I packed my stuff and got going to a beautiful morning along the river. I didn't have any more food so I pedaled about 10 km to a nice little town called Kooskia. Here I saw four fully loaded touring bicycles parked outside a restaurant, so I deviated from my plan to shop at the supermarket, to see if I could get to meet some new people. It was funny how they immediately recognized I was a cyclist and after that the conversation went on. Three of them were retired and one was younger than the others. Talking to people cured the loneliness I had been feeling this morning but riding with these people didn't seem appealing to me. First of all because we went at different speeds, and except for that one guy, the rest seemed to be in a bad mood and not very talkative.
The group left the restaurant earlier than me and I had to stock up on some food due to the long stretch ahead with little services. And after riding through some of the more beautiful scenery I had seen on this trip, I caught up with the group again. We biked together for about 15 minutes when they stopped to decide if they were to stay there or not, which they did, on the grounds that it wouldn't do them any good to go further. Well, wouldn't that get you further?
As the heat set in and my water consumption increased accordingly, I started to get worried that I had missed all my opportunities of getting water since I was deep into the wilderness. Luckily there was a ranger station marked on the map called Lochsa Historical Ranger Station, where I stopped to get some information regarding food, water and shelter. Here I spoke with the nice tenant called Tom who was volunteering to stay there during the summer. He strongly recommended that I visit the Jerry Johnson warm springs which I really wanted to check out, and after chatting for a while I had to get going if I wanted to make it before dark.
When I got there I took my bike out on a small trail leading into the woods and started to look for the hot springs. After looking around in vain I got out on the road again feeling disappointed, and just as I was about to continue to the next campground I met another cyclist. Her name was Claire and she was also planning on going to the hot springs so once again we went into the woods trying to find them. Claire is from California and had just graduated college and was taking a bicycle trip all the way from her home outside San Francisco to Chicago where she had gotten a job.
The hot springs were located about 1.5 km into the woods, overlooking the river and with some stunning mountains in the background. The place was so beautiful it didn't even seem real! The hot springs was a small pool with naturally heated water, and the feeling of bathing in this pool surrounded by the wilderness, after a long day on the road was extremely relaxing.
By nightfall we had found a camp spot just off-trail where we pitched our tents and had some supper and headed off to sleep.