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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lost in Yaak Valley

Adventure #1 - For a number of years I have been reading a writer by the name of Rick Bass. When I first started to read his work and early in his career he had moved to the Yaak Valley in northwestern Montana. At the time there were only about seven people living in the valley, pretty isolated in the northwestern corner of Montana. I decided that I would like to see what the place looked like and put it on my travel map for this year’s trip. We traveled over the north Cascades highway in northern Washington, then across norther Idaho, passing through Sand Point. The road to Yaak follows along the Yaak River. At one point we stopped to see a small falls in the river. Talking with a couple of bikers, they recommended traveling straight on at Yaak, coming out at Eureka and then dropping down to Whitefish. It sounded like a good idea.

There really is no town of Yaak, just a couple of bars across the road from each other. One is The Dirty Shame and a number of motorcycles had stopped for a beer. It was mid-October and they were taking advantage of possibly the last good weekend for a ride. We went straight ahead at Yaak, heading for Eureka. The road ran through pine forests and occasionally we would spot a house or a weekend cabin. I'm told there are probably about a hundred people scattered through the valley now. The days were getting shorter and the sun began to go down. Finally we came to a T in the road and took a left, as the biker had described. In another ten minutes we came to civilization.

Anna decided we needed to find out where we were. Map in hand she crossed the road to talk with three women standing on the porch of a saloon. She told them she thought she might be lost. “Honey, you’re not lost. You’re right here. We found you.” one of the women said. They took the map from Anna’s hand and pointed at a spot where the name was Yaak. Anna turned and looked the other way. Across the road was The Dirty Shame. We had obviously taken a wrong turn somewhere and driven in a circle. We were back to where we had passed through a several hours before.

“Where were you headed,” the woman asked. When Anna said, “Eureka,” the woman said, “Well, you just go straight on from here and you’ll come out at Eureka.” “Oh, no,” Anna said. “How do we get to Libby?” The woman grinned. “Just turn right at the end of the porch.”

And we did. So much for one of our big adventures. Getting lost in the Yaak Valley.

3 Comments:

Blogger Bill Crider said...

Sounds like an interesting place to be lost!

4:48 AM  
Blogger Kent Morgan said...

Rick Bass is a terrific writer. I just dug a copy of his book Winter Notes From Montana out of a box in my back porch. He and his wife spent in that winter living six miles from Yaak, which would be remote. The book is written in diary-fashion and Nov. 21 in Montana that year wasn't much different than Nov. 21 in Winnipeg this year. Rick wrote about two days of solid snow, big flakes, falling feathers and that's what we have had. I've shovelled three times and it's coming down again. I've even been thinking about buying a snow blower.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Richard Moore said...

I began reading Rick Bass shortly after his excellent articles and books on Montana began appearing. Then I dropped back and picked up some of his Texas writings (THE DEER PASTURE) is one. He was born in Ft. Worth. A fine writer and a true environmentalist.

You mentioned Whitefish, Montana and that reminded me of one of my favorite writers Dorothy Johnson who grew up there. I have her book WHEN YOU AND I WERE YOUNG, WHITEFISH. After she moved back to Montana from New York, she became the Executive Secretary (or Director) of the Montana Press Association. Years after her death I met a retired Montana weekly newspaper editor and he smiled and glowed at the memory of his old friend Dot

11:49 AM  

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