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The Wagonteamster Channel has itís first video production - Journey To the Valley Of the Wild Horses

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A Magnificent Valley


7/21 and 7/22/12, Lochsa River Valley - For two days now I have traveled through a magnificent part of the American West. On my second evening after leaving the top of Lolo Pass, Iím camped next to where a small stream empties into the Lochsa River, 39 miles from the top of Lolo Pass. Yesterday, the lads and I put in 21 miles before camping on a stream, alongside Doe Creek Road.  Tonight, Iím 18 miles further downstream.

7/21/12, After leaving the Visitor Center, I began the decent from the top of the pass.  For four miles the grade was steady at about 6%.  Upon reaching Crooked Fork Creek, the grade became shallower and the forest took on a new look.  The annual rainfall on the west side of the pass is quite high. In fact, as I moved lower in the next few miles, it began to take on the appearance of a rain forest. The trees grew dense with Western Red Cedar interspersed between the Spruce and Fir trees. Under the closely packed trees, little sunlight reached the forest floor, but it was enough light for a thick carpet of ferns. As I moved further into the valley, and the creek joined with the Lochsa River, thick stands of ancient cedar trees were common. Many of the trunks were 3 or 4 feet across, as these trees can live over 3000 years.


The beautiful Lochsa River and the surrounding conifer rain forest.

Unfortunately, somewhere in the dayís travels, I lost my little camera and the pictures I had on it from early in the day.  Iím now using my larger camera.

A disadvantage to being in a rain forest is the lack of good grazing.  Because trees grow so easily, it leaves little room for grass.  I looked for several miles before finding a camping spot with the small amount of grass shown penned up in the photo below.  Because the pen was so small, I had to tie up Doc for the night and feed out one of my bales of hay. This is the first hay that I have fed in about 4 weeks.


By morning, the lads had turned the small amount of grass to dirt.

Just as I was coming up to my camping spot, I met up with some fellow teamsters that live in towns, farther to the west. Great guys, who helped scout around to see if there was better camping in the area (there wasnít).  They then stuck around for a couple of beers and we swapped yarns.

Just as I was getting settled, Jen and Marcia, who I met a couple of weeks ago in Townsend, MT stopped by with some micro brewery beer and a continental dinner.  Good times were had by one and all.


Bill didnít think that after the death of Dale Evans, he would ever be serenaded like this?

7/22/12 - The best way I can describe todayís journey - ďstunningĒ.  US Route 12, on which I travel, follows the Lochsa River as it winds it way through nearly 100 miles of thickly forested, steep mountainsides.  Itís often called the most windy road in America. I was amazed at how the thick stands of timber blanketed hillsides that rose at great than 45 degrees.  Everywhere I looked, it was like thumbing through the postcards on the rack in the drugstore.


This was the first of two suspension bridges that I saw spanning the river today. Designed to be used by foot and horse traffic, they offer an easy alternative to fording the river.

Every time I stopped for a break, a lot of people would also stop to chat. When I pulled over for a rest at the Colgate salt licks, a whole slew of people came over to talk.


This feisty gal grew up punching cows on a ranch.  She was quite enthralled with the idea of travel in the wagon.  Her eyes kept shifting between her husband, standing by the truck and then back to the wagon. In the end she walked back to the truck (but kept looking at the wagon with longing) - Good People!

I stopped for lunch at another suspension bridge.  The temperature was beginning to climb and was already in the eighties.  There was suppose to be a primitive hot spring within a half mile of my lunch location.  I was tempted to go and find it for a quick soak, but I didnít want to leave the lads by the road.  I thought about bringing them across in a string, but the bridge swayed some and I figured a string of three horses on a swinging bridge probably wasnít a good idea (I have some common sense, every once in a while).


A nice shot of the lads and the wagon from the east bank of the Lochsa River.

A couple of hours after lunch, the temperature was in the low nineties and I was casting about for a good camping place.  I found some good grass and water on a point of land that juts out into the river. Next to the grass is a swift running mountain stream that dumps into the river about 200 feet below where Iím camped.


Good grass, cool water, great scenery; yup, this place will work!

I had to clear a little brush to make a path to the mountain stream to pump water up for the horses. When I got down to the creek, I found a real gem.


I call this little stream the Ďgrottoí.  The overhead bushes shaded the stream and locked in the temperature of the water.  With the surrounding temperature in the mid-nineties, the grotto remained at a comfortable 70 degrees.

So, whatís a guy to do with a 95 degree day when thereís a 70 degree grotto and a 60 degree stream right next door?  The answer is obvious - go for the 60 degree water and a cool beer - duh?


I still havenít completely mastered the new camera yet, but the chair is in the stream and Iím suppose to have my eyes open - just pretend the picture came out perfect!

Tonight, Wagonteamster Camp is peaceful and cool.  I donít have internet to post this, but I will someday soon. My belly is full of pork fillet, my skin is cool and this beautiful place has soothed my soul. If, I was to come upon a nice cool place, with more than one day of grass, I might just linger there for another day and enjoy this magnificent valley!