Monday June 22: Kooksia to Powell

93.5 miles, slightly more up than down, still following the Lochsa

Our camp in Kooksia (the Gateway to Idaho's Wilderness) had one major nicety: an indoor cafeteria for eating. Food didn't get cold as fast!

We took a fork in the Clearwater river that led us to the Lochsa River, and continued past the merging of the Lochsa (rough water) and Selway (smooth water) rivers. SR 12, completed in 1962, follows the Lochsa for over 60 miles of rapids, on the other side of the river from the Bitterroot Wilderness, a stretch of over a million acres of untouched wilds. Lewis and Clark almost starved to death crossing these in 1805.

At the lower portion of the Lochsa, we saw 2 of these suspended river crossers between the distand bridges. Made perfect sense to me! who wants to go all the way around! We also were stopped at intervals to make sure we didn't get logs dropped on our heads during a really cool helicopter logging operation. Pit 1 was a bit further than we thought it would be, but then, it was at the Wild Goose campgrounds so chasing after it made sense. It was a nice pit, affording a quick walk to get close to the river.

We once again followed SR 12, and it was a beautiful day. I have lots of scenery pictures!

We stopped between Pits 2 and 3 for some extra supplies -- between the Wilderness Gateway campground and the Mocus Point Trailhead. We found a sign describing the Selway-Bitterroot wilderness area -- the million acres I mentioned before, and even got our picture taken by another rider. However, after Pit 3, it started raining -- and we'd been told that it was going to be 85-90 degrees all day so we hadn't brought our raingear (again! stupid again!). We thought to look for a sag when we noticed a bunch of bikes pulled off to the side (at the Warm Springs campground, where Steve broke his collarbone), but then Pete caught up with us and offered me his extra gore-tex vest (he's awesome!). That did the trick; we were still cold of course but we made it the rest of the 12 miles to camp. Actually, the sun came out about 3 miles before we reached camp, allowing us to warm up a bit on that last hill!

We think Powell, our campsite, was at around 3000 feet. Powell is not a city, it's a Ranger Station and gravel pit. Riders doubled up if they weren't already, and there were no tents set up for shelter for food (I guess they couldn't stake them in). Well, we made do. They did give us strawberry shortcake, and I did get a hottish shower! It rained again that night, but we'd managed to find a large rock with which to really get our rain flap anchored. And those Thermarest pads even made the gravel comfortable!

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