I'm writing a novel titled No Law South of Wallace and had wanted to experience the famous tote road that ran south out of Wallace, Idaho, across Moon Pass and into the St. Joe Valley to Avery, an area where much of my story takes place in the logging camps during World War I. The Indian summer has been perfect and off we went. We arrived in Wallace, once a great mining town and still a fine town, and then headed south on Forest Road 456. In earlier days pack mules carried supplies over the mountains. It had been especially crucial during the great forest fire of 1910 until Wallace itself partially burned. Along the road through a valley we saw remnants of what we thought had been great cedars that died during that conflagration, their hulks still standing. They're called the Silent Sentinels and the valley is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The tamaracks and foliage were glorious.
There were sparkling streams, low at this time of year.
Over the mountains and down the other side, the Forest Service road enters the old Milwaukee Road railroad bed, now a part of the Hiawatha Rail-Trail for hikers, and cyclists (and autos). The Chicago, Milwaukee and Puget Sound Railroad was laid over The Bitterroots out of Montana, through the St. Joe Valley, and on to Puget Sound, completed in 1909. Below is the Kyle Tunnel, one of the few totally rock-faced tunnel portals on the Milwaukee.
And so we came out at Avery and then followed the highway down the Shadowy St. Joe River, the highest navigable river in the U.S., to St. Maries and then home again.