Day 253 – Idaho Heartland, August 26, 2011
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
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 documented Lewis
and Clark’s adventures through the area.
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.
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
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.
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