I think I could just drive and drive and drive, checking out all that the American West has to offer. I never tire of the exploration out here.
A beautiful drive through the Helena Natl Forest. I’m thoroughly enjoying US Route 12. Today was my first visit to Helena. In all my visits to Montana I had never been to its capital. You have to love a city that calls one of the main drags: Last Chance Gulch. Not to mention, N Last Chance Gulch.
Did a quick pit stop in Missoula, before driving south to Lolo. I just love this part of the state, and the land along Lolo Creek looked like a great place for a cabin. The creek was high though, and I saw a couple of newly installed tubular levies put up to keep the rising water from homes.
Lolo Pass is a phenomenal drive, even in the lumbering Rover. I kept stopping at all the historical markers, which there are many, simply because I knew most would be about Lewis & Clark.
Coming around a sharp curve, I found a new Fiat 500 broadside to my grill. The 500 driver must have been “testing” the Fiats handling, as he swept his way around the curve and sideways into my lane and The Rover. I braked, but there wasn’t anywhere else to go, so I watched uneasily as the Fiat smoothly righted itself and zoomed off with only inches to spare.
It’s hard to be angry when you’re envious.
On the Montana side of the Forest, all access was still “Closed for the Season”, but Idaho wasn’t as soft. Maybe it was all for the best, because I’m camped at the best site I’ve had so far on this trip. The Lochsa River is roaring right behind my camp. In fact, I’m writing this now as I sit in my campchair on its bank.
We had rain & hail earlier as I grilled dinner. The sky has since cleared, and a thick mist has formed over the torrent of the Lochsa.
I think I’m going to sleep very well tonight.
The last time I camped here, the weather was just as nice as it is tonight. I went to bed, leaving the stove and other things out, to be put away in the morning. I was awaken by the tent wall slamming into me from the high winds and when I crawled out from the tent, everything was covered in 6″ of snow. By the time i broke camp, I was soaking wet and ate a bagel for breakfast that had been thawed over the defroster.
Luckily, not everything repeats itself. A beautiful night camped here along the shoreline. I even had a campfire tonight after grilling up some more venison.
The Basin lies across Hwy 12 from the Musselshell. It’s incredibly quiet out here tonight, with only the sound of the waves hitting shore and the pine crackling in the firepit.
Just a short ways from where I was camped south of Lemmon, SoDak was the Hugh Glass Monument. Even in this day & age, the plaque sits in the middle of nowhere, overlooking the Shadehill reservoir, which was once the Grand River.
Back in August of 1823, Glass was out hunting for the Ashley Fur Party, when he came across a mother grizzly and her cubs. The grizzly charged so quickly that Glass could not get off a shot, although he did repeatedly stab the bear with his hunting knife.
Badly mauled by the bear, Glass was left behind with two men who were to bury him once he died. The two men were Fitzgerald and a young Jim Bridger. Unfortunately for Glass, Bridger & Fitzgerald packed up all their arms & gear and set off leaving Glass alone & unarmed in Indian territory.
Hugh Glass regained consciousness and dragged himself along, traveling mostly at night to avoid hostile Indians. Eventually, it is believed he made it to the Cheyenne River, where he fashioned a raft and floated downstream to Ft Kiowa. Glass traveled 190 miles, as the crow flies, from where he was mauled by the bear to the fort.
In the end, Glass did retrieve his rifle from Fitzgerald, although he claimed he didn’t kill the man because Fitzgerald was now a member of the US Army and that would have been a capital crime.
Aricara Indians killed Glass on the ice of the Yellowstone River during the winter of 1832-33.
I can’t help but wonder when was the last sighting of a grizzly in South Dakota? Personally, I don’t think SoDak is better off with the loss of the big bruins.