(I’m writing this from a McDonalds in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada. My Verizon data doesn’t work here so I am at the mercy of free WIFI which has been few and far between and as we hit the Alaska Highway will even be more spotty. Today we will get to Dawson Creek, the official start of the Alaska Highway and be on it for the next few days. All is well and the trip is going splendidly.)
On May 28th we decided we didn’t need to go to the Hot Springs again so we just broke camp that morning and hit the road. We drove about 30 miles to Salmon, Idaho where we had to go to the Post Office to get some mail we had sent there general delivery. I don’t know if I mentioned it yet, but we have NOT had internet or cell phone at any of the places we’ve dispersed camped except the one just across the Utah-Idaho border that looked down on the freeway. So we stopped in Salmon to get on-line as well.
Once everything was done there, it was back to the old driving grind. We headed north on Highway 93 and crossed the border into Montana. At the border was a welcome center up on a very high pass in beautiful trees and mountains. We stopped to stretch, relieve ourselves and play in the snow; yes, there was lots of snow there–probably still 3-4 feet left. This far north at high elevations they can get snow anytime of the year. We stayed for a while and moved on. We quickly dropped down out of the snow and into warm, beautiful spring weather.
We needed a place to camp that night so I got out the Delorme Atlas and Gazeeter and searched for a likely looking Forest Service roads. I found one that was just 4 miles from the main road and between what appeared to be two major roads in the National Forest. One problem with finding campsites in the National Forests is if the area is too steep to have pullouts to camp in. So one of the things I do is to check the topo for steepness and this one was mostly a gradual climb so I thought we could find a campsite.
It turns out I was right, we found several good campsites and the one we chose was by far the prettiest we had been in for a long time. We were backed up to a gorgeous creek amidst tall, beautiful trees and even had wildflowers in the area. Our favorite campsite yet! We only stayed one day though so the next morning we broke camp and headed out. We drove out as a loop and came out on Lost Horse Creek and drove back down to 93. I loved Lost Horse Creek Rd! It was in a beautiful valley and followed along a gorgeous river set in huge trees that were spaced out and felt very comfortable. Best of all, there were many gorgeous campsites right on the river with great views.
If I were ever looking for a place to spend the summer where it’s cool and exceptionally beautiful, Montana would be it! I’d start at this campsite and come back often! Fortunately, there are seven different National Forests up and down the Bitterroot Valley and Western Montana and you could bounce around between them every 14 days. Hamilton, MO is just a few miles up the road and it’s large enough to have everything you need, except a Walmart. Another 50 miles up 93 is Missoula, MO which is a very large town with two Wal-Marts and all the chains. In Northwest Montana is Kalispell and Whitefish which, between them, have all the major chain stores including a Cabellas. If you’re looking for a fabulous place to spend the summer, give serious thought to western Montana!