Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18 - Across Montana to Columbus via Rt. 90

We continue north along the Salmon River until Route 15 hits 43 then we head east and climb over the continental divide from Chief Joseph Pass, into Montana and drop down into "The Big Hole" and the Big Hole River basin.  The big hole is truly big - a huge valley easily 50 miles north to south with visible snow capped peaks at end end.  The Big Hole River flows to the east here and the road follows it in slow easy banked turns.  This route 43 would be a great bike tour destination as there is almost no traffic on the road and the scenery is wide open and glorious.  There are many pull outs for river access but there is almost no shoulder - so if you come by bike, bring a "pass me wide to the left" sign and post it on the back of your bike.  As we break for lunch on the banks of the river, a blackbird whistles it's tune and a lightly loaded fisherman's dory floats by casting for fish.  If the two huge Salmon we saw yesterday pulled from the Salmon river is any guide, the fishing here should be very rewarding.

Shortly after lunch we reach the interstate and leave the river behind.  Now it's peddle to the metal for the rest of the afternoon to make some tracks on I90 across the flatter portion of southern Montana.  Now the grass covered rolling hills sweep off to the horizon - too hilly for irrigated farming, but fenced and gated for the large herds of grazing beasts.  This is the land of the Nez Perz Indians and the Lewis and Clark heritage.  I close my eyes and imagine the bison swarming over these grasslands. That does not last long. Actually my mind is set on a root beer float so I am searching the internet for the nearest A&W. Such is the advantage of the interstate highway's cell coverage these days.   

Big Hole River...
From 2011 Summer Trip

From 2011 Summer Trip

Truck fire near our campsite...luckily not ours.

From 2011 Summer Trip

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