Grangeville to Apgar Campground
Day 18: 58 miles. Total: 873
Another day, another river. Actually three rivers. But first, as we left Grangeville, we crossed Camas Prairie.
First came the south fork of the Clearwater. As we headed east from Grangeville it was all downhill. Pretty soon we were riding though the woods again when the river appeared. It was about the size of the Rogue, and in fact the surrounding trees and hills all looked very much like the Rogue Valley.
We've also been following the path that the Nez Perse took in their long flight from the Wallows to Montana. This will continue over Lolo Pass. We entered the Clearwater National Forest.
I keep saying we because I was riding with John again, and we also caught up with Jim and Kathy and rode most of the day with them as well.
At the town of Lowell the South Fork and the Middle Fork of the Clearwater join and we turned east and up the Middle Fork. We were now officially begining to climb the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains. The Middle Fork is much bigger than the South Fork, about as wide as the Willamette. It was mind boggling to think of all this water from the Clearwater, the Salmon, and the Snake, all feeding the Columbia.
We followed the Middle Fork through the Nez Perse reservation through the small towns of Stites, Kooskia, and Syringa. While I didn't see any signs of poverty, and the towns were not as run down as others I saw in Idaho, I didn't see any native people either. I'm not sure where they live.
At the town ( single store and gas station. The last one for 66 miles. ) we left the Clearwater and started riding up the Lochsa River.
By now the woods were very much like western Oregon, with pine, fir, and a lot of cedar. There were blackberries, thimbleberry, elderberry, and even a few alder. There also were other things I didn't recognize.
We ran into two seperate west bound riders. One was from Austrailia. They either had to have left really early, or be putting on big miles, to be this far west already.
We continue up the Lochsa river tomorrow, and the day after is Lolo Pass.