Sunset at Fort Owen
Either there is a God or luck tossed us the long end of the climate change stick, because spring came early last week and bringing with it temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s, it lured Dinah, Kelvin and I out of inversion-ridden Missoula. Under any other circumstances I would likely have been lamenting the lack of proper ski weather, however, as I’m still injured from an October car accident, I couldn’t be more stoked on hitting the hiking trails in a sweater and running shoes. The dogs agree (Kelvin hates ski season). So, as we often do, we headed south to Montana’s balmy Banana Belt: The Bitterroot Valley.
Perhaps it’s the 70 million year old jagged peaks towering majestically over a warm and winding valley, or the sharp contrast of the Sapphire Range’s rounded hills (i.e. the ones that slid off the Bitterroot range shortly after it rose from the ground), but for several years now, I’ve been unable to tear myself away from this piece of Montana.
The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness stretches over 1,340,502 acres and is the third largest in the United States. Lewis and Clark first explored it with the Corps of Discovery on their way to chart the Louisiana Purchase and find a route to the Pacific. If you’re hankering to relive their Bitterroot adventures and otherwise, keep your eye out for HBO’s 6-hour Lewis and Clark miniseries, which begins filming Summer 2015.
First, we hiked old Kootenei Canyon.
Afterwards, we headed just slightly further south to Stevensville, Montana’s first community, where we stopped to catch the sunset over the Bitterroot from historic Fort Owen.
For more Bitterroot check out these posts: