Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America – Day 19

Aug 21, 2012 View Comments by

We awake to cool, pine-scented mountain breezes in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho, a far different climate than the early snow that Lewis, Clark, and their Corps of Discovery experienced in the fall of 1805. They didn’t have a cell signal then and neither do we now in this still remote area. Although the thickly forested mountains here aren’t as tall as many of those in Colorado, the terrain is exceptionally steep and not much has changed in the last 200 years. We follow US 12 along the middle fork of the Clearwater River through the same general passage that the Corps of Discovery traversed; only we’re riding motorized vehicles doing about 50 mph on asphalt.

Possibly it’s because our bodies are composed mostly of the stuff and because it’s essential to our existence that humans are drawn to water. US 12 hugs closely to the cascading flow of the river through the steep and narrow canyon. The gentle swaying back and forth of the sweeping turns is calming and blissful. Gradually the terrain transforms into a more barren, tawny spectacle. The river widens and becomes more lake like.

After crossing over the Snake River, we’re in the Palouse Country of southeast Washington State. Wheat fields are draped, like giant tablecloths, on the undulating, treeless expanse. Some might label this a moonscape or a geography fit for a Lord of the Rings movie, but I love it! The road rises and falls through a constantly unfolding palate of extremely fine glacial till, grasslands, and cultivation. Temperatures rise to the triple digits, but the visual feast of shapes and shadows largely overcomes any thoughts of discomfort.

Sundown finds us on the banks of the Columbia River, which we will follow for the remainder of our journey to the Pacific Ocean.

Read more here:

Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Intro
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 1
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 2
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 3
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 4
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 5
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 6
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 7
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 8
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 9
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 10
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 11
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 12
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 13
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 14
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 15
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 16
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 17
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 18
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 20 
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 21 
Retracing the Lewis & Clark Trail Across America—Day 22 

Tags: , , Categories: On The Road