The dawn broke and the mosquitoes returned for their blood tax. The coming pass seemed less intimidating knowing that we only had a couple thousand feet to climb from this side. We chatted with Nancy again while preparing a pot of power gruel. Parting ways we continued over the flat and tightening valley floor between wooded hills.
Soon the grade steepened and we took a page from Michael and Jack: stopping at each mile marker for a quick break. The pass was over in no time. We had forgot that the descent was a mere 2.5 miles.
Over the Continental Divide and we were back in Cascadia. Again we stopped in at the Lost Trail Pass visitors center to see Chris. This time we dropped into the Idaho side of the Bitterroots onto the Salmon River. Countless miles of winding, forested descent greeted us with little traffic. It was our two-wheeled kingdom.
We hit the lower elevations and the forested slopes gave way to sagebrush and imposing rocky cliffs. Temperatures sky rocketed as we hit a new layer of air coming out of the lowlands. Two dollar delicious cones in North Fork were taken in before continuing our ride, now slightly gaining elevation as we began to follow the Salmon River upstream. Willow trees in the Red Rocks area, famous for Bighorn sheep, soon presented a needed shady retreat from the midday heat. The Salmon River looked turbid (due to an upstream disturbance, we learned later) but still offered cool respite.
We pushed the last twenty miles into the town of Salmon, quickly checked into the nearest motel, and cranked the AC.
*Sorry no pictures, both phones were dead