We crossed the Bitterroot mountains into the Pacific time zone.
This was a short day with our 12th and last crossing of the Continental Divide at Lolo Pass on the border of Montana and Idaho. This area has not changed much in hundreds of years, with only two parallel routes crossing the region. The northern route is the remains of a 168 mile “Lolo Motorway”, the mostly single lane road that the CCC built in the 1930’s which closely follows the Indian trails that Lewis and Clark used and considered the most difficult of their trip. “Lolo” is thought to derive from an Indian word meaning “to bring across or carry across on one’s back”. This road is still very rugged today, best suited for 4-wheel drive vehicles and mountain bikes, and which is still currently impassable for a few more weeks due to snow. For reasons made clear by the following elevation profiles on the right, we followed route 12 along the Lachsa River. The Nez Pierce also used the northern route to evade federal troops in their attempt to escape settlement in their Idaho reservation. Route 12 passes Fort Fizzle, the camp where the soldiers and settlers attempted to halt the Indian’s movements but failed when the Nez Peirce simply bypassed them. The logs in the breastworks were deliberately spaced to allow rifles to penetrate while giving some protection. Combined, the Lolo Motorway and the NePierce Historical Trail form the modern day Lolo Trail. Over time there have been noticeable changes in the forests of this region. Pine beetle devastation might have contributed to the August 2013 lightning fire that burned 11K acres. The forests in this area are also split in a checkerboard pattern between the Forest Service and The Plum Creek Timber Company and their different timber management practices are reflected in the landscape. In contrast to this, a large tract cedar forest has been preserved and looks similar to what it would have looked like during the Journey of Exploration since the trees don’t reach maturity for 400-500 years. We camped and ate at the lovely Lochsa Lodge.