Day 20: Red Rocks Lake – Warm River

Miles: 63

Climbing: 1476 ft (the lowest day so far 😎)

Miles to date: 998 (I should have just done some laps around the campground when I got in to hit an even 1000, ha!)

Today was a good day. An ……EASY day, one might even say. Started out at the beautiful Red Rock Lake, wildflowers all around, birds flying over the lake, sun shining on a snow-covered mountain pass. The first few miles continued through the wildlife refuge, and I saw a group of antelope running through a field, and two huge hawks.

The first challenge of the morning was Red Rock Pass……….which honestly, after some of the climbs I’ve done lately, was an easy one. Except for this brief climb, the rest of the day was relatively flat (note the total climbing for today compared to recent days of 4 and 5 thousand feet!).

Coming over the pass, I finally entered Idaho, after two full weeks in Montana. First impressions were great, with nice snow-covered mountain passes, a pretty lake, etc etc.

Idaho!

After a brief stop at Subway (the best sandwich I’ve ever had? Maybe? Probably not, but it sure hit the spot in the moment), I had to decide how to proceed, which was kind of a challenge. For almost 49 miles, Adventure Cycling route goes along a rail-to-trail bike trail that the guide map describes as difficult-to-ride volcanic sand and rough terrain. A northbound couple I met this morning said the trail was awful, but the obvious alternatives weren’t great, either: take an Adventure Cycling alternate route that adds miles and climbing, or take the big fast highway all the way into my destination. I found a road on the map that seemed to run parallel to the trail, but the couple I passed said they hadn’t been able to find it.

I had almost convinced myself to take the highway, but after 2 miles on it, changed my mind—pickup trucks towing giant RVs and semis passing at 70+ mph was terrifying, and the shoulder seemed to come and go. I decided to take my luck on finding the trail-parallel back road, and …….immediately found it with absolutely no problem. The surface was fine–soft but completely rideable, and it was literally less than 200 ft away from the trail. It ended up being a nice (if a bit boring) and uneventful ride. Fields, flowers, a bit of wind, cows. I guess the couple wasn’t trying that hard to find the other road. 🤷🏼‍♀️

A fine road ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Near the end of the trail, I got back on the rail trail, having heard the conditions improve at the end, and was treated to an absolutely beautiful little stretch of the route, overlooking a huge river valley with a steep hillside leading down to the river. I even saw two groundhogs!

I rolled into Warm River campground—a super sweet spot right next to the river– and found it full. This is unsurprising, since the weather is great and it’s a Saturday in July. However, I quickly discovered the campground hosts allow cyclists to camp in their “yard”, and found a New Zealander couple camped out! I’d last seen them on my birthday, over a week ago!

We chatted, I ate leftover Subway and pop tarts, and I turned in early.

I’m super excited for tomorrow, when I’ll finish my second Adventure Cycling map, make it into Coulter Bay Village, Wyoming, and meet up with Arthur!! 🥰🥰

My big 6-day break in the Grand Tetons is coming up!!

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