In 2008, a man named Greg Smith started riding the trails of the Idaho Mountains.
The trails, which stretch for more than 2,000 miles and can take you from the Idaho Falls to the Salt Lake City, are one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, with mountains towering over you and the mountainside shimmering in the moonlight.
These trails are incredibly challenging, and Smith knew exactly what to expect: every single one of them was treacherous.
And that was a problem.
“I was really nervous that I wasn’t going to get to the top and that I was going to have to spend a lot of time doing the whole thing,” he told Ars.
“And the trail system was really, really, super crowded.”
Smith was not alone.
In 2008 and 2009, he found himself riding a bunch of other hikers and backpackers in Idaho and Utah.
And on the first day of their adventure, they all got sick.
“They were all sick,” Smith told Ars, “all of them from the same virus.”
Smith, who is now a retired aerospace engineer in Seattle, had never experienced anything like that.
He had never been sick from the virus before, and he was completely unprepared for what he found on the trail.
The first few days, Smith was terrified of the virus.
“You’re just like, ‘How do I know that I’m not going to infect anybody?’ and then you start to really realize how you feel,” he said.
He was not the only one.
“A lot of people were going to the trail with other people who had had symptoms, and that was just a huge shock for people,” Smith said.
It was very scary.” “
People were very scared about the disease.
It was very scary.”
Smith found himself with an infected backside.
He told Ars that the virus could easily spread through food or water, and so he ate a lot.
He didn’t know what else to do.
“As soon as I got sick, I started looking around and I found a lot more people who were having really bad symptoms,” Smith recalled.
“So I had to find a way to keep them healthy, which was probably the hardest thing I ever had to do.”
In addition to the virus, the trail had a number of other complications, including a serious waterborne illness.
For weeks after he was sick, Smith continued to hike and camp.
On his third day on the trails, Smith and another man got sick in the same way as the first two hikers.
Smith and the other man returned to the trails in Utah and were treated for the virus and returned to Washington, where they both went into remission.
But that was not enough.
Smith eventually became convinced that his trip was too dangerous, and it was too late.
“There were no safe days,” he explained.
“It was a disaster, and I had made the decision to walk.”
That decision had been made, in part, by his own experience.
The trail was incredibly crowded and he felt like a fool to not follow his own advice.
“The first few weeks, it felt like the whole world was on my back, that there was a bunch more of us out there than the day before,” he recalled.
The day after his third trip, Smith went to a doctor to get tested for the new coronavirus.
The results came back negative.
“If I hadn’t been in that car with my backpack and all that stuff, I don’t think I would have known,” he remembered.
“That was the beginning of the end.”
That’s how the Idaho Mountain Tour began.
The Idaho Mountain Trail is the largest of three Idaho-based mountain biking tours, with several stops in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Powder River Basin, and the Rocky Mountains.
On this day, Smith is touring the Great Spirit Trail.
“This is where I was in my mind when I was walking the trail, and when I looked back and saw it was overgrown and full of debris, it just felt like something had happened to me,” Smith recalls.
“In the next second, I was driving through the woods and I saw the trail disappear behind me.”
Smith spent two weeks on the Idaho Trails in 2010.
It wasn’t until this summer that he was able to ride again.
“On my third trip to the Idaho Trail, it was very much my fault that it wasn’t as safe as I thought it was,” he says.
“What I did was I did the wrong thing.
I took the wrong shortcuts and I drove recklessly through the forest, driving on the back side of the trail that wasn’t open.”
Smith got back on the rails.
“We had some really scary days,” Smith says.
He got sick again and went back to the hospital.
“At the time, I thought, ‘