Wednesday, January 23, 2008


There are no good roads between Boise and Whitefish, but there are a few outstanding ones. A couple of the best options are even paved.

A transportation engineer may disagree but US 12 between Kooksia (koo - ski) and Lolo is a true marvel.

I've had the pleasure of driving this route three times so far this winter and while amazed by the beauty, I may have to admit to cursing the route a few times.
  • Cursed when in December I found myself stuck in Grangeville, thankfully with two good friends for companions as roads were closed in every direction by blowing snow.
  • And a few expletives may have left my lips as I dodged a few cases of deer on snow covered highways around Syringa and Kooskia.
  • And certainly, late in the evening around Powell... now quite confidently moving at 60mph on the snow covered surface, by this point accustomed to the idea of my truck acting more like a sled than an automobile... when a group of elk decided to stand between me and my destination. Were it not for the previous 70 miles of snow and ice-laden sinuosity I likely would be shopping for a new front end, but US12 had readied me for this all evening and calmly was able to put the truck into a mild drift to the left and hugging the bank the elk too slid to the side and we passed gracefully into the night.
Some photos from the return journey in the daylight:

Last visible pavement for 80 miles. Montana/Idaho border at Lolo Pass.

Coming down off Lolo Pass into Idaho.

Roadcut along US 12.

Snow and ice in the Clearwater River.