Thursday, November 09, 2017

US93: River - Pass - River

The sky was overcast in Salmon, ID, this morning, but the forecast was decent and the road was good, so we continued north on US93 along the Salmon River. The sun broke through in spots and gave at least a little highlight to the mountains and valley. A good day for driving, but not for photos.

Twenty miles north of Salmon, we left the main river and followed the much smaller North Fork up a valley. The route has several names in this area, due to its history as part of the Nez Perce trail and the Lewis & Clark Expedition. The deeper we went into the mountains, the more understandable it became why this has long been a major route through rough terrain. There aren't many alternatives.

After a long, steady climb we crested the 7,000 foot Lost Trail Pass, just skirting the Continental Divide that lies to the east. That put us into Montana and onto a steep, twisty descent. The road was mostly dry, but I took it easy anyway. It felt good to be back in the woods with a little snow cover.

We soon joined the Bitterroot River and followed it down the valley. This is an area that was heavily burned in the recent wildfires, and you can see very obvious evidence of it for many miles.

Considering the wet weather conditions, I was surprised to see active fires burning in the area. I stopped at the local Forest Service headquarters to inquire, and was told that they're taking advantage of the wet season to burn piles of detritus and reduce fire risks in the future.

Between the overcast, the woodsmoke and wet road spray on my windshield, photo opportunities had pretty much run out. So, we just cruised another 60 miles into Missoula. Right now, I am at the intersection of US12 and US93, exactly where I was exactly two months ago. The weather forecast remains good, so we plan to continue north in the morning... Stay tuned!

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