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June 2001: Idaho and Montana: Into the Rockies


After crossing the Cascades and High Desert of Oregon and Washington, we climbed up into the Rocky Mountains via Idaho and Montana.

In Idaho we stopped by a Nez Perce cultural center outside Orofino, enjoying the exhibits and watching as a guide instructed some students how to set up a tipi.

Idaho's scenery improved as we followed the Lochsa River up to Lolo Pass and into Montana.  One highlight was stopping at a primitive hot springs site about a mile from the road.  We found out it was a "Naturalist" hangout - clothing optional.  It was quite relaxing to soak in the hot pools in the middle of the forest.  (For those of you wishing to go "natural" - it's just south of mile marker 151 on Highway 12.)

Once in Montana we stayed in Missoula, a college town, for a few days in an attempt to wait out some of the rain that has followed us for the last week or two.  It didn't work, but that's OK - Missoula had some nice restaurants and a couple of good bike shops, in addition to being the home of the Adventure Cycling Association, publisher of many of the maps we are using to plan our bike route.

We left Missoula and rode north towards Glacier National Park.  Rain again followed us most of the way, but we got lucky for our big day - riding on the "Going to the Sun Road" and over Logan Pass in GNP.  The road is famous for it's views and narrow road, and is off-limits to bicyclists from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.  A relatively early start got us over the pass with 15 minutes to spare.  We timed the pass well - it had closed for about a foot of snow just a couple of days before our attempt, and got snow the night after we went over.  It was spectacular to start in the rain and mist of low-lying clouds in the valley, and then break through the clouds into a crystal-clear day above 5000 ft.

Glacier is such a wonderful place that we ended up staying a full week there, cycling from campsite to town to campsite, taking short day hikes, enjoying the warm sunshine during the day (finally!), and bundling up at night for the cold mountain air.  We still haven't seen any bears (although we've seen evidence).  Shelley is just fine with that!

Next up: crossing the border into Canada!

Putting up a Tipi at Nez Perce cultural center
Nez Perce tipi demonstration

Soaking at Jerry Johnson Hot Springs
Soaking at Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

Lolo Pass
Lolo Pass, Idaho/Montana Border
5233 ft.

Climbing Logan Pass
Climbing the
Going to the Sun Road
Glacier National Park

Top of Logan Pass
We made it!
Logan Pass, Glacier National Park
6680 ft.

Bear Warning!
Shelley's Nemesis

St. Mary Lake
Saint Mary Lake,
near Rising Sun, Glacier National Park

Red Rocks Falls
Red Rock Falls,
Glacier National Park


June 2001: Idaho and Montana: Into the Rockies