The Clark Fork of the Columbia river was one of the things I was concerned about when I moved back to Montana. I was so happy and relieved to see that it had received only minor damage over the years. It is still clean and the fish are plentiful in it and there are still wild places in the high country above it.
I can’t help thinking of the pioneers looking out over a view like this, knowing they had to cross it. And not only cross it but time it just right so they didn’t get buried under snowfall. They were a tough bunch!
Cataract is a small roadless area of about 9400 acres about 10 miles or so due north of Thompson Falls. Cougar Peak is at the southern edge of it and just to the north of that is Graves Peak, then Vermillion Peak. I didn’t realize it before, but Cataract also extends for another 25,000 acres into the Kootenai Forest too. Hopefully my next excursion will be there, hiking from Vermillion peak, past Slide Rock Mountain over to Seven Point Mountain. That will be a longer one and I will have to do it before the weather turns too cold.
There are so many redundant place names in Montana, it’s very confusing. E.g. there is a Graves Creek up Lolo Pass Road (Hwy 12), and a Slide Rock Mountain between Beavertail Hill State Park and Philipsburg (the lookout at Fort Missoula came from Slide Rock Mountain).
There are redundant names in Montana and also throughout the northwest. There are even several in this area that have the same names and are quite close to each other. I’ve seen folks confused by that many times.
The “opening of the west” obviously was a little more difficult than we imagine today. Can you imagine bringing those early explorers back and introducing them to the wonder of the interstate system? I suspect they’d be a little ambivalent about the whole thing – or at least some would. Ease of travel = good. Necessary changes to the land to produce those roads = necessary, but….
The main “interstates” in those early days were the large rivers, but at times it was still necessary to cross over mountain passes, which also required some help from the seasons and even the weather. Most of the places I visit in the summer are not approachable during the winter. There are also those unexpected storms that are difficult enough to contend with today, but think of back in the days when the equipment wasn’t nearly as good as what we now have.
It’s nice to get a look over the river valley, isn’t it. I will post more photos taken in that area in a few more days. Right now our valleys are full of smoke from some large fires on the eastern side of Idaho and also some coming down from fires in Canada. I plan to hike into a new area that should have some good views of the back country too as soon as the air clears a little.
Yes, it’s a gorgeous look over the river valley…amazing. I’ll look forward to those next photos after the smoke clears. We’ve just managed to get clear skies again after weeks of smoke from fires all around. We have beautiful clear views of the mountains again…so nice.
I’m glad to hear that your skies at least are clearing up. One of the weather people on TV tonight said the smoke might not clear out of here until the season changes and extinguishes the fires. (They are huge ones!)