The St. Joe River is a beautiful 140 mile long stream in north Idaho beginning near the Montana line and flowing mostly westward through Shoshone County and then into Benewah County and the town of St. Maries. The lower part of the river in Benewah County reminds me somewhat of rivers in the South where I was raised. It’s slow and peaceful with thick growth along the edge although there are some flats where the water spreads to marsh-like areas. The upper portion is more like typical Idaho streams with a strong current and a few rapids. Until recently the last time I had visited this area was several years back when I took my grandson, Jackson, for a camping, 4 wheeling, geocaching trip in the area.
A week or so back I checked an item off my bucket list by hauling son Clint and our bicycles up the St. Joe and on up to Pearson where the Hiawatha Trail terminates. The Hiawatha Trail is 15 miles of railroad bed converted to a biking/hiking trail with ten tunnels and seven high trestles. Most buy tickets at Lookout Pass Ski Lodge on the Idaho-Montana line, ride down the trail to Pearson and ride the shuttle bus back. Clint and I drove to Pearson and rode up and then back down. Although sometimes cloudy with a few sprinkles, it was a great day. However, we didn’t have time to get any of the geocaches along the St. Joe.
So the following weekend (just past) we saddled our motorized steeds, met at the edge of town at 7:00 am and headed north. On the way up we stopped at the Bovill Cemetery to try to find a cache we had previously failed to find. Clint quickly spotted it this time. We didn’t stop again until we reached St. Maries (about 100 miles out). We found a cache at a beautiful little riverside park, gassed up the bikes and headed up the St. Joe.
|Scampering back down|
|Cache along the St. Joe|
Our first stop along the river was probably my favorite one of the whole trip. “Dustin’s Cache” had not been found in over two years and we had to do a bit of gravel road to get near it. It was located behind a high cliff in thick woods. There was no way we could scale the cliff so we had to take a less direct route to find a place where we could gain the elevation. The lid to the container had long since deteriorated but it was stashed so firmly under the end of a log that the contents were still dry.
At Calder we had to leave the pavement for a few miles to find a couple of caches. There were some more further up the gravel road but since I hadn’t ridden the bike suitable for that travel we decided to save those for the next trip. We had lunch on the river and after running out of caches we could reach on the pavement we headed back down the river. The St. Joe makes a beautiful motorcycle ride with plenty of curves and beautiful scenery.
|Great White Pine|
From St. Maries we took a slightly different route back going through the White Pine Forest, Potlatch and Moscow. Shortly before entering the forest we stopped for a clever cache with a rope through a pulley attached to a thermos container
|Clint replaces cache|
in a wooden encasement. The White Pine Forest is also a great motorcycle road but that experience was severely marred by being in the back of a line of several vehicles preceded by a truck pulling a large camping trailer. He ignored numerous chances he had to pull over and let us by.
We stopped at the Great White Pine Campground for a couple of caches of which we found only one. The Great White Pine is now dead and on the ground. As I can remember when it was still standing alive and relatively well I couldn’t believe how it had deteriorated. I guess I’m in the same shape.
From Potlatch through Moscow and especially into Lewiston it was really hot. It was about 104’ when I reached home about 4:00 pm. All in all, we had another great day, 336 miles of great riding and 9 geocaches found. M/W