Trip Report by Native Eyewear Ambassador Sofia Jaramillo.
Steam rises up around me. It’s early morning and the sun is slowly 1ising over the horizon. Streams of water seep out of the hillside above, filling various pools and eventually flowing into the hot spring were sitting in. The ground is stained white and bare around us. Beautiful tiny white flowers and fragrant mint grow along the sides of the bank. There isn’ t a sound to be heard besides the birds and water trickling down into the valley below us.
My friend Becca Bredehoft and I are at Worswick Hot Springs in the Sawtooth National Forest and it is day two of our bike packing trip. The trail we’re on is a 500-mile figure-eight loop through central Idaho called the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route. The Adventure Cycling Association’s route passes about 50 soak-able hot springs.
This is our first bike packing tour, so we decide to bike a 150 -mile portion of the trail between Ketchum and Boise, Idaho. I have family that lives in both places, and as a kid, I would frequently drive Highway 20 between Boise and Ketchum. When we drove through the Camas Prairie in Fairfield, Idaho, I’d stare out the window, beyond the golden wheat fields, toward the sagebrush-covered foothills. I always wondered what was beyond them. Now, as an adult, I was getting to see.
From ceramic bathtubs to pe1fectly constructed wooden boxes, there were a variety of hot springs along this route. Exploring them was an incredible part of the trip, but what I really enjoyed was getting to see just how raw and untouched parts of Idaho still are. Throughout the trip, the saying I’d heard so many times growing up, “Your own private Idaho,” came to life. Getting to experience some of these remote areas and historic towns gave me a better understanding of Idaho’s roots and why preserving pristine places is important to so many Idahoans. Since the state was established, Idaho has always been wild and rugged and this trip reminded me of that.
On the first day of our trip, we climbed up to about 8,700 ft. at the top of Dollar Hide Pass. Once we reached the summit, we had a 360-degree view of the spectacular mountain ranges in the area. East of us, the snow-capped Pioneer Mountains (one of the oldest mountain ranges in Idaho) filled the horizon and to the north, there was a sea of steep jagged granite peaks making up the Sawtooth Mountain Range. It was a clear sunny day and we stopped to enjoy lunch at the top. There wasn’t a person or structure in sight.
Want to follow along with Sofia’s and Becca’s adventures? Check them out on instagram!