Idaho & Montana
June 14-21, 1997
We left on schedule June 14, and stopped for lunch at Brothers, and spent the night at Ontario. On our second day we traveled through Boise and on to Idaho City, an early gold rush community that still retains some of its historical quality. The road winds down a long hill to Lowman, and from there we stopped for lunch at the Sawtooth Mountain overlook on the edge of Stanley Basin. We went to Redfish Lake but the interpretive center was closed, then past Sunbeam and up the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River to see the Custer mining museum and the gold dredge at Bonzana. We then stopped on the outskirts of Challis (in Round Valley at the north end of the Lost River Range) to see their very nice museum of history.
The third day found us traversing Antelope Flat through Grand View Canyon up Willow Creek Summit with the Lost River Range towering over us. We stopped at the low fault scarp generated November 1983 by an earthquake that shook that part of Idaho. We continued over the gravel road that crossed the Lost River Range that is bordered on the north by the Lemhi Range. We ate lunch in Salmon City Park; it was sprinkling. The other picnic grounds near the flooding Salmon River were under water. We crossed Gibbons Pass into Montana and stopped briefly at the Big Hole battle-ground where Chief Joseph fought the troops in 1877. We arrived in good time in Butte and after dinner took an interesting two-hour trolley ride around town, where we had the opportunity to view the big Berkeley Pit, created by years of mining by the Anaconda Mining Co. and then visited their large mining museum and saw Greater Butte.
Our fourth day took us to the mineral display at the Butte School of Mines; we then went to the town of Anaconda for lunch. The tall stack still stands, but there has been no smelting for years. Our next stop was at the historic mining town of Phillipsburg where the museum contained an underground mine replica. We then visited the sapphire shop, and traveled west to Missoula for the night.
Our fifth day was well arranged by Ray Jensen, who took us to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a conservation organization. There were many stuffed animals found in the Rocky Mountains, and all well arranged. On the wall there were many trophy mounted heads of elk. We then visited the smoke jumpers’ HQ, and had their operation explained to us. While there, at least five parachutes landed near us. After lunch, we gathered in the park by the Clark Fork River, where a celebration was in process. All who wanted to rode their very nice carousel. We then visited historical Fort Missoula and also toured the University of Montana campus by bus.
On our sixth day, we came to Lolo Pass, where the interpretive center appeared to be closed. But after a side trip to Packers Meadow, where the expanse of blue camas was just starting to bloom, we found the center open and we stopped. We had lunch along the Lochsa River. Hwy. #2 more or less follows the Lewis & Clark Trail route of 1805-06 at a beautiful campground. We then stopped at the interpretive center at an old ranger station that escaped the awful fire that burned the general area in 1934. We took in the very nice Nez Perce interpretive center at Lapwai, just east of Lewiston, Idaho. We then went through Lewiston and spent the night in Clarkston, Washington.
On our seventh day, we took the mountain Hwy. #128 from Clarkston to Peola, Columbia Center, Pataha Flat, and into Pomeroy, where we took in their historical museum. We had a tour past Whitman College Campus, then had lunch at the Whitman Monument. Then onto Oregon on Hwy. #395, stopping at Battle Mountain State Park. We arrived in John Day for our last night.
The last day we toured both their historical museums in Canyon City, and the Chinese doctors’ museum in John Day. Neither were open, and we continued to the John Day Fossil Beds HQ at the old Cant Ranch, west of Devil and Picture Gorge, which is located next to the Thomas Condon memorial plaque beneath Sheep Rock. They have many vertebrate fossils and nice displays at the HQ. We then visited the Painted Hills near Mitchell and ate lunch at the blustery Prineville City Park. We then continued via Terrebonne and Lower Bridge to Eugene, arriving on the dot of 5 pm.
Riders were: Margaret Baldwin, Mary & Richard Bentsen, John & Marian Borchardt, Mary Lee Cheadle, Clair Cooley, Margaret Fea, Bette Hack, Evelyn Hile, Jean Jensen, Cecily Joost, Virginia Kapsa, Helen Knowlton, Dodie Leppmann, John & Lenore McManigal, Virginia Prouty, Elizabeth Reanier, June Smith, Louise Thurber, John Thomson, Christy White, Betty & Dick Cheadle, Kent Christoferson, Ben Kirk, Gloria Layden, Ruth Seitz, A1 Thiesen and leaders Ewart Baldwin.and Ray Jensen. Our affable and very capable driver was Larry Edwards.