Hiawatha   1 comment

One of the best rails-to-trails routes in the country for bicycles is the Route of the Hiawatha which traces the route of The Milwaukee Road railroad, known by other names as well.  The route runs from Illinois to Washington state with the most impressive engineering done in the Rockies.  Multiple tunnels and trestles were created in about 15 miles of track that cross the border from Montana to Idaho.  We crossed over the pass on the first day that it was open to vehicular traffic for this year.  Accumulations of snow were still evident and we wound our way to Pearson where we left our car, boarded a shuttle with our bikes and rode up to the largest tunnel in the region.  It is 1.7 miles long.  The shuttle doesn’t go over the pass so we had to bicycle through twice before heading back down towards Pearson.  You, of course, have to have headlights mounted on bike or helmet to see anything as it nears total dark in the middle with eerily dripping water falling from the ceiling of the tunnel.  Rather creepy.

Grand entrance to the 1.7 mile tunnel on the Hiawatha Trail.

We progressed down the trail.  Unfortunately, there was almost no sunshine but it did not rain.  Temperatures were in the low to mid forties.  Nana was particularly cold but hung in there, though it soured her mood.  Brightening moods were the awe inspiring views from the trail.  This was particularly true at some of the trestles that soared well over 200 feet above the coves below with rapids roaring beneath you and very tall trees not quite making it to our elevation.

A poor mother, who had several children circling about her on their own bicycles, had the misfortune of having one of the bicycles loose a cap for the hub which made the bike unusable.  We tried to locate the missing part but to no avail.  Worse, she was four or five miles from the end of the trail and the closest road.   They would have to walk it.  We did find a trail marshall when we reached Pearson and we hope she was able to get some relief to the family.

So onward we went, to Spokane, and tomorrow part of our tribe will meet us, flying into Seattle.  Can’t wait!

Nana displays proper attire for the Hiawatha, tunnels and trail.

Near one end of the 1.7 mile tunnel.

A trestle farther down the trail from a higher trestle.

Vertigo from over 200 feet above the forest floor.

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Posted June 20, 2012 by papaandnana in Uncategorized

One response to “Hiawatha

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  1. Yes that tunnel does look a bit “spooky” but I bet it was a great experience to have done it. Looks like you two are have a great time and seeing such wonderful things. I am so happy for you both. It is HOT and dry here. Take care and “live it up”!

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