It is an all day, twenty three mile trek toward the narrow pass leading from Idaho into Montana. I have been forewarned. “We are having a late winter. The pass is still closed. Too much snow. You are taking the long way around. Driving along freeway number 90 would have been quicker”. Of all of this I am painfully aware of. I am determined to stay off of any Freeway and the excitement of walking through Calder, Avery and beyond seems worth the awaiting complexities of choosing this route.
The afternoon has been rapidly depleted by the time I am five miles below the summit. The rain has picked up. When the hail is showered in hundreds of pebble sized pellets I have no choice but to plug on. Only one pick-up truck passes me even though it is a holiday week-end. Smart locals have stayed away for this dreary place. Just as I encounter the thick mounds of drift snow which haven’t yet been cleared off the road the heavy rain comes again.Â it is up and down!.
It is 6 PM when I reach the summit. All is quiet. Bear spray dangles heavily on my waist. The good news is, still no sign of bears or wolves. It is clear, however, that to get to St. Regis, Montana I have two choices. Wait here for 30 days until the snow melts, or drive more than 150 miles around the mountain and climb back up on the Montana side. I carefully measure the distance I have walked, and the distance to St Regis, and of course choose the long drive.