Start: 10:15 am
Finished: 4:32 pm
Saddle time: 4:16
Bolling Hot Springs to Crouch
After a 12 hour day yesterday we decided to sleep in. We got our best night’s sleep all week. The temperature never got super cold, and I think the good weather and the quiet campground allowed us the extra rest.
John restarted our campfire with the leftover wood from the night before, and we had a leisurely breakfast. We were off to the hot spring, and I was mad at myself for forgetting my phone for pictures.
From the trail, you could see the steam rising – beautiful and serene. At the hot spring’s main point there is a cabin for rent from the US National Forest Service. It felt like we were in their backyard but knew we were all guests. The hot spring’s water flowed gently down the hill. The wet rocks were black, and moss was growing by the sides. The dry rocks turned white. We continually tried to visually take in the beauty of the entire rock wall. Four small pools of various sizes were built out of larger river rocks.
When we got back from the epic soak, we broke down our campsite, said goodbye to Steve and his dog Lacy, and were on our way. Sleeping in sounds like a good idea, but at 10:15 am, I started to get anxious about accomplishing the miles of the day. We were hoping for a bed and a shower in Crouch. As we headed up the hill, we could feel the burn in our legs. The summit was long, and I found myself walking my bike. Healthy, tall trees lined the fire road – John stopped to hug one! Fern, huckleberry bushes and lush green stretched as far as the eye could see.
By 11 am we had passed a second hot spring, considered stopping, but there was another hot spring on the map so we moved forward. We had only gone 10 miles, and the day was heating up, we really wanted to stop and swim. So this time we did. This hot spring was a pool. The campground was massive with over 250 spaces. There were tons of campers, fishermen, kids, dogs; you name it, it was there. As we entered the hot spring, we crossed a river that appeared to have stocked fish. If you looked closely at the black rocks in the river, those were actually huge trout!
We had lunch on a picnic table in the shade and bought a massive bag of ice with several cold Gatorades. At 1:30 pm, we still had 30 miles to go. It had warmed up – it was over 90 degrees. We turned onto a much busier unpaved road. Cars were very considerate, but we were constantly sprayed by the dust that was kicked up.
We kept looking at the river and remarking how beautiful Idaho was. The pristine water where it felt like you could see every rock in the river. Sometimes the river appears green, which has to be a reflection of the mighty trees that line it. Sometimes you even spot a visitor sitting in the middle of the river in his chair drinking a beer.
By 3:30 pm we were so hot it wasn’t fun anymore. We were close to the small town of Crouch, but we were nervous seeing all the people on the river that the hotels might be full.
We saw the sign for Terrace Resorts, so we ventured off the route in hopes of a hotel room. It was hot, we were biking uphill, and my attitude had changed from epic morning happy to miserable and bitchy. There were no rooms left on a busy Saturday weekend. I had no words. We got back on our bikes. At least it was downhill.
In Crouch, we didn’t find the hotel cabins at first, but they had one room left, and I was beyond happy to take it and get off my bike. I was finally going to wash my hair after going four long days without. An ice-cold shower and shampoo never felt so good.
The cabin owner, Maggie, seemed to be a local legend. We chatted about where to eat, what grocery store to go to, and swimming in the river. She knew how dirty I was and offered more than once to do our laundry. I gave in, and that night our laundry was cleaned and delivered to our room. Where else do you get that type of service?
We were clean, got a great meal in town, and had stocked supplies and a real bed to sleep in with air conditioning. We were ready for the next day.