Wednesday, July 23, 2014

7/23 U.S. 12 - Lolo Scenic Trail

Today's drive was 225 miles from Missoula, MT, along U.S. 12 through the Clearwater National Forest.  This was the trail taken by Lewis and Clark.  It starts out over the Lolo Pass and along the Lochsa River.  This river joins the Selway River and then becomes the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River. 

Lewis and Clark were guided through this very trail, which was said to be the most difficult terrain they had experienced in their long trek. The original trail was little more than a foot path through the thick forest.  It did not follow the river as today's highway does, but went along the ridges and peaks above. 

I wish I had taken more photos, but I did enjoy this winding and scenic road.  Luckily, there was not much traffic and lots of pullovers so I could let faster cars pass and take an occasional break. You can see from the photos I took from my vehicle how little traffic there was.  That was very pleasant after Yellowstone's crowds! 


The first part of the road went over Lolo Summit.  There was a nice ranger and visitor station.


The original road through this very long valley was never open to wagons because the trees were so thick.  Lewis and Clark and others walked or rode horseback along a path that followed the ridges, not the river.  In fact, it was not  until 1960s that a real road was constructed.

Very pretty river and drive. 




After about 120 miles, the road leaves the heavy trees and enters mountainous grasslands.

I arrived in Clarkston, WA, is a terrible wind and barely got my electric and water hooked up before the rain came.  It did not last long, but it nicely dropped the temps from 93 to 70 degrees, which was nice because at first my AC would not work.  At 93 degrees, that would have been a SERIOUS emergency!!!

My second almost-emergency was that my satellite dish would not get a signal, but a half-hour on the phone with Dish technical support solved my problems.  Yea!  Nothing like being cool AND having satellite TV!!

Nice campsite, as you can see, overlooking the Snake River.

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