Friday, May 13, 2016

Days 7 - 12, Saturday – Thursday, May 7 - 12, 2016 Missoula, Montana – Orofino, Idaho

Springtime in Montana (Courtesy of Emily Heffner)
“When it’s springtime in Montana,
 And the gentle breezes blow,
 About seventy miles per hour
 And it’s fifty-two below”
 Cowboy Fun

Family Gathering
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Exhibit
Andrea and family call Montana and Idaho home.  Her dad, returned from the war, attended the University of Montana on the GI Bill, and received his degree in Forestry that led the family on a path of living on ranger stations located throughout Montana and Idaho.  Their life, surrounded by nature’s beauty, was idyllic in so many ways.  Isolated as they were, the family relied on life’s simple pleasures as well as one another’s company.  The result is closeness and warmth that is so comforting as they come together to honor the life of their father.  Children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren now gather once again in this most beautiful of settings as they prepare for their last goodbyes.  
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Springtime in Montana
Lewis and Clark Country
Traveling from all parts of the country and venturing into Montana in the spring offers not only beautiful landscapes but unpredictability in weather conditions.  Beautiful and sunny one day and snowing the next makes traveling an adventure.  We stayed in Missoula, Montana long
er than anticipated as it was snowing on Lolo Pass and we did not want to tackle this in our RV.  Delaying our departure was not only prudent but it gave us a little extra time to visit some of Missoula’s sights.  Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a “must see” and it is free.  It is rich with interactive exhibits that the kids will love and it offers insight into elk habitat, preservation steps, and has a great nature trail.

Highway 12, built along the route that the Lewis and Clark Expedition followed and designated as the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway, connects Montana and Idaho by way of Lolo Pass that traverses the Bitterroot Range.  This is perhaps one of the most scenic highways (if you call a narrow, twisty two lane road a highway) available in the Northwest.  Not completed until 1962, Andrea’s dad was assistant ranger at Powell Ranger Station before its completion.  This offered the family a pristine view of this very remote landscape.  Even today, with the highway completed, it remains pristin
e.  We have never grown tired of traveling this route, and it remains one of our favorite spots on earth where we have backpacked, camped, and commuted back and forth from Montana to Idaho where family lives on both sides of this range.  Mountain views, tall timber, the crystalline waters of the Lochsa, Selway, and ultimately the Clearwater Rivers offer breathtaking views.

Arriving in Orofino, we set up camp at Clearwater Crossing RV Park with a stunning view of the river out our back window.  It was here that Andrea graduated from high school and then attended the University of Idaho where we both graduated.  Her dad was very active in the Orofino community, named Citizen of the Year while he lived here, and has a small park named after him.  It is fun to be back in familiar surroundings.

Montana Side
Idaho Side
Maggie takes it all in

1 comment:

  1. Dear Pie Eating Speers (no one is innocent!),

    Thank-you so much for sharing your journey with all of us, I am all caught up and ready to read about the next adventure! I so appreciate your desire to A) Travel and B) Light a spark in the rest of us to enjoy our world...It's working!

    Life is good in Madison. Lauren is feeling 29 months pregnant: Aches and pains, frequent trips to the lavatory, and so-so sleep...Nevertheless, she maintains a great attitude, especially with all signs pointing to a healthy baby! Lauren is still enjoying her job as a Speech Pathologist working with kids and their loved ones in their home. Lauren is magical with kids, so I know she is doing amazing work to get kids back up to speed. Colin is great as ever - He is healthy, happy, sleeps great, eats great, and enjoys books, cooking, 'fixing' things, blowing kissings, and asking such things as, "How was your day on your bike, papa?" (I get the sense he thinks I work on my bike?...if only...) Things are going well with me - I saw the light and headed back to direct patient care. Let's just say management was not my scene: Too many meetings, email, meetings, dramatic interactions, email, and meetings...all capped by no direct patient care. I am back to a surgical/trauma floor and love it. With that, I'm gearing up for baby (boy) #2 and look forward to taking a paternity leave of three months (yahoo UW Hospital!).

    Thank-you again for sharing your blog with all of us, we dream of loading our kids up for many trips to come and so appreciate your perspective on our great world.

    As always,

    David, Lauren, Colin, Boy Fetus, and, of course, Louie the Pie...sandwich...pork...baguette....cereal...Kleenex...shoe...poo diaper....highchair scrap eating poodle.