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In Montana, we stayed with friends in the Bitterroot Valley. They welcomed us with good food and hot showers! Sky and I got to do one day of agility (where she earned her first NADAC title) and the next day Mary took us on a big field trip! Our first stop was the Big Hole Battlefield National Historic Park.

Big Hole is the site of the biggest battle between the Nez Perce Indians and the US government. It is a sad and beautiful place. The Indians, native to the areas of SE Washington and Idaho, had camped there to regroup in a camas meadow along the stream before traveling to Canada where they hoped to escape. An attack in the wee hours of the morning left many dead. After burying their family members, the people continued to try to get to Canada but they were caught at Bear Paw and forced to reservations in Oklahoma. Later their Chief, Joseph, and some of his followers were sent to the Colville reservation in north central Washington where he died and was buried in Nespelem.

Kim and I hiked up to the top of Tiffany Mountain and then around it, crossing Whistler and Honeymoon Pass and then around Tiffany Lake before leaving the trail at Tiffany Springs Campground where we had left my car in the morning. Ken had generously shuttled us from there to the Freezeout Pass trailhead before going fly fishing. The temperature was comfortably cool most of the day; clouds built up with the threat of thunder storms. Luckily the storms did not materialize.

Most of this area was burned in the 2006 Tripod wildfire. Many people would look at this now and see nothing but dead trees. However the grasses and forbs and shrubs are thriving. Wildflowers are abundant and vibrant this month. In wetter areas we found young aspens and willows – perfect habitat for moose and other animals.

 

 

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