A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Last Chance


Just on the north edge of the town Salmon in Idaho was this place to stay.

It is managed the Idaho Fish and Game.  Now see, if we were in Montana their agency would be charging me eighteen dollars to stay because I am from out of state.
Idaho lets me stay for free.  I like Idaho.
I can’t say as much for Montana.

A man and woman from the fish and game were constructing this fence.
And they were not young either.

The pit toilet here too had murals.

In searching for places to stay beyond Salmon 
people are mentioning pit toilet murals elsewhere in this area.

I say last chance for I spent awhile setting up blog posts for the days ahead for it looks like again we will be entering that land of no cell service.  I have AT&T and it has served me well all over the country but this area between Missoula and I don’t know how much further south is bad unless I am in a town.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Best Pit Toilet Ever


From our site at Bobcat Gulch I could drive seven and a half miles south and get a cell signal for the first time since leaving Hamilton.  This was a BLM campground with four spots and all were taken.  So I took care of business and then went back to Bobcat.  Back at our spot I decided to check out the pit toilet.

Yes, I was shocked when I opened the door.

I have never seen a pit toilet with murals.

When we left Bobcat in the morning I stopped back at the BLM campground.
Its named Tower Rocks because of these.

Maybe its just me but I get a bit giddy to be standing on the same ground as did members of the Lewis and Clark expedition 216 years and 4 days ago.

A platform for nest building.

I have been seeing bald eagles every once in awhile along the river.

I don’t know if immature bald eagles look like this.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Bobcat and the White Rabbit

 We finally got down to an elevation that was comfortable where this camp area was free.

No one else there and no cell service either as usual.

I wonder how long they have been free from wherever they escaped from.

There is a tiny white speck halfway up the forested mountainside about seven o’clock from the moon.

Zoomed in as much as I could.  
Talk about having a cabin in total isolation.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

I Am Not Lewis and Clark Material


We left Spring Gulch Campground and it’s resident rattlesnakes early in the morning seeking sunshine and warmth.

Our next two camp options sat at over 5000 feet (1524m) in elevation with a temperature of 35 degrees (1.7c) at 9 a.m.  Why would I even consider?  So we blew right on by with the heater running on high.

We stopped at the summit of Lost Trail Pass, 7,014 feet (2,138) for breakfast.  A large firefighter’s camp was set up there.  Highway 43 to the east was closed due to one of the fires.  We were heading south on Highway 93 so it didn’t affect us.

The pass was named as such for historians are not sure exactly what route Lewis and Clark took to get over the Bitterroot Mountains at this point.  Further on down in to Idaho now.

I can see why Clark might think this would be as easily navigable river.

That expedition never ceases to amaze me in all the historical signs 
I’ve seen for the past couple on months.

Friday, August 27, 2021

That Was Just Too Damn Close!


We left Three Frogs and was soon passing through the small town of Darby, Montana.  And there off to the left was a used book store.  Stop!

This store was unique in that it also had excess books from the local library in addition to the usual.
Even more unusual was that there was no set price.  Unless otherwise posted the books cost you whatever you felt like donating.
I walked out with five books in my arms.

Back at the RV I checked the closed thrift shop once again and it was now open.
She had come in an hour early to catch up on some work.
I walked out with two more books.

The next campground down the road was 

and my goodness, what a lovely little campground. It was like a city park with manicured lawns and all.  Ten sites and we took the one down on the end, number nine.

Spring Creek ran by the campground producing a wonderful gurgling sound.

Just a tad too cool to get in though.

Later in the afternoon I took another walk over to the stream and walked along the water’s edge wearing short pants and my flip-flops.  Right there in the middle of the photo was a Western Diamond Rattlesnake which I DID NOT see until I was even with it, well within striking distance.  It never coiled or rattled; it just quickly slithered off into the brush on the right.  I only saw the latter two-thirds of the snake and guessed it to be nearly three feet long and had six or seven rattles.

It took me a couple hours to get over this.  All I could think of was what could have happened.  I was also very upset with myself for being so careless.  This was only the second time in my life I unknowingly came within striking distance of a rattlesnake.  All the others (and there’s been many) I have come across I have seen them before they see me and that’s just the way I like it.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Predators of the Bitterroot Mountains


This leaves me with the question like how can you really take time to look for distinguishing features when all you can think about is putting distance between you and the bear.

This is the fearsome Tortoiseshell Panther, a swift and fast hunter...most of the time.

Makes me wonder what it feels like having a squirrel head inside your mouth?
And then, what is it like having your head inside a cat’s mouth? 

She carried it around for awhile not knowing what really to do with it now that she caught it.  She let it go, it darted off and she ran it down again this time catching it in a mid-body grip.  This went on a couple more times then finally the squirrel got in between the rear dual tires as does most of her catches and the game was over.

No animals were harmed in the production of this blogpost 
but the squirrel most likely had the crap scared out of it,
plus a great story to tell its friends and family.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Three Frogs

 Three Frogs Campground

This campground was south of Kmart twelve miles and as soon as we turned off the highway cell service was lost.  This most likely will be the story for the rest of the week and more.

It was a quiet campground in spite of the large family gathering down the way.
I tried to count and got up to forty people and then lost track.

I asked someone walking by carrying a plate of food what the occasion was.  He said it was a church gathering.  “You’re welcome to join us.”
“Uh...thanks for the invite but too many people for me.”
But the smell of those bar-b-qued burgers sure was enticing. 

I didn’t see a single frog while we were there either.  Maybe because it was forty-one degrees in the morning.  We didn’t linger and left right early for some sunshine and warmth.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021



We passed through the town of Hamilton, Montana.  I was shocked to see a Kmart store. 

 This I had to see inside.

I asked the lady who greeted me at the door about it since I thought Kmart was no more.
She said a private party bought the store.
“And they were allowed to keep the name” I asked.

I asked if she knew of any other stores still in existence.
She told me there were eight in the country.
Later I looked on Wikipedia and it stated there are seventeen.

At any rate I felt like I had stepped back in time while in the store,
well except for the fact this store was all clean, bright and well organized, 
not like the Kmarts from my memory
There was no Blue Light Special going on while I was there.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Hike to Bass Lake

Bitterroot Mountains, Montana

A half mile from camp is a trailhead.
That is convenient for most trailheads require driving to them which presents a problem for me. 

 The trail was like this, a gradual climb all the way.

Occasionally the trail came close the Bass Creek 
but for most of the route I could only hear the sound of the cascading waters.

This couple passed me on the trail.  Rarely if ever do I get passed while hiking.  Well, I had stopped to look at a snake (no photo) when they passed by but no doubt they would have caught me anyway.  So I followed along behind them for awhile, wheezing in some parts perspiring in all.
  Geez, I’ve lost it.  
Well they were half my age after all so I need to not be so hard on myself.

I quit trying to keep up when I spotted this mushroom (a good excuse). 
This fungi belongs to the Russulaceae family which some are edible and some not.

Really?  You bring a mask with you when hiking miles back into the wilderness?

And then, all of a sudden there was the lake.
The clouds had rolled in just before I arrived.
It would have been a nicer photo with blue skies.
And blue skies they were for it had rained the previous night clearing away the smoke.

I sat here enjoying the view all around,
ate my snack, drank the last of my water, then got up to return home.

A cep mushroom also known as a penny bun.  
They are extremely popular in many cuisines.

Greene’s mountain ash.  
The berries are food for many birds and mammals.
I don’t know about people.  This people didn’t try it.

I had a great time on this hike.  
It was nice to get out onto an established trail and be in nature again.
Unfortunately when I got back home I discovered my hiking boot was finally coming apart.
There are a lot of miles on those boots.
I just don’t know if there are a lot of miles left in me to warrant buying a new pair.

Statistics:  Length of hike - 5.54 miles round trip
Elevation - 3715’ to 4565’  850 feet gain in altitude
Time going up - Forever  (well over an hour)
Time coming down - Nothing at all (half an hour)
Overall impression - Outstanding!