Idaho, Bad News, & Big Bucks

by kfrego

From Yellowstone Park we traveled west to Missoula, MT. A very interesting stop was made at Three Forks, MT where the Jefferson, Gallatin, and Madison Rivers form the confluence of the Missouri River. The Missouri is the longest River in the United States flowing from Three Forks to St. Louis, MO. It was explored and followed by the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804 through 1806 as they were seeking a viable transportation route to the Pacific Coast.

From Missoula our route took us through Lolo, MT To Lewiston, ID. The trip is a little over two hundred miles with some spectacular wilderness scenery. It’s downhill all the way, but not the very steep descents encountered on other routes. The highway crosses Lolo Pass and the Continental Divide at the Montana/Idaho border. The Continental Divide is the point where water flowing to the east (Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico) is separated from water flows going west (Pacific Ocean or Sea of Cortez). The highway followed the Lochsa, Selway, and Clearwater Rivers on it’s way through Kamiah, Orofino, and terminates at Lewiston where the the Clearwater and Snake Rivers converge.

Uncle Bob and Aunt Ida had just returned to the Lewiston area from a project in Michigan. Their sons Tommy and David along with daughter Nancy lived in the area. They had never met my wife Linda or our children. It was a nice reunion. Just after we arrived Linda’s younger sister Patti Ann was badly injured in a car accident in our hometown of Lyon Mt. New York. It was a very trying time for Linda. She was all the way across the country with two small children, staying with relatives she just met, Linda’s family didn’t feel it was necessary for us to return home as Patti Ann’s injuries were defined and treated, but it was day by day for a couple of weeks as Patti Ann improved in the hospital. Aunt Ida was a lot of comfort to Linda.

While looking for work I joined Uncle Bob, Rich Wyman, and Rich’s son on a deer and elk hunt near the hamlet of Headquarters, Idaho about thirty five miles east of Orofino. We camped in Rich’s pick-up camper and used Uncle Bob’s jeep wagoneer for daily transportation. We saw plenty of elk from a distance, but never got into them up close. Rich’s son shot his first deer the second day. While Bob and Rich schooled the 12 year old on dressing his deer, I stood out of the way holding Rich’s rifle. Looking up the ridge my eyes spotted a big mule deer buck looking down on us. I pulled Rich upright by the tail of his wool shirt and slowly motioned towards the buck while handing him his rifle. He dropped the buck in one shot. Two deer in ten minutes by a father and a son. The buck was big, it scored 188 when rated by the Boone and Crockett Club.

Rich couldn’t believe the size of his deer…….and Uncle Bob couldn’t believe I had handed him his rifle to shoot it.