Thursday, September 8, 2016


  Look who meet me in Glacier National Park! Jenny flew into Missoula, MT. We stayed one night at the new Shady Spruce Hostel...very nice accommodations...rented a car, threw Lou (the bike) into the rear, and headed to Glacier.  Many people have tried to describe the attraction of Glacier National Park. I believe it comes down to the sense of scale. Glacier does not have the highest mountains or the most dramatic, but taken as a whole the scale of the place is awesome when one is immersed in it. It's easy to understand why this was a sacred place for the Blackfeet people that still live at its edge.  
Old Montana mine town
Glacier mountains
Turquoise water
Swift current Lake with Grinnell glacier on left We are hiking to this glacier
Glacier on right
Grinnell at 4 miles
Grinnell at 2 miles
Grinnell foot soak
Reflections on a theme
Blackie on Highland Trail


Bull moose
Mom moose and young
Big horn sheep


Another critter (without Bonnie)



After nearly a week in Glacier we drove to the Bitterroot Mountains southwest of Missoula, Nez Perce traditional territory. It was in this area that Lewis and Clark passed coming and returning from the Pacific coast. They drank from a spring on the east side that eventually flows to the Mississippi River and Atlantic Ocean, traveled less than a half mile up and over Lolo Pass and drank from a spring that flows to the Columbia River and the Pacific. It was here after nearly succumbing to the rugged, impassable mountains that the expeditionary forces were saved upon finding a Nez Perce village on the western side. The eastern section of US 12 that today crosses through this remote mountain forest and up to Lolo Pass, was not built until the early 1960s, making US 12 the last US highway constructed.
Lochsa River
  The expedition left bronze medallions with the Nez Perce tribe as a token of American friendship from their great chief Thomas Jefferson. These same medallions were presented to U.S. General Howard three generations later in 1877 to remind him that the Nez Perce were friends of the great chief...before Howard began a campaign to force all Nez Perce onto a federal government sanctioned reservation. Nez Perce Chief Young Joseph lead a group of 750 non-treaty Nez Perce across the Bitterroots on a path they hoped would lead into Canada where the Nez Perce could live peaceably, retaining their freedom and culture. Falsely believing they were in safe territory in an isolated river valley known as Big Hole, Montana, the Nez Perce were instead meet by an early morning surprise attack lead by Colonel Gibbon, who directed his soldiers to take no prisoners and to aim low into the tepees where the sleeping natives rested. Gibbon was perhaps influenced by his knowledge of Custer's Battle of Big Horn only a year earlier. It was a horrible morning! Most native dead were children and women. Nez Perce Warriors regrouped and fended off Gibbon's soldiers which suffered 30 percent casualties, while Chief Joseph lead the women and children to safety. It was soon after this battle however, as the survivors were within 40 miles of the Canadian border, suffering hunger and cold, that Chief Joseph and his followers surrendered to U.S. authorities. It probably needn't be stated that these troubles began with the discovery of gold on Nez Perce lands in 1860. I stayed at a free camp just outside Wisdom, Montana on my way to Missoula, stopped the next morning at this memorial battlefield of Big Hole, and crossed over Chief Joseph Pass, named in his honor. Jenny and I stayed a night at a lodge on the Idaho side of Lolo Pass. The next morning she drive back to Missoula as I continued westward. Biking along the Lochsa River, I contemplated the rugged Bitterroot wilderness that surrounded me and the travails of these peace seeking Nez Perce.  
Wheat field with adjacent burnt field
Decent into Whitebird, ID
Tumbleweed waiting to jump on each curve of switchbacks

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