August 30-       Over the Lolo Trail (or, Richard Rides a Horse).
September 7:   Because of the fires in the Lolo Pass area, I couldnít ride
                           the trail from Lolo Hot Springs across the pass into
                           Idaho.  Instead, I hiked as far as Wendover Campground
                           on Rt. 12 in Idaho, then hitched back to Hot Springs for
                           another night at the motel.  On Thursday, August 31, I
                           met Harlan and Barbara Opdahl of Triple O Outfitters,
                           and Harlan and I set out on horseback along the Lewis
                           and Clark/Nez Perce Trail through the Bitterroot
                           Mountains in the Clearwater National Forest.  Having
                           never been on a horse before, I was both excited and
                           apprehensive about this part of the journey.  When I told
                           Harlan Iíd never ridden a horse, his less than reassuring
                           response was, ďThatís all right, we have horses that have
                           never had riders.Ē  We had four horses in our group, two
                           for riders and two for packing our gear.  Their names
                           were Surprise, Stormy, Lightning, and Corky.  Guess
                           which horse was mine.  Corky and I hit it off instantly,
                           and I couldnít have had a better guide and companion
                           than Harlan.
  
                           
                                 Harlan and his mount.
 
                           The weather, however, turned sour.  After our first day
                           on the trail, a cold front settled in, and for the next five
                           days we had cold, fog, rain, sleet, and snow.  To my
                           surprise, the trail follows ridges rather than valleys, and
                           our elevation ranged between 5,000 and 7,000 feet.  The
                           terrain is rugged and steep, and I can imagine how
                           discouraging it must have been for Lewis and Clark to
                           have seen a seemingly endless string of ridges between
                           them and the Pacific Ocean.  We completed the blazed
                           part of the trail in five days, and spent the sixth day
                           exploring the path Lewis and Clark probably took from
                           Lolo Campground to Weippe.  Iím surprised greater effort
                           hasnít been taken to blaze the actual routes Lewis and
                           Clark took on the overland part of their expedition. 
                           While some of their route traverses private property,
                           much of it runs through national forests.  Perhaps the
                           growing interest in the expedition as we near the
                           bicentennial celebration will create some impetus to 
                           blaze a more complete Lewis and Clark trail across the 
                           Lemhi and Lost Trail Passes, and through the Bitterroot
                           Mountains to Weippe or Orofino.

                           
                                 Richard's firey steed.

                           From Weippe, I hiked down to Orofino, where I had
                           stored my kayak at Canoe Camp on the Clearwater River. 
                           Canoe Camp is just below the convergence of the North
                           Fork of the river with the Middle Fork, and there was
                           plenty of water - and plenty of current - to carry me
                           down to the Snake River at Clarkston, Washington.  It
                           was an exhilarating ride until I reached Lewiston, Idaho,
                           where the current slows as it passes by paper mills 
                           which emit an overpowering sulfurous stench.  Iíve now
                           reached the last section of my journey - about 500 miles
                           through Washington on the Snake and Columbia Rivers
                           to the Pacific Ocean.



                    Click here for days 154 - 158 of Richard's journal