Leaving Idaho and Going into Montana

Driving from Grangeville on Hwy 13 towards Kooskia on Hwy 12 we were on part of The Northwest Passage Scenic Byway which is one of the Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies.  This beautiful byway is the easiest way to trace the Lewis & Clark Expedition route along the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers.  It is a narrow 2 lane highway that rises and falls with switchbacks along the Clearwater River, through canyons and valleys about 2000 ft in elevation.  Try driving this route towing a 36 ft. 5th wheel!  Once we reached Hwy 12 there was not a minute to spare as the views here are as great as before so we had to get all the cameras ready.  The whole route into Missoula, MT, a total of 142 miles, took us hours because of all the neat places to stop and see the views.  The Clearwater River is very pretty and the ranches and homes along here all have access to it.  We feel as if Lewis and Clark were lucky to have seen this area when it was fresh and unspoiled.  We stopped at Lolo Pass to take a break and while there we noticed a man with a team of 3 Percheron horses who had unhitched them from a small wooden wagon that he has added to and refined and was letting them graze the grassy area near the visitor center.  This man is on an odyssey and started in New Hampshire several years ago.  Amazing story so I thought you might like to check his blog for the details.  http://wagonteamster.com/html/top_of_lolo_pass.html    Never know who you will see on the road!  We continued on down the mountain and found Lee Creek Campground in Lolo National Forest.  That was where we stopped for the night.  A nice NPS campsite but very unlevel so we did our best and just stayed hooked up.  But good deal for $5.00.  We had a cocktail and enjoyed the forest and a brief rainstorm while sitting under our awning.  Another neat group of people next to us were from Idaho.  It was a 3 generation family who had obtained logging permits from the Forest Service to cut 4.5 cords of wood.  They primarily cut fallen trees into 2 foot pieces and load it on their pickups and trailers.  Then they take it home and split it to use for heat this winter.  They were camping in tents and having a short vacation while performing a necessary chore for this part of the world, Neat!  Firewood here sells for about $150 a cord so this is a big expense resolved for them.  They burn a lot up here and many of the homes we passed had woodpiles actually bigger than their homes.  Their porches are stacked with split wood already and by summer’s end most of the logs in the yard will be split.  Home Depot sells big gas powered log splitters so what does that tell you?

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