A Day in Ketchum

Idaho Hot Springs

Since we had camped close to Ketchum the night before, we rolled into town mid-morning with a clear agenda: find a bike shop to get our chains lubed (they’ve been squeaking since day one), find a sewing kit so Carrie can repair the hole in her pants, eat lunch, hang out at the library (for blog posting, weather checking, midday sun avoiding), stock up on food for the next leg, eat dinner, get the heck back on the trail. We did those things in that order. Oh wait, before we left town we also got some delicious ice cream at the town square. This was our first ice cream of the trip, and I hope not the last.

Our impression of the people of Idaho (Idahoans, Idahoites, Idahoers?) has been nothing but positive. Everywhere we’ve been we’ve been treated with kindness, from the city of Boise to the village of Featherville, to the highways and forest roads in between. The people of Ketchum were no different.

The guy at the bike shop lubed our chains and let me borrow a wrench for no charge, although I did give him a tip. We then ran into a bike mechanic for another shop who knew immediately what we were up to and invited us to his outdoor sports shop across the street to see about a sewing kit. When the mechanic asked where we were from and we responded Willow Glen in San Jose, a woman overheard us and said she had family in Willow Glen and then proceeded to offer us the use of a shower at the Presbyterian church down the street. We hadn’t showered since leaving Boise, so we gladly took her up on the offer.

Ketchum is also extremely bike friendly. Bike lanes, sharrows, and dedicated paved trails line practically every street. There is also ample bicycle parking wherever you look. You can tell these accommodations were born from necessity, as nearly every vehicle in town has a bike rack and scads of cyclists are seen cruising around every corner.

After a relaxing and productive day in town, it was time to heed the call of wild, so we hopped onto SR75 and then linked up with the Harriman Trail on our way toward Stanley. The goal was to get to the Russian John hot spring and camp at the Prairie Creek. We wanted to have our first hot water soaking of the trip but daylight was quickly fading. While quaint, the jeep tracks of the Harriman Trail were slowing us down, so we decided to get back on the highway for some smooth road efficiency.

Harriman Trail
Carrie makes her way up the Harriman Trail as we approach Prairie Creek Campground.

The good news is we made it to Prairie Creek campground, but we missed the hot spring in the process. It was getting too late to turn back, so we made camp, vowing to return to the hot spring in the morning for a nice soak before heading to Stanley.

Route Beta