July 16, 2009

The Clearwater

Yesterday and Today we traveled US12 through Idaho, going west yesterday and then today going east. It's a beautiful drive either direction. US12 is a lightly traveled two lane that winds its way between mountains of the Bitteroot and Clearwater Mountains and is accompanied practically the entire route by the Clearwater River. It is roughly a 200 mile trip from Lolo, MT to Lewiston, ID, but plan on it taking you at least 5 hours, and that's without stopping for scenic views. Its a 50 mph zone almost the entire trip, and the sign at the beginning states "curvy roads next 196 miles." Its not exaggerating. But its a trip worth the time.

The river isn't a deep river, and you can see straight to the bottom with only a handful of exceptionally deep pools. There are just a handful of small towns once you head east before you hit wilderness. We stopped at the last one, Lowell, at a cafe for breakfast. We sat at a window table, and outside the window was a hummingbird feeder that was quite popular. I went back to the truck to get my camera. I just couldn't resist.
It was the best breakfast entertainment we've had in quite some time!

Too many sights to enjoy. Here is a shot of two I got of a mountain stream dumping into the river.

Then the highlight of the day. After so much beautiful scenery and glorious weather, one would think that would be the highlight. But Malcolm spotted a pullout area that had a staircase leading down to a little sandy beach by the river. He pulled off and we hiked down to the river, rolled up our pants legs, and went wading in the rather chilly water. It was cold, but refreshing. There were little minnows swimming, and butterflies landing on the rocks.

And still that wasn't exactly the highlight. When we got out of the truck to go wading, Malcolm decided to bring Carlie Jean along for some one-on-one time. To our surprise, Jeanie, who hates baths, plodded into the river right behind us. Well, she did hesitate a little when she felt the cold water on her toes, but then she rock hopped and waded her way to us.

She had fun splashing and snooping around. And then she invented her own game. She'd wade out to Malcolm and climb up on his rock.

Then try to leap from the rock to the shore.

She never quite made it, too much of a leap for her.
And after she splashed into the pool, she'd plunge to the shore, then race as fast as she could around the sandy beach, returning to start all over again...and again....and again! It was hilarious, and we had so much fun playing with her in the water.


Meagan said...

HOW MUCH FUN! You see so many neat things and have so many unexpected adventures! The pictures on this post were great! All the nature pics... and I really love the last hummingbird one and the one of Carlie leaping! :-)

Jennifer said...

You are so lucky to get to see so much beauty almost daily. I'm with your sis on this one all the pics were great!