After a short stay in Glacier National Park, we're back in Sanders County (with towns and communities called Noxon, Heron and Thompson Falls) where Isaiah spent his teen years. The scenery in these parts is not much different from Glacier. In fact, I think it's even more beautiful here. The mountains, the forest, melting-snow in the form of waterfalls -- it's all here only it's more untamed with many a road less taken.
We take a hike, following the Rock Creek trail toward Rock Creek Meadows. We must, however, traverse rushing waters to continue on the trail.
"I guess the trail's been washed out. We'll have to find a way across," our friends declare.
Indeed. This involves me taking baby steps across a felled tree, praying I don't slip. Then, a brief encounter with a grizzly bear* reminds me that this is not my home, it's his. I don't really belong here, or do I?
Our days are filled with a craft market where Isaiah's dad sells homemade bread, lots of visiting and eating home-grown veggies, eggs from the chicken coup, and locally "sourced" elk meat. It's also a couple of weeks before the 4th of July and the neighborhood kids (read male adults) are wondering when the pop-up firework stands will start selling their wares. When they finally arrive, it's a trip down memory lane for Isaiah.
The locals wonder what we're doing here. We're visiting family and friends, we tell them. And for Isaiah, it feels like he's come home.
|Bull River Bay|
|Rock Creek Trail|
*Encountering a grizzly is not to be taken lightly. Our friend and guide was armed, and that's the way to go when you head out into bear country.