“I am well again. I came to life in the cool winds and the crystal waters of the mountains”. -John Muir
A more fitting statement could not be found to describe the healing nature of the forest. Eric and I enjoyed every single moment we were able to spend among the trees as they lulled us to sleep with their wise whispers. Each time I return to civilization after a trip like this, I feel further and further removed from the hustle and bustle of daily life. While only 4 of 31 days this month were spent in this sea of trees, it was by far the most meaningful experience worthy of discussion.
The real world has become a black void–the silent killer of my soul. The only focus I have at this point is to figure out how I can spend more of my life living and less time existing like a mindless zombie—A numb, money making drone digging her early grave. Fast forward 20 years. I want to be standing there staring at my wrinkled, sun-stained face, reminiscent of times past with a big smile spread across my face, proud that I braved the overgrown path of uncertainty. To hell with a life filled with fear and complacency. What is the point of a safety net anyways? We all grow old. We all die. There is no escape.
I’m tired of living with one foot on each path. I find myself at a crossroad and a decision must be made.
On a lighter note, Eric and I just returned from our trip to northern Idaho. We had such an amazing time despite the heavy traffic we encountered during our 6+ hour drive home Sunday afternoon. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. No doubt, the panhandle is some of the most beautiful countryside we’ve ever laid eyes on. I’ll let you see for yourself!
OK, I’m getting ahead of myself with the photos. I’m telling you, it’s so grand, I just want to unleash the pictures all at once. But, I will restrain myself and try to start somewhat at the beginning.
Thursday morning we packed a few bags, loaded up the bikes, and by 9 a.m. we were off on our next adventure. We had no idea what lie ahead would blow our minds, heal our spirits, and send us happily jumping off the tightrope of life that we’d been teetering on for way too long! We’re SO close to being free I can taste it.
Six hours later we made camp and before long we were out exploring the area on our bikes. Ten minutes in this lush, tree covered forest and we were changed–the weight of the world lifted off our shoulders. Never underestimate the healing power of the great outdoors.
It’s official. I am no longer able to say that I’ve never woke to a smile this size at 5 o’clock in the morning. I can’t say the same for Eric, but in all fairness he did give a valiant effort. Needless to say, our first morning out I was eager to rise with the imaginary crow of the rooster and get the day started. In all honesty, it could have been the fact that I had been holding my pee for at least 4 hours and I was about to bust! I may or may have not been slightly nervous about the bear situation. *blushes*
I was also anticipating the trail that we’d been waiting over a year and a half to do…The Route of the Hiawatha, a 15+ mile rail-to-trail which was once part of the Old Milwaukee Rail Line. After months of smoke filled air (due to the countless numbers of fires throughout CA, WA, OR, and ID) I was excited to see clear, blue skies full of white puffy clouds. Yeah, I knew it was going to be an epic day!
OK. Bike packed, loaded, ready to go!
I have to say, one of my favorite parts of the trip is that once we arrived, we didn’t put a single mile on the truck. I’ve come to realize that you miss out on the details when you whiz by in a vehicle. When you explore by bike, there is time to take it all in— The sights, the smells, each bump in the road and most importantly, the life of the forest. It’s like being a part of something special. Here are some photos from the first part of the day.
And my favorite….
This is what a happy Eric looks like <3
All of this and we hadn’t even gotten to the Hiawatha Trail yet! WHAT! Insane beauty, I’m telling you! I only wish that the photos could do this place justice.
After a rather big climb, we hit the Pearson trail head. Hello Route of the Hiawatha.
Here are some photos from the trail. One word. Stunning Views. Ok, two words.
In addition to tunnels galore, there were several long trestles which were my personal favorite as they offered some of the most spectacular views!
and my favorite photo of the day courtesy of my love. Thanks for letting me steal your goods for my blog Eric.
It really was the perfect day. We even found some more adventurous paths to take back to camp. This area has endless possibilities! We explored nearly 40 miles by bike that day! Here are some more photos.
Ok, I have hundreds of photos, but I haven’t even started with Saturday’s pics yet! So on with the story.
That night we made our way back to camp and spontaneously decided to brave the tiny, tight, lose gravel road that swiveled it’s way down by the river. Why have 4×4 if you’re not going to use it? That night we had the most amazing views and we didn’t budge from this spot for the rest of the trip! Major score!
Epic views from sun up to sun down. We really couldn’t have asked for a better day!
Not much changed from Friday to Saturday. We were granted another day of excellent weather and epic views. Here are some photos from the day.
Yeah…this is definitely a happy Jenni!
Just before hitting this rocky bank of the river Eric had discovered some bear scat. After walking on the rocks for a short bit, we discovered several animal tracks. Bobcat, elk and even what we think was likely BEAR tracks!
Either way, the trail seemed to get a LOT smaller when we started thinking about startling a bear with her cub(s).
So we started singing silly songs from the 70’s and 80’s. Buh-buh BABY you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!!!! And we hoped to keep it that way. Haha.
Best Weekend Ever.
We probably thought of at least 150 excuses we could use to call in to work Monday…Tuesday…Wednesday….Thursday….and possibly even FOREVER. But, we did the responsible adult thing to do and came home. 🙁 Adulting sucks.
The drive home was equally beautiful. Just a few more photos from the drive.
Ok friends, I hope you enjoyed this month’s blog! I know it was a long one so if you made it this far, THANKS for reading! I’m impressed. I really enjoy sharing our experiences with you and hope that it makes you want to go out and do some exploring of your own! If you’re not in love with Idaho yet, I’m not doing my job! Haha. I think people are discovering the secret because it is the fastest growing state in the USA. Now, you can see why!
A lot of big things are coming up next month (September). Some of you already have heard the news, but we’re taking a month off (Sept/Oct) and we’re headed out on our next big adventure….a 700+ mile mountain bike tour of Idaho! Eric and I absolutely are beside ourselves with excitement! This is what my face will look like the ENTIRE month (so I hope!). Wish us luck and send positive vibes our way. Idaho is beautiful but it is also rugged and to be respected. We are extremely prepared, but you never know what can happen when you venture out into the wild. Additionally, we will be stressing our bodies beyond what they are used to with over 34 THOUSAND feet of elevation gain! Hopefully all of our training over the last several months (along with sheer determination) will be enough to get us through the trip.
I will try to split the trip up into two blogs…so stay tuned and I hope to be sharing some new amazing photos and stories with you all soon!
Until next time…..