Hot spring tour of Idaho, part 1

on March 22-23, 2017
Northern Idaho, Montana

I took a couple days off, rented a car, and drove to Saint Marie’s to visit Christy. We didn’t have a lot of plans, other than to “go somewhere new” and get away from our regular routines.

It’s a six hour drive from Seattle to Saint Marie’s. I stopped in Ritzville for a box of Cheez-Its and gas. There was massive flooding between the I-90 turnoff and Saint Marie’s: fields turned to lakes just below road level and the water covered the base of many tree trunks. One section had a lot of muskrat roadkill because the road that divided two fields was a road that now divided two temporary lakes. Saint Marie’s had old snow and slush.

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Serious flooding along Highway 3
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Saint Marie’s, Idaho

Christy, Keena, and I took Highway 12 east – it was a beautiful drive! Highway 12 is a windy, two lane road that follows the Lochsa River through an enchanting conifer forest. There are few cars and a spattering of homes, some of which require a short ride in a cable car that crosses the river. The air out there was rich and wild, a scent I sadly forget about until I’m far from the city.

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Heading east on Highway 12, before the national forest
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Edge of the Lochsa River
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A wooden bridge crossing the Lochsa
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Roadtrip lunch: elk steak sandwich and a mini Coors Light

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We reached Weir Hot Spring mid-afternoon. It was an icy, well-trodden half mile in along a clear water creek. The tub is man-made and fills with hot spring water from above, and empties through two PVC pipes towards the creek. Christy and I had the tub to ourselves for about an hour. How refreshing it was to sit in a natural hot tub in crisp, spring air!

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Christy hiking in shorts in the snow
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Hot spring gear, including towels, a change of water, and beer

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We made it to Missoula that evening and got burgers and Cold Smoke. It was nice being in Missoula, I love it there, but we were super tired and crashed early at a hotel.

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On the road to Missoula
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Just before dinner
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