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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > My trip over the Lolo Trail

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~DJ~

Boise, Idaho

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Posted: 07/30/14 03:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Also a Nez Perce Indian trail since the beginning of time, this is where Lewis & Clark made their journey across this region. According to their book this was the absolute most difficult part of the entire trip.

Now called the Lolo Motorway, it parallels the original trail and intersects with it at several places. I'd heard that the Feds went in and smoothed the road in anticipation of of the 2005/2006 bicentenial increased traffic and renaming it the Motorway. Well, they may have renamed it but the road is as rough as it has ever been. I do know that the Feds poured money into the counties along this route to ramp up Search and Rescue equipment, overtime for Sheriff's Depts, etc. Then no one came!!! LOL

My first time over the Lolo Trail was in 1957. Yes, it will always be the Lolo Trail to me. This was before US 12 between Kamiah (CAM-e-i) ID and Lolo MT existed. My family lived in N Idaho and we loved to camp/fish White Sands Creek off of Elk Summit road south of the Powell Ranger station. We traveled the Lolo Trail from Weippe (WE-ipe) to the ranger station then out Elk Summit. It took a couple days. After US 12 was put in we could do it in one day!!

I wanted to do this trip for old time sakes as it's been many years since. I thought a lot of my Dad along the way. He taught me so much about camping and fishing, survival in the wilderness, being smart and safe in bear country. I'd also heard a bad fire went thru and wanted to see how bad.

I drove from Boise to Kamiah and left town on Glenwood Road, 22 miles on nice paved road to Lolo Creek Campground on El Dorado Creek. Long day and I was glad to be at the start of my trip.

Campground, dark, deep woods, YES!!!

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Crossing over Lolo Creek.

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Next day I drove 13 miles over 1 to 1 1/2 lane oiled graveled road to Canyon Jct.

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With 5 choices I found lthe road I wanted.

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Now the road turned into single lane, rough, rocky and rutty. I only made it 26 miles to Rocky Ridge Lake.

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Lake the next morning.

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I'm really wishing I had brought my canoe!!

The next 50 miles were mostly deep dark woods with little opportunities for pics but I did get some, especially of the signs.

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Finally a smooth stretch of road!!.

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Peeking thru some trees.

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Some burned area with more rough road ahead.

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Pics just don't do justice to how rough and slow going it was.

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More peeking thru the trees.

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This area is so huge it is inexplicable by me anyway!!

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Yaaayyy more slow going!!

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You do not want to meet someone on this road. I just finished .8 of a mile I would not want to back around!!.

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This is called the Devil's Chair although I don't see it!!

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Indian Post Office Lake. I hiked down for two small trout!!

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I drove the rest of the trail to US 12 at Powell Ranger Station and camped at Squaw Creek. First, time to break out the Master Bath to get rid of 2 days of trail dust.

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Then one of my favorite dinners. Liverworst brats!!

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I know. I know, it's a cheapy BBQ but it is my sacrificial BBQ. I keep a very clean camp. Wash dishes after every meal and wipe down table/counters with Lysol wet wipes. Burn all paper (which I use most of). Mr Grizzly comes around he is going for the BBQ vs my camper. Then makes enough noise for me to make ready my bear spray and (hopefully not) my .44.

Next day across US 12 and the Lochsa (LOCK-saw) River to Elk Summit Road. Nearing White Sands Creek which, BTW, has now been renamed to Colt Killed Creek in appreciation of where L&C had to kill a colt to eat to stay alive. (Will still always be White Sands Creek to me). The fire damage is not looking good.

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Arriving at "our" camp spot down the left side of the pack bridge has not been used in years. Burned out several years ago and smells the same.

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The "new" pack bridge that is not certified safe for animals!! [emoticon]

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I remember camped there when the mule skinner would load up 12-15 mules loaded with supplies for the lookout and head off across the old bridge.

OK, back up to Elk Summit Road and on to Hoodoo Lake. This is also looking bad.

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But by the time I got to the lake it appeared unscathed. Really wishing for my canoe now!!!

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Well, that was my trip. The only casualty was the sewer vent pipe cover knocked off by a branch so I guess the canoe wouldn't have made it either!! [emoticon]

I never needed 4X4 but high clearance and if hauling heavy like a TC low range is a must.


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jaycocreek

Idaho

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Posted: 07/30/14 04:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That's a cool place like the Magruder road from Elk City to Darby Montana. I never want to come back when I go.

Thanks for the pics. I'm going to get back into the truck camper game very soon. I miss the ability to go some places you can't tow things to here in Idaho.


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nycsteve

NY

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Posted: 07/30/14 04:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Beautiful!





Two Hands

California's Central Coast

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Posted: 07/30/14 04:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great photos of a beautiful area! Thanks for posting.


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BurbMan

Islip, Long Island

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Posted: 07/30/14 04:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Man that is some pretty country!!!


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CptnBG

Salem and Smith Mtn Lake, Va

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Posted: 07/30/14 04:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great report!! Really well written and great pics.


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1mtnman

Colorado

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Posted: 07/30/14 04:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very enjoyable and I like the remoteness! Thanks for posting.





oldtrojan66

central Indiana

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Posted: 07/30/14 04:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Beautiful pictures, Thanks! It really looks a lot like some of the cascade mountains in Western Washington. There were lots of logging road there like those you drove. Some of the most fun trout fishing I ever experienced. Wonderful times spent scouting for deer and elk. Wonderful memories, thanks again.


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Mello Mike

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Posted: 07/30/14 04:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great TR, DJ. Looks like a pretty cool area. How long is the trail total?

* This post was edited 07/30/14 09:35pm by Mello Mike *


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pasusan

Northernmost PA

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Posted: 07/30/14 05:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice! Thanks for sharing your trip DJ!!


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