When you think of blockbuster holidays in Sun Valley packed with non-stop events, Christmas, July Fourth, and Labor Day probably pop to mind. But Presidents’ Weekend should also top your list of don’t-miss holidays at the resort. From fantastic skiing and riding to events to keep the entire family busy enjoying the mountain lifestyle, Sun Valley knows how to celebrate! And if your vacation falls the week before Presidents’ Weekend, don’t forget that spending Valentine’s Day in Sun Valley is as romantic as it gets.
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On May 18, the fourth grade class from Sun Valley’s independent Community School will embark on an epic adventure. Under the fearless leadership of teacher Trent Herbst, the students will complete an 80-mile, weeklong bike ride across Idaho. The group will travel to the northern part of the state and ride across the panhandle from Washington to Montana . Oftentimes, being a Sun Valley kid is a pretty amazing thing to be!
The fourth grade class at Sun Valley’s Community School is training for an 80-mile bike ride across Idaho later this month. Their ambitious adventure has gotten a lot of families out onto the trails, as well (courtesy Community School)
My son is in this class and one of the unintended consequences of the class bike trip across Idaho is lots of time in the saddle for both of us. In true 10-year-old boy style, he is taking his training regimen very seriously which means daily rides for both of us.
The unintended consequence of this unintended consequence? Some of the most fun I have had with my son in a long time (and we usually have a lot of fun!). Every day after school, we hop on our bikes and let path lead us where it will. We are fortunate to live on the seemingly endless and beautifully kept Rails to Trails bike and walking path that wends 32 miles from north of Ketchum way into the south valley. This paved, non-motorized pathway is busy on spring afternoons and weekends with bike riders, dog walkers, moms strolling babies and walkers. Thanks to a group of dedicated locals, in 1984, the Blaine County Recreation District and friends of the Wood River Trail system project began to transform the unused Union Pacific railroad line into what is today known simply as the bike path.
Many rides on the Rails to Trails path lead over the Cold Springs Bridge straddling the Big Wood River. This 208-foot iconic Pegram bridge is one of only seven steel truss Pegram bridges remaining in Idaho
Relatively flat and surprisingly scenic, the bike path can get you just about anywhere you want to go. Recent rides with my fourth grader have taken us into Ketchum for a leisurely Sunday lunch, down to my parents house in the mid-Valley, to school and back and to the Chocolate Foundry in the Sun Valley Village for a sweet treat midway through an excursion. We have also ridden to nowhere in particular.
The nowhere in particular rides have been my favorites. Riding close to the Big Wood River, we often stop and pull over to explore the river’s banks. Watching the dark, churning water and smelling the unique slightly mineral smell of this water that is such an iconic part of life in the Sun Valley area brings a wonderful anticipation of the fly fishing season to come. On the bike trail, there are many bridges to lean over to watch the water, talk about where the trout might be holding and just to watch the glorious springtime sunshine glint off the ripples. On a recent ride, we even saw a kayaker come around the corner, disappear under the Cold Springs Bridge and make a turn heading south.
The bike path wends along the gorgeous Big Wood River, alongside horse pastures and through fields of wildflowers
Whether our ‘training’ rides are short or longer, biking, even on the relatively flat bike path is great exercise. It is a perfect way to get your legs and heart pumping and to enjoy spring that is now in full bud. Every day we see more green on the trees, the first signs of the area’s ubiquitous wildflowers and dozens of fat robins. Biking builds stamina and confidence for my son and is a slightly humbling experience for me to realize that all my children are now faster than I am – on bikes and on skis.
Trent’s Bike Across Idaho adventure was inspired by Santa Barbara educator John Seigel Boettner. Boettner rode not once, but twice, across America with students – from sea to shining sea. The rides took about four months and offered unlimited opportunities to explore, learn and grow. His book, Hey Mom, Can I Ride My Bike Across America?: Five Kids Meet Their Country, details one of the epic bike rides. In April, Boettner came to Community School and spoke to all the students from Kindergartners to graduating seniors about his adventures and the importance of getting out of the car and experiencing your surroundings.
Fourth grade teacher Trent Herbst (left) and author and educator John Seigel Boettner believe that America can best be explored by bike (courtesy Community School)
Boettner rode with Trent and his class, leading from the front and inspiring them, as they all biked to school together one chilly morning.
Biking across Idaho will surely give the children a real sense of accomplishment, show them things they haven’t seen and create lifelong memories, but it also has given the fourth graders parents, siblings and friends another great opportunity to be in on the fun and to get out onto the trail.
A training ride starts early in the morning for the students planning to bike across Idaho. Go kids, go! (courtesy Community School)
Sun Valley is a two-wheeling kind of town. Whether you love to mountain bike or just want to take a Cruiser bike on a spin, get out there! The perspective it offers is unbeatable.
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