In Travel

In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark: Powell Campground and U.S. Hwy. 12

When we left Idaho’s Powell Campground (around the same place Lewis and Clark camped when they passed through the area on their expedition) we took U.S. 12, which is a 172-mile descent down a winding mountain road past the densest forests I’ve ever seen. We took the road from the Lolo Pass (highest elevation on the trail) near the Montana state line all the way down to Clarkston, Wash.

RV and truck parked at Powell Campground in Idaho

Our campsite at Powell Campground in Idaho

The highway is also known as the Lewis and Clark Trail because it parallels the route the expedition took through the area in 1805 and then in 1806 on the return trip. It took Lewis and Clark nine days to journey through this heavily-forested and treacherous terrain, and they almost starved to death. It took us five hours, and we stopped and ate lasagna in the RV. My, how things have changed.

Lewis and Clark Trail U.S. 12 Idaho

River by the Lewis and Clark Trail U.S. 12 Idaho

Traveling on the Lewis and Clark Trail

When we started on hwy. 12 somewhere in Idaho, we saw a yellow sign warning: “Winding Roads Next 99 Miles,” followed by a steep decline down the side of the mountain, with views of deep valleys completely engrossed by thick, green forest. The descent took about 3 hours and followed along a river to our left.

Whitehouse Pond, Idaho. Where Lewis and Clark passed through

Butterfly in Idaho along the Lewis and Clark Trail

True to its reputation, Washington had cloudy skies when we arrived. Later in the day, a storm came through, creating a terrifyingly beautiful formation of dark clouds over the river. I sat on the floating dock, letting the wind whip my hair and clothing as I eagerly snapped photos of the storm. I should’ve been a storm chaser.

storm clouds over Clarkston, Washington

When it rained, it was the first time I’d seen rain in one month. That’s probably a record for me, since in Florida, rainstorms are almost a daily occurrence.

Seagulls being swept up in 40 mph gusts of wind before a thunderstorm

We also did a bit of exploring in Clarkston. We scouted out some good spots for fishing, then we went to an Italian restaurant called Fazarri’s Finest, where I ordered a 13-inch pizza and attempted to eat the entire thing on my own. I ate almost three slices.

Sampler pizza at Fazzari's Finest

Sampler pizza at Fazzari’s Finest in Clarkston, Wash.

Remnants of Lewis and Clark’s famous expedition remain everywhere in this area. Even Clarkston and its neighboring city Lewiston were named after the historic duo.

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