Saturday, July 10, 2010

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes

The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes stretches 71 miles from Plummer, Idaho to the town of Mullan. It is a paved trail and is a cyclists dream. Clean, scenic, mostly flat, few street crossings (I don't think we came to more than three stop signs for 45 miles!) with bathrooms placed regularly along the trail, although no running water is to be found at these bathroom stops, so stock up your bottles at Harrison, or at one of the other towns further east.
We started our ride at the Plummer trailhead, where it is mostly downhill all the way to Harrison. After Harrison the trail is flat and straight. There is a beautiful bridge crossing over Lake Coeur d'Alene along the way to Harrison from Plummer near Chatcolet. The wind was at our backs the whole way out to Gap Rock (about 45 miles from Plummer), which we didn't fully realize until we started on our return journey. No wonder the first 45 miles felt so easy!

Gap Rock rest stop is located just after the trail crosses under Interstate 90. We enjoyed the shaded picnic bench and were entertained by the chipmunks as we took a short break before making the return journey. Our new plan was to stop in Harrison on the way back for burgers and drafts. It was a good carrot to keep us going as we were getting tired and the wind was no longer our friend. This would be the longest ride any of us had done within the last two years, and what a great place to do it!

The Chain Lakes section graced us with blue heron and bald eagle sightings, as well as cows and horses. Numerous recumbent bike groups were taking advantage of this wonderful trail as well; we must have seen at least twenty recumbents.

The intrepid cyclists arrive at Harrison, ID. Where's the burgers?

A trailside pub delivers the goods, plus outdoor dining and a great view.

Chatcolet Bridge allows bike and pedestrians to cross the south end of Lake Coeur d'Alene.

Ninety Miles! Whew. What a great ride. I think we are all ready for the Seattle to Portland (STP) ride coming up mid-July.

Pedal on folks!

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