Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Turning Left for the Last Time!

Pictures L to R: Near Lolo Pass on Hwy 12; Lochsa River; Clearwater Creek; Clearwater River near Kooskia, Idaho; Welcome to Washington--Our 4th Corner!; Henry in air-conditioned comfort.

28 July 2009 Lolo, MT through Idaho to Clarkston, WA 206 miles

Today was probably the most beautiful drive of our trip. Not surprising…we had had three different people tell us that this route was one of the prettiest they have ever traveled on. Heading west on Highway 12, we gradually made the climb up to Lolo Pass following alongside the Lolo River, and from then on it was downhill into Idaho and across the panhandle. This route not only continues along the Lewis and Clark Trail, but also the Nez Perce Trail—I believe they are one and the same at this point in the journey, although there might be some slight variations between the two. After crossing the pass at an eleveation of 5,235, our trek downhill, for the first 80 miles or so, began following the Lochsa River. Surprise, surprise…we traveled through some light sprinkles on and off. Mostly downhill, this route had some gradual hills, but was winding with the course of the river between the canyon walls. It was absolutely beautiful. The hillsides were covered with pine and other trees, and we were lucky enough to see a large female Elk standing near the water’s edge on the other side of the river. We also saw another Bald Eagle, and some wild turkey (I saw them, not Dave).

Once we got to Kooskia, Idaho, where we stopped for lunch and visited for a while with a local resident who has a 1931 Coupe, we continued our downhill trek until we were traveling through golden colored hillsides. The river’s banks changed from rocky ledges, to grassy slopes. I believe it was right around Kooskia that the Lochsa River merged with the Clearwater Creek, and then into the Clearwater River. We can understand how this river got its name…the water was crystal clear. So clear, in fact, you could see the different colors of the rock across the entire riverbed. This part of the drive was on the Nez Perce Reservation, and as we traveled west we continued to drop in elevation. Not surprising, we could feel the outside temperature rising—it might have also had something to do with the heat from the A, and the fact that it was 2:00 in the afternoon.

As we neared Lewiston, Idaho, we were surprised to see such an industrial community. Named for Meriwether Lewis, Lewiston sits at the confluence of the Clearwater River and the Snake River. Across the Snake River sits Clarkston, Washington, named for William Clark. Boy were we surprised when we passed a digital temperature sign reading 103 degrees. So…because it was so hot…and the fact that we have hit our fourth corner of this great adventure, we’re celebrating and checked into the Quality Inn in Clarkston, with a room overlooking the Snake River, for a two day break from driving before heading south into Oregon. Looking back in our records, we realized today that we have been traveling every day since New York. This two-day break will be nice to say the least.

1 comment:

  1. make sure you let us know when you're coming into the Sacramento area--we're all anxious to see you back here!

    Linda and Chris