This is a long day – 48 miles, or 54 miles for those who want to ride just a little bit longer. This part of The Centennial Trail is called the Coeur d’Alene Trail. The guides drive us to the beginning point in Plummer, Idaho.
The bike trail begins at a beautiful and inspiring Veteran’s Memorial to all of the Native Americans of the Coeur d’Alene tribe who sacrificed their lives in war.
The first 16 miles to Harrison, ID, the weather is fantastic. Cool and sunny. The area here is flat with grassy meadows, a wheat field and a few houses as we start the ride.
Further along the trail, it becomes tree-lined with beautiful pine forests. One section surprises us because of the signs of a huge fire. Our guide, Serena, is riding with us today. Serena tells us that the fire was just last year, maybe in August. She has us stop just before crossing the bridge over Lake Coeur d’Alene to tell us about the different pine trees and what makes each unique. This area is mostly Ponderosa, Douglas Fir, White and Lodgepole pines. The smell of this forest is a delight! Of course, not the burned out area :-(. However, Serena explains that the trees in the fire zone are mostly Ponderosa pines, for which the thick bark protects them during fires, and that most will survive to thrive.
Our destination is Harrison, Idaho, on the eastern side of Lake Coeur d’Alene. This is where we will have lunch too. Harrison is a quaint town which was important for trade in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. It was the largest town on the lake. A fire destroyed most of the town but a few buildings survived. There is also a new bike and java type store. Lunch is prepared by DJ – Cowboy Caviar!
The next section of the ride is the 18 to Bull Run and 13-14 miles to Snake Pit Bar.
The trail is lined with backwaters, the river Coeur d’Alene and meadows with mountains in the distance. For me, this year’s ride is focusing on the nature and wildlife. I’m at the back of the group being slow and stopping for photos along the way. What did I see? Chipmunks, squirrels (of course!), Osprey, Grebes, White Pelican, Beaver Dams (no beavers), grasshoppers, birds of various kinds, butterflies, dragonflies, water lilies, pine trees, river birch trees, cottonwood trees, other various hard wood trees, Grand Mullein plants, wild flowers, apple trees, and a moose. Other people saw turkeys, pheasants, quail, deer, and, a great blue heron (flew right at them!). Incredible to experience while riding a bike!
I-spy Sarasota person, sees the moose and waves for me to stop. Yay! I took a picture and she took the video. In all our National Park travels, we’ve only see moose twice! Third time’s a charm!
As we approach the end of the trail, we are along the river and some rain clouds are forming over the mountains. Windy gusts from both sides of the valley with a few drops but really can’t call it raining.
Snacks at the Bull Run stop and more on pine trees. Did you know Ponderosa Pine Trees bark smells? Didn’t try it, but the bark is very interesting. There is also some white pine in the area where we stop. Of course, we are now experts on pine trees.
We reach the end of the this part of our ride where the van is waiting for us at the Snake Pit Bar, circa 1880. Oldest bar in Idaho. Load up the bikes here while some rode another 6 miles to our hotel, the Morning Star Lodge.
After checking in, we meet in the lobby for a van ride to our dinner at the Blackboard Cafe in Wallace, ID. Wallace is also known as The Center of the Universe – they have a medallion in middle of the street to prove it. Although Serena points out she is The Center of the Universe. We will be riding from Kellogg to Wallace on Friday.
And the picture of the day for me….besides the moose…..is one of the signs on the Trading Post store in Harrison, ID. They have everything one needs to survive in modern times!