Day 253 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA
As I was leaving Missoula, I realized there were a few sights I probably should have explored, but I guess I was excited to get to Idaho which is the last of the 48 contiguous states in which I really haven’t spent any time aside from driving through a portion of it a month ago. I was hoping to fulfill my geocaching needs in this state, but AT&T doesn’t seem to exist here thus my apps are currently worthless.
Highway 12 winds through two national forests; Clearwater National Forest to the north and Nez Perce National Forest to the south, as it follows the shallow, multi-colored green Lochsa River. Roadside historical markers document Lewis and Clark’s adventures through the area.
De Voto Memorial Grove
We made our first stop at De Voto Memorial Grove, a grove of red cedars on the riverbank. The grove memorializes Bernard De Voto, an award winning author who camped near the area while editing the journals of Lewis and Clark.
Colgate Licks Trail
Further west, we took the Colgate Licks Trail, a mile loop which leads to two natural hot springs. The mineral deposits at the springs purportedly attract wildlife, including elk, deer, and bear. Not today! Of course, I didn’t arrive at the best time. Despite gaining an hour when moving into the Pacific Time Zone, it was still late morning on another hot day.
Lochsa Historical Ranger Station
Continuing on along the highway curving with the river, we visited the Lochsa Historical Ranger Station. The ranger station, built in 1920, was not accessible by road until 1952. The complex includes a few cabins, a multi-use building, a wood shed, a root cellar, a garden, and a whip saw.
Heart of the Monster
From the ranger station, we continued through Lowell and Kooskia to the Heart of the Monster. What the Garden of Eden is to Jews and Christians, Heart of the Monster is to the Nez Perces – the place where life began. According to ancient belief, the god Coyote slew a great monster from whose blood and flesh arose most Indian peoples. From the beast’s heart Coyote created a race known as the Nee Mee Poo, now the Nez Perces. The Heart of the Monster, a 30-foot basalt mound, sits on the banks of the Clearwater River.
We ended the day at Dworshack State Park. ETB