"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Change of Scenery

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We headed west from Kalispell on Hwy 2, driving toward the Idaho border.  A really pretty drive through a large valley all the way to Libby, MT.  From there it was just a few miles to a rest stop and county park on the Kootenai River.  From the parking lot you can take a short hike to the Kootenai Falls and a swinging bridge over the Kootenai River.

We decided that as it was a short hike, we would take Sally with us.  Before you get to either site, you have to cross a footbridge over the railroad tracks.

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On the other side of the bridge were three flights of stairs approximately 20 steps long manufactured out of steel grid with rough edges for traction.  Sally wasn’t about to go down it, and even if she would have, it would have ruined her feet.  You know what that meant.  I carried her down, and then back up on the return trip.

The falls were something to see.  They weren’t that tall, but the power of the water was incredible.

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Just downstream from the falls was a swinging bridge across the river.

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The original was built by the Forest Service for access to fires, but was destroyed by a flood in 1948.  It was rebuilt and is now used for access to hiking trails and such.

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Looking upstream from the bridge.

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From there we took the next left that carried us through the Bull River Valley down to Hwy 200.  We headed back East at that point, following the Clark Fork River upstream.  A beautiful drive that brought us to Thompson Falls, MT about 3 PM.  As there was a Montana state park there, we decided to give it a try.  Pulled it up on the internet and it showed $7.00 per nite for a dry campsite.  Not bad, so we pulled in.  What a surprise!  the $7.00 was for Montana residents, nonresidents had to pay $23.00 for the same no frill site.  I don’t think so.  $23.00 for a dry campsite versus $28.00 right across the road at a nice RV park with full hookups.  Guess where we stayed. 
It was a really nice RV park and we had a private site with access to the river.

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Old iron bridge on road to RV park.

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Fisherman in river.
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Our little spot of Heaven for the afternoon.

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This afternoon finds us in a different environment.  We are in North Fork, Idaho on the North Fork of the Salmon River.  Hot and dry.  We have a site right on the river, but it’s not a nice as last evening.

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Just might take a float trip, tomorrow……..jc

Sunday, July 29, 2012

They were Fantastic!!


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We spent our remaining time at Lost Johnny Point just resting, reading, and doing a little driving of the backroads around the area.  Didn’t see any wildlife to speak of, but enjoyed some more fantastic scenery.

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It varied from kayakers finishing an evening paddle to rushing mountain streams that made the most joyful sounds as the water rushed down to join the reservoir.

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Some views of the upper end of Hungry Horse Reservoir.

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Can you spot the lone boat anchored way over there?

And, back to the post title.  Re: The previous post. They were truly fantastic.

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This is what I had to look at sitting at my feet while cooking those babies. Yes, she got hers.

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I intended to get a picture of a stack on the plate, but somehow I forgot.

Made it into an RV park in Kalispell for a couple of days to do dump the tanks, do laundry, grocery shopping, etc.  Totally surrounded by friendly folks from just over the border.  Seems Kalispell is a big vacation destination for natives of Alberta and British Columbia.

Moving on tomorrow, destination unknown.  Stay tuned for further developments…..jc

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jimmy Ridge Trail


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Not very far from our campsite was the trailhead for the Jimmy Ridge trail.  No details as to where it went.  The only way was to hike it and find out.  It wasn’t long before it started climbing steeply.

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For most of the way I was hiking through thick forest with an understory of these.

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If you don’t recognize them, they are wild Montana huckleberries.  They are delicious. I was hiking, picking, and eating my way up the mountain.

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Now, humans aren’t the only thing that loves huckleberries.  They are a favorite of bears, both Black and Grizzly I’m told.  That being said, these are the things I had with me.  Hiking stick, water, and bear spray.

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Not far up the trail I ran into a local couple picking berries, and after talking with them a few minutes, he asked where I was from.  When I told him, he said; “well you’re smarter than most dudes we see out here,  you’re smart enough to carry bear spray”.  When I jokingly asked him where his was, he pulled back his vest to expose his 44 Magnum in a shoulder holster.  He said he was more familiar with it than a spray can.

Anyway, it wasn’t long before I had gained quite a bit of altitude.

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The trail just continued up and up, through mostly lodgepole pine interspersed with larger trees which I didn’t recognize.  There were many old dead sentinels still standing such as this one.

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Some even had blazes where the trail was marked out years ago.  I find myself wondering about what individual picked out this route to the top of a mountain, and why.

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Though the tree looked to have been dead for years, it still stood as a testament to the hard work of some forgotten soul.

I never did get to the end of the trail.  After hiking alone for a couple of hours I reached a rather dense area with lots of berries and other brush.  I had been whooping and singing out loud (yeah, for those that know me, go ahead and laugh) as you’re supposed to do in bear country, but I suddenly had a really uncomfortable feeling.  I gave the area a good look and then decided it was time to turn around.  Back down the mountain I went.

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I did manage to fill my water bottles with these along the way, though.  Huckleberry pancakes for breakfast, for sure.

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Thanks for looking………jc.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lost Johnny Point CG

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Nope, I don’t know who Johnny was, or how he got lost, but he managed to have a really nice campground named after himself.  We pulled into it on Tuesday morning and again got lucky.  Snagging the premier site with a great view of the Hungry Horse Reservoir.

We had to wait a couple of hours before moving in though. The host asked if we minded waiting as the site had been promised to a group for a picnic.  When she explained who was using it for their noon meal, we gladly agreed to wait.

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First Descents was doing one of their outdoor adventure experiences for Cancer patients and survivors.  This is a program which allows participants to experience the outdoors free of charge.  What an awesome thing for someone to do.  Check them out on the web at http://firstdescents.org/.

As we watched they were just going through the safety rules, but it wasn’t long before they had them in the lake.

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After lunch, and before they departed for the day, they were all doing Eskimo rolls and other fancy kayak moves.

Speaking of the lake, it is beautiful.  Surrounded by green forest all around.

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Sally especially likes it as there are lots of sticks everywhere along the shore.

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there’s nothing like a good stick to chew, in her opinion.

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A beautiful place to spend a few days loafing; and if you look closely, you can see who has the recliner.

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