Ripsy Walkabout travel blog

Memorial to Sacagawea in the Valley that was her Girlhood Home

View from my Morning Hike near Lolo Pass on the Montana-Idaho Border


Highway 12



After two full weeks in Montana I finally made it into Idaho and crossed the north-central part of the state along Highway 12. It is an absolutely beautiful stretch with the road following two crystal clear rivers, the Lochsa and the Clearwater, the entire 180 miles from Montana to the Washington border. On either side of the road are tall hills covered in pine trees.

Although it's very beautiful in our time, Lewis and Clark had a tough time through these parts. There was little game and they were on starvation rations--first killing some of their horses for food and then even making a soup made out of bear fat and melted candles.

Eventually they met up with the Nez Perce Indians who had a completely different culture from the Plains Indian--the primary difference being that they were fishermen. The Nez Perce took kindly to the expedition and ultimately saved them from starvation.

I didn't spend a lot of time in Idaho but one of the highlights of my entire trip was a 5-mile hike that I did through the pine forests near Lolo Pass in the eastern part of the state. There wasn't a bit of wind and not a cloud in the sky. It was absolutely serene.

I did experience quite a temperature change, however, while in the state. When I woke up Sunday morning just near the Montana border it was 30 degrees and there was ice on my tent poles. By the time I reached Lewiston 180 miles away it was 92 degrees. A temperature change of 60 plus degrees! Crazy.

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