
The west side of the pass follows the clear, rocky Lochsa River, paralleling miles of wild, rugged Selway-
Miles of road construction on Lolo Pass in the westbound lane
Gray skies along the Lochsa River
Running downhill made a fast pace, but we still put in a long day in the saddle pedaling against the wind. Highlights included spotting a moose with her gangly calf browsing in a meadow. This made our Trip Moose Count = 5 (2 were seen in Grand Teton and another outside of Lander, Wyoming, wandering through the sagebrush looking lost). We also had a pine martin (a rather uncommon, large relative of a weasel) run across the road in front of us, but we did not see any of the grizzlies we know are in this area. About 30 miles from Lowell, it started to drizzle and continued intermittently the rest of the way as we stoked on down the Lochsa River drainage.
The highway follows over 80 miles of this rocky, wild river.
An eagle's nest sits perched high on a dead snag over the Lochsa River.
We were hoping that my brother and his family would visit us in Lowell or some point along the highway as we rode to our destination. They had expressed an interest in intercepting us as this is the closest point (125 miles or so) from their home in Pullman, Washington. However, we made it all the way to the campground in Lowell, and did not see them. As we were sitting in the Three River's Cafe tanking up on food and feeling disappointed, we heard my nephews' voices' calling, "Auntie Marilyn, Auntie Marilyn!" My brother and his family had made it after all, and not only that, had brought ice cream and cookies. This really helped brighten up a rainy day.
The McInturffs drove over 100 miles to visit us:
Bennett, Rylee, John, and Ian brought ice cream for us and helped us eat it.