|The Lolo Trail, known as naptnišaqs, or "Nez Perce Trail" in Salish was used by Nez Perce in the 18th century, and by the Lewis and Clark Expedition on their westward snowbound journey in September 1805.
Under the guidance of a member of the Shoshone nation known as Old Toby, the Lewis and Clark crew turned northward and began their ascent into the daunting Bitterroot Mountains. To get through this more than 200-mile stretch of unforgiving mountain terrain, the pioneers followed the Lolo Trail for 11 harrowing days. Suffering from frostbite, malnutrition and dehydration, the Americans recorded their woes in the pages of their journals. Losing a bit of the energy that had carried him thus far, Clark noted, "I have been wet and as cold in every part as I ever was in my life, indeed I was at one time fearfull my feet would freeze in the thin Mockirsons which I wore" (DeVoto 1997, 240). Nevertheless, the crew pushed on, each day drawing closer to the end of Lolo Trail and the successful completion of the Bitterroot crossing.
You might remember from the Big Hole National Battlefield post a couple of days ago that this pass was also used in 1877 during the Nez Perce War as some of the Nez Perce under Chief Joseph tried to escape the U.S. Army. Shortly after crossing the pass, the two sides clashed at the Battle of the Big Hole in Montana.
Lolo Pass is the summit of Lolo Trail, once used by the Nez Perce and crossed by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The pass sits at 5, 233 feet along US Hwy 12, on the border between Montana and Idaho, in the Bitterroot Range. We chose to take this route as we continue our trek west instead of our normal I-90 Coeur d'Alene destination.
We were looking forward to views of gorgeous meadows, mountain peaks, and forested hills and we weren't disappointed. However, even though it is a well maintained two-lane highway, it was VERY windy for more than 100+ miles. Takes a lot of concentration to drive it & I know Larry was very happy when our campground came into view!
We're camping two nights at the Lewis & Clark RV Resort, a Passport America park located in Kamiah, Idaho. This is a large membership park with lots of amenities. Not our usual choice, we prefer national, state & COE parks when available. However, this time of year there aren't many folks around, in fact the park closes at the end of the month. The PA rate is $18 per night for full hookups so we are pleased. The weather is great, especially for this time of the year, low 70's when we arrived. We plan to check out the Dworshak Dam tomorrow, the highest straight axis gravity dam in North America. So, we'll see you there!