I skipped riding Missoula because of the fire smoke. I did stop @ the jumper base where jumper Sam gave me a personal tour. Similar methodology to McCall. Standardization. I read a clip that the Missoula area is acquiring a 3rd BAE (Airbus) 4 engine jet retardant bomber.
I drove east on I-90 to Lookout Pass on the MT Id border to the Lookout Ski area that runs the Trail of the Hiawatha bike trail. Good to go. Still open for the season. I drove back to Taft exit and drove to the TH which is right @ the Eastern portal of the commonly known Taft Tunnel, 1.66 miles underground, hence the description of tunnel. I camped just below the TH. No internet access.
Yesterday i paid my $10 trail fee and $9 return shuttle fee. The schedule is pacific time although the start is in MT. I arrived b4 the trail opened and waited . Chilly AM. Today I used my DiNotte light for really seeing. I switched it on low which was bright enough. I was almost shivering cold in the tunnel starting on a cold body coasting on 2% downhill. Out in the sunshine I started warming up. This rail line played a big part in the 1910 Big Burn as the steam engines blew sparks out the stack setting many spot fires. Too many details to recount, suffice it to say that it was a very historical experience.
I caught the shuttle back up where you ride back thru the Taft Tunnel.
yesterday was Thursday, laundry day. I continued west dropping into historic Wallace, ID that suffered about a third of the town being burned in the same fire. Ed Pulaski, credited w/ the Pulaski firefighting tool of which i have practical firefighting knowledge of was a local figure and hero. I drove his 46 men down Placer Creek to safety in an abandoned mine audit where he kept them in the tunnel @ gun point until the fire passed. Timothy Eagan among others have written about the Big Burn.
I found laudromat and right across the street was a
health club where I bought a $5 shower. Clean body on clean sheets. I bought a beer from a local brewery replicating historic beers.
I found the trail head for the Pulaski tunnel late in the afternoon. I hiked to 2 miles up to a vista that looked down on the restored opening.
I ended up driving way up a gravel logging road to Moon Pass for the night. Chilly. Rugged Bitterroot mtns.
For several weeks I have had weird fluttering in my chest associated w/ my heart. Concern has been growing to learn what is causing it and if it needs to be treated. Last night I made my mind up to seek medical attention. Which community heading west? Wallace? Kellogg? Coeur d’Alene? The later won the pick because if hospitalization was required I had more options. I admitted myself to Kootenai Urgent Care. The DR did hear a sound from my heart. He ordered and EKG which displayed a fibrillation. He said I am experiencing what some older endurance athletes experience. The auricles and left ventricle are not synched. Right now it is just irritating but not life threatening or performance degraders. Now the anxiety has been abated.
I visited a health food store that is much like the New Frontiers in Sedona. A woman clerk smothered me in alternative health care. I bought some more “stuff” to heal me.
Next I sought out Vertical Earth bike shop in town. Funny, as I was driving to the DRs I saw a vert earth rig and I waved @ the driver. It turned out to be Mike, the owner, who recognized me. I bought a new Continental Mountain King tire that I had been seeking for weeks. I now have a choice of the Ardents that are mounted or the Continentals. Mike said he won his first Cream Puff race, less than 100 racers. Great for him, bad for the race.
My plan now is to drive back east and up the N fork of the Coeur d’Alene river to ride either Lost Creek or the river trail. Dirt bikes have been kicked off Lost Creek which is good for the heart propelled crowd. I will see how my knees feel.
Here’s to speedy complete healing for injured Brown County buddy Phil who shattered his arm on a Brown County trail such that the hardware store inventory was significantly depleted into his arm.
Out of here going up the river.