We’re in Montana!

Yaak River

I wanted to stay near Sandpoint Idaho. We’ve been to Farragut State Park on the south end of Lake Pend Orielle and I really liked the lake. Unfortunately Farragut was totally booked and we couldn’t find any other good options on the lake. Chuck had a couple of sites along the Yaak River just inside the Montana border that looked promising so we drove straight through this skinny strip of Idaho. It turned out to be a wildlife drive. Besides the usual deer, I saw a black bear scampering into the trees just off the freeway in Idaho and later we nearly had wild turkey for dinner when mom, dad, and several chicks walked into the road. Luckily they paused, deciding to let us go by first.

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Yaak Falls

Turning down the Yaak River Road we found the first campground near Yaak Falls was too small. We had no cell service so couldn’t check the GPS on the phone for our second option, Yaak River Campground. A map at the viewpoint showed 2 more campgrounds on down the road so we continued on but neither of those were a fit and we finally ended up at the tiny “town” of Yaak—two bars and a teensy store with an old gas pump out front. The cashier was excited that we must be there for the music festival (what music festival???). She said we could camp in the field if we were attending and the bluegrass and rock music would go from 3pm to midnight. Since this didn’t sound like our kind of fun we asked her where to find the Yaak River Campground. We were thankful the gas pump still worked because it turned out we had to retrace the 20 miles we had been driving down this road. The campground we wanted was back off the main highway. So we learned another lesson.

Lesson #4: Always take a screen shot of the map.

Back on the highway the Yaak River Campground was not far. There were many open sites among the dense trees, but the few spots that had views of the river were taken. We found one space with some sun for the solar and set up. A short path led us straight from our camp, through the trees and brush to the where the Yaak River meets the larger Kootenai River. It was pretty and I found lots of cool rocks along the banks!

The next day we drove into nearby Troy, MT for the farmer’s market (berries, pea pods, giant carrots and yummy gluten free huckleberry pie!) and walked through the small museum of old photographs, logging tools, kitchenware and a police blotter that listed “drunk and disorderly” as the main offense back in the day. This town was born out of logging and mining. The building was actually the old train depot. The docent recommended seeing the nearby Kootenai Falls and the Ross Creek Cedar Grove. So the following day we did.

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The Kootenai Falls were spectacular. After a short hike down the hillside, we found water gushing over big flat rocks. It wasn’t a tall fall, but cool because of how wide it was and all the stair steps the rocks made for the water to follow. Chuck even got me out on the swinging bridge over the river.

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People on Tripadvisor were raving about the Ross Creek Cedars. They said you shouldn’t miss it. So we drove 20 miles (4 miles of that dirt road) to get there and all I can say is those people obviously weren’t from Washington. True there were some big, old cedar trees along the nature path, but nothing I hadn’t seen around Seattle. The coolest part was how so many people had left rock cairns along the river.

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Well two nights was enough for us and we were ready to head on down the road. On our way out of town we found a weigh station. Chuck had read that when the weigh stations are closed they turn the meter so you can see it out the window. So we took the opportunity to weight the truck and the trailer and found out that we are not overweight. Hooray! I don’t have to pare down even more. Although, I’m already finding out that there are things I don’t really use so a trip to “Goodwill” is in our future. 🙂

 

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