Sunday, August 5, 2012
I didn't have a lot of plan of where I was going to go, but I knew I wanted to keep heading north through Idaho.
So I left Boise, headed up 95 and onto the Magruder road. It is the only real road that cuts across the interior of the Idaho. It divides Frank Church wilderness to the South and the Selway/Bitterroot wilderness to the north. From where I camped I could see a fire burning up the Sawtooths where I was two weeks early. I managed just to keep ahead of the fires this year.
I got down to the Selway and talked with the volunteer ranger there and he didn't have good reports on the trails. They sounded more overgrown then what I had just been in and I didn't have it in me to spend another frustrating week in the woods. It was a beautiful area, and I'll have to go back another time. So I drove out and around to the Bitterroots. The peaks steep and pointy with severe glacier activity.
Day hikes were a nice change of pace. And doing some off road driving is always a fun way to explore. It certainly is a lot easier and faster then hiking, but I did miss being in the middle of the wilderness and knowing I got myself there under my own power. I drove around to the Lochsa which is another neat river. It's where the great western red cedars really begin to show up. I stopped by some hot springs to soak, and hiked up to see a waterfall. It's where I was planning on walking in from if I had stuck to my original trail.
From there I drove the Lolo road which is another drive I've always wanted to do. The road follows the old Nez Pierce trail that Lewis and Clark used to traverse the rockies. They had information signs along the road with quotes from the Lewis and Clark journals. One said that the trail follows the ridge of the mountains because the slope was so steep and forested, that it was impossible to keep a trail clear in the valley next to the water. When they would stop at night they had to hike down to get water.
Even driving alone isn't without it's challenges. I came across a spot that the road had washed out. It was filled with cut logs. It would be fine to cross with a 4 wheeler, but it was a bit iffy to try without someone to spot me.
So I turned around and found a great campsite on the ridge with a beautiful view of the sunset and sunrise. Another fire had starte to the south of me that filled the sky with beautiful colors, accompanied by NPR from Missoula on the radio.