On Thursday we made our way out of the Donnelly/McCall area and headed north on 55 then 95 toward Riggins, ID. We did stop at the fruit stand in Riggins to buy some fresh vegetables, huckleberry syrup and another huckleberry pie. The beautiful drive up was along the river and through mountain passes. Then there was the long climb up White Bird Hill. We did stop and check out the Nez Perce Monument and see the entire battlefield which is an awesome sight. The girls enjoyed the break and the view as well.
Then we drove over the summit and behold -there was the most amazing sight! The Palouse and Camas Prairie were spread out before us like a patchwork quilt. Palouse is actually very fertile grassland and this area is a spectacular rolling prairie of wheat & hay fields and legumes of all kinds. It is unique to this part of the Northwest. The entire area is irrigated with water from the Clearwater River which flows through here. We made our way into Grangeville and signed up to spend the night at the Bear Den RV Park on Hwy 93. Then we left to drive over to Lewiston for a quick stop at Home Depot and Safeway. As we left Grangeville we began to see the amazing wooden railroad trestles that were built around 1905. They were part of the Camas Prairie Rail Line which was used to haul wheat to Portland as well as malt barley, peas, lentils and canola. The rail line primarily served three grain companies and two timber companies. The railway connected with the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads to ship products across the nation. It was a lot easier to ship lumber by rail than by truck. It was 62 miles long and built through tunnels and spanning canyons with some trestles as high as 280 ft. For the period the construction was spectacular. The line was abandoned after the train derailed near Grangeville in 1999 but the trestles and some of the rails remain. Getting a good photo was a trick as they are near private lands but we persisted and got the Lawyer’s Trestle (named for the Nez Perce Indian called Lawyer) and the one off Sand Point Rd. As we continued up the road we noticed several miles of abandoned rail cars used to haul lumber products.
On Friday we had a good breakfast of pancakes with our huckleberry syrup while sitting outside the RV then loaded up and set out for the next destination.