When Nancy was in the supermarket, yesterday, some guy yelled, "Hey, I love Bandon", and he was looking at her. It didn't register with Nancy for a moment until she realized she was wearing her Bandon sweatshirt. They talked for a while and then he said, "You want to go on a pretty ride while you're here, go up to Wisdom, Montana." Nancy got up early, and woke me at 11 a.m. to take me for a walk. There had been a light rain all night, but this morning the skies really looked threatening, especially in the direction we were going to go. Nancy said, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." So, off we went.
The scenery was beautiful. There were all these signs about Mr. Lewis and Mr. Clark. They must be friends of Michael's because every time she'd read one, she'd say, "Boy, Michael would love this." The little signs on the highway pointed either to trailheads or dirt roads that led to trailheads. Nancy was afraid to drive on dirt because of the rain, and she didn't want to walk any of them because they looked pretty isolated. I'm sure many Lewis and Clark fans have followed them, though. There are outfitters out here who take interested people on canoeing and hiking trips to retrace the incredible men's footsteps. It's hard to imagine that anyone could have come over the mountains, crossed the rivers, and persevered through terrible winters for the sake of exploration.
This is the land where most of the Nez Perce' Indians lived. They called themselves Nimiipuu (Nee-Mee-Poo). Salmon, where we are staying, is the birthplace of Sacajawea, is on the Lewis and Clark Trail, is the Whitewater Capital of the World, is on the "River of No Return", and is the Gateway to the Frank Church Wilderness (which I believe is the biggest wilderness in the lower 48 states)Whew! I think Nancy's been on every scenic byway in Idaho, Montana, and Oregon, not to mention other states.
On the way to the mountains, Nancy found a little cafe' where she stopped to eat. She says that's where you find the best food, and she said that it was delicious, today. I love her, but she's a nut. She got it in her head that Blue Grass music was appropriate for driving in the mountains, so she bought a CD from a local band. They weren't too good, but she's right, it is the music to listen to in the hills.
We saw one ranch that must have had several thousand head of cattle--as far as the eye could see.
It seemed like we climbed for a long while and then came to a very high meadow. It rained most of the way, but then stopped by the time we got to Wisdom so Nancy was able to take pictures. She could take only a few on the way back because she didn't want to get the camera wet.
Church of the Big Hole
When we were high up on a mountain pass doing the switch backs, she said, "Boy those are big drops of rain!" Then she realized it was freezing and we were in a snow shower. It wasn't sticking and the roads weren't slippery, but she said we couldn't stay too long in Wisdom because we needed to get down before nightfall. No worries. Wisdom is a tiny little town with a few stores, some houses, and a church.
Some things just beg to have a picture taken:
It didn't rain while we were in town so Nancy was able to go in a store. She bought a hoody sweatshirt that has a moose on it. She always has to get light colors because of my hair. We need sweatshirts, here. Well, I don't, but you know what I mean. We crossed the continental divide, today. On the way home, we found a place where we could take a long walk along the river. At one point there was one tributary emptying into the Salmon River. It almost looked like they were flowing in two different directions as if they couldn't decide which side of the divide they were on.
The sun was out for a short while, and as I was sniffing, look what I found! Bones! One of the leg bones still had the foot and the claws or nails on it, but no meat. Nancy remembered when Wilson found bones in New Mexico and was looking for the skull, but we knew that was a deer or an elk. We didn't know what this was because there was no skull. Nancy was relieved to find the claws on the end of the foot.
Our walk was very nice. The rain and storms had stopped for a while and the fresh smells were delicious. We decided that everyone, sometime in their life, should walk along the banks of the "River of No Return".