faces-0Big route change to the Pacific. We decided to follow Lewis & Clark’s route to the Pacific in order to travel along the Columbia Gorge. There are always trade-offs. This will be a shorter trip with strong headwinds but it will be very scenic and good for Barry who can visit family in Washington. Kooskia is our fork in the road.

  72-Kooskia, IDToday we follow the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River into the heart of Nez Perce country. This river system has always been important for its fish. Its steelhead trout and king salmon are anadromous, beginning as fresh waster fish that travel down to the ocean where they live for 2 or 5 years, respectively, before returning to spawn. It was a primary food source for the Nez Perce and vital for the survival of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Also here in north central Idaho is half the statewide population of elk and whitetail deer. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Although we traveled on the reservation for a number of days, it seemed populated mostly by white settlers in both small towns and luxury homes on both banks of the river.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is not surprising given another U.S. Government policy change that followed the initial shrinking of their reservation by 90% after gold was discovered in 1863. Between 1889-1893 the Government divided the 756,960 acre Nez Perce reservation into family sized acreages called “allotments”. They gave all Nez Perce adults and children an allotment and some went under tribal control but 70% was deemed “surplus” and ceded back to the government for resale. The large town of Kooskia at the junction of the Middle and South Forks of the Clearwater was formed in 1894 as a result of this land resale as was Kamiah, the town adjacent to the rock formation that is the basis for the Nez Perce creation story. It is here that a coyote killed a monster that was eating all the animals by being ingested by him and then using the knives carried with him to cut him apart from the inside and to release all the monsters that were still trapped inside. The coyote cut up the monster and distributed the pieces on the land and that, along with the monster’s blood, became the Nez Perce. FUDb-day.71-027Heart-of-the-Monster