17 October 2014

Going For A Walk: Fourth Of July Pass {North Idaho}

If you travel along the I-90 through North Idaho, you'll go through the Fourth of July Pass across the Rocky Mountains. Normally, people just head up the pass and back down the pass, while their ears pop at an elevation of 3,081 feet. But, it is worth a stop at the top to go for a walk in the National Forest Service recreation area. While you're there, you can check out the memorial to Captain Mullan who built the first wagon road across the Rocky Mountains to the inland Pacific Northwest. He stopped to celebrate the 4th of July in 1861 at this particular pass, hence the name. 

Nowadays, you don't need a wagon to get across the pass and explore the area. Just drive your car to the handy parking lot and set off on the trail head. As usual, we were unprepared for our walk. Well, in terms of having a trail map that is. Of course, I had snacks and water with me. I may not know where I am, but I'll always have something to eat. Usually, in the form of chocolate chip cookies. We wandered along the trail for a while and then we came across this sign which told us, "You are here." It was a little vague. 

We continued along the trail until it came to a fork. Which way should we go - right, left or back to the parking lot? The decision making process was overwhelming until we saw this sign for the Loose Moose trail. With a name like Loose Moose, how could you not decide to take that fork in the trail?

We wandered some more along the Loose Moose and found this trail map. Much better. During the winter months, the area is a used by cross-country skiers and snowshoers, so the map tells you which trails are for skis and which ones are for snowshoes. (Is "snowshoer" a word? Spell check says "no", but what else do you call them?) If you're into that kind of thing, you can check out the Panhandle Nordic Club's website for more info. During the rest of the year, the trails are used by hikers, bikers and horses. If you're hiking, keep an eye out for horse poop.

The club has a cute little warming hut along the Having Fun trail. That's the problem with skiing. You get cold and you constantly need to warm up. But of course, it is a perfect excuse to have some hot chocolate. Chocolate...yum. Maybe, we'll come back one day and try skiing on the trails. 

Walk on 29 September 2014

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