Idaho Day Three: Milepost 108 to The Lochsa Lodge.
The stifling heat came on the heels of the morning, but luckily we had a rushing river to cool us every 10 or so miles. Traffic was light on the gradual climb into the heart of The Lochsa. In need of water we stopped at one of the many tributary streams and collected crisp, icy blue gold. Local insects thought this a good idea as well and exploded into a cloud of bees and butterflies as we disturbed them. They gently settled on us to harvest our salt.
The sweltering heat reached its peak and we rested under the shade at the river's edge. There we meet our first fellow cyclists going the same direction. Michael and Jack, from the UK, had started from Astoria, OR on their Transamerica tour; greeting us on day 15. Leaving the shade only to dunk ourselves, we waited out the midday heat peak.
Two too many "Travel Supremes," an unfortunate behemoth of moving square footage, idling at the popular pullout shook us from the heat stupor and hurried us up the road. Soon we came upon the Lochsa Historic Ranger Station hosted by Frank Fowler, a retired smokejumper. We knew we were at the right place when he directed us to put our heads under a cool spigot. Intending to make it a short stay we wandered the grounds briefly but soon found Frank's stories of grouse, grounded telephones to fire lookouts, backcountry mule trains, and of course smokejumping too enticing.
With supplies running a bit low, temperatures subsiding, and road-shade growing, we pushed the last 40 miles to The Lochsa Lodge. A beautiful, welcoming, and warm log structure greeted us. There we feasted and met a few local scientists with whom we chatted about plants and stream sediment.