Sunday, June 3, 2012

Water over the dam

We are parked overlooking the Nevada Creek Reservoir (map), on a large gravel turnout on Montana Highway 141. This spot was listed in Days End, and while we shared it with a handful of fishermen yesterday afternoon and this morning, we had the place to ourselves overnight, enjoying the full moon reflecting off the reservoir.

This is a fairly remote place, and the dam is not under federal control (it is owned by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation), so we were able to walk right out on the 105'-tall dam. Watching the spring flood run over the ogee-crest spillway was rather dramatic, looking so much like a giant water-park ride. We had approached the reservoir from downstream and had noticed the spillway in operation when we first arrived.

When I posted yesterday, I had not figured to be passing this spot, but as we were fueling up in Lolo, Louise pointed out that diverting via MT-200 to MT-141 east of Missoula would allow us to bypass 65 miles of Interstate 90 that we would otherwise have to endure by staying on US-12. It added only a dozen miles to the trip, but was a much more pleasant and interesting drive. We stopped at a Safeway in Missoula to provision first, since we needed some accompaniments for last night's crock-pot Chicken Cacciatore that was already cooking.

Today we will leave the intermountain area, crossing the eastern ridge of the Rockies and the Continental Divide. We will re-join US-12 in Avon before heading across the pass to Helena, and we will remain on US-12 for the next two days. We are very much enjoying this slow-paced drive through this part of the country, and the route beyond the next couple days is still under consideration.

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