Friday, February 5, 2016

Snowmobiling Lolo Pass

Lolo Pass and its National Recreation Area (all Forest Service land) were scarcely an hour's drive from our home west of Missoula, and it was at Lolo Pass that we snowmobiled more than any other place. Last year, as we revisited our many snowmobiling adventures, we didn't do Lolo--too little snow, as in much of the inland Northwest. So we drove on to the higher country, Yellowstone and Island Park, Grey River, and the Continental Divide Trails in Wyoming. But this year there was a solid four feet of snow at the Pass. Sadly, the grooming was lacking, but we were determined...
First day, we rode the trails near the Pass and in the direction
of the Missoula Snowgoers' warming hut...our club, way back
when; I think we had the only two-up and certainly the only
four-stroke in the club

A gorgeous day, tons of snow all around even at these relatively
low altitudes (5,000-6,000 feet)

Vicki, covered in powder

Panning around

The warming hut

Montana and Idaho are Lewis and Clark ground zero, and they
camped here at Packer Meadows en route to the Pacific

Packer Meadows

In early summer, Packer Meadows turns blue with the bloom of
Camas flowers; indeed the first time we approached it, we
thought for a moment it was a lake; a postcard to P bears
witness (she has requested postcards with princesses)

Not so in winter

We spent Tuesday night at the pass, hoping for more grooming;
but it didn't come, and we returned to Missoula and business
there; Friday morning we thought we'd try again, probably just
another token ride, and then cross Lolo off our list; just as we
were about to head back to the parking lot, we noticed two guys
blazing up the route to Lochsa Lodge...completely ungroomed,
but they were making enough of a trail for us to follow...the
trip from the Pass to Lochsa Lodge was always our very favorite
ride at Lolo

Tea time before the bridge at Brushy Fork

We pressed on, enjoying beautiful views of the Bitterroots

Up closer

Moose tracks, according to Vicki; we actually did see a pretty
big cow on the way back, but she disappeared before I could get
the camera out; above Killed Colt Creek, another Lewis and
Clark place (they were getting low on supplies)

Our quest is at an end...outside Lochsa Lodge, above the Lochsa
River, a few miles from the De Voto Cedar Grove...a favorite
place in an historic place 

Back porch of the lodge , which seems unchanged in the 8 or so
years since we last visited

Part of the Lodge menagery; our lunch was accompanied by
a very appetizing lecture, in the adjacent hall, on the prevention
and treatment of frostbite, the audience apparently EMTs

But we were thrilled and pleased to have made this destination
one more time on the snow, despite the conditions

There remained only the long, ungroomed ride back to

The parking lot and visitor center at Lolo Pass, a special place,
especially in winter

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