WEEK 4 RUN-WALK ACROSS AMERICA 2017 STARTS MONDAY
(this is an early posting because we will honor Father's Day tomorrow)
Segment 7: Kooskia ID to Lolo MT
Segment 8: Lolo MT to Missoula MT
Segment 9: Missoula MT to Helena MT
SEGMENT 7: Kooskia ID to Lolo MT
Lolo Pass, on the border between the states of Idaho and Montana, elevation 5,233 feet (1,595 meters), is a mountain pass through the Bitterroot Range of the northern Rocky Mountains, approximately 40 miles (64 km) west-southwest of Missoula, Montana.
It’s the highest point of the historic 200 mile long Lolo Trail a national Historical Landmark that is part of the Nez Perce National Historical Park. The Trail was used by the Lewis and Clark Expeditions of 1805 and 1806 and runs, westbound, between Lolo, MT and the beautiful Weippe Prairie in Idaho (a bit north of Kooskia ID). The Across America route is headed eastbound so we will travel from the prairie to Lolo.
This segment route follows historic US Highway 12, which crosses the pass and winds along the Lochsa River (pronounced “lock-saw”). This river is considered to have one of the worlds’ best and most dangerous stretches of continuous whitewater. It runs within the Clearwater National Forest. Lolo Hot Springs is 7 miles (11 km) east of the pass in Montana.
SEGMENT 8: Lolo MT to Missoula MT
This is a short downhill segment from Lolo Pass into the town of Missoula, Montana, home of the state’s first public university, the University of Montana. The city lies near the convergence of two rivers and five mountain ranges; thus, it is sometimes referred to as the “hub of five valleys”. If you’d like to know what life was like there early in the 20th century, you can read the 1976 book authored by Norman Maclean “A River Runs Through It” (see NOTE below for the Earned Runs connection to Maclean) The 1992 movie version was filmed in Bozeman, Livingston, and parts of Yellowstone, although the book's setting is Missoula.
SEGMENT 9: Missoula MT to Helena MT
Interstate-90 will take us from Missoula back to US 12 and then on to the capital city of Montana. Helena was established in 1864 as a gold camp during the Montana gold rush, although the original name given to it by gold miners was “Last Chance.” Today the city and surrounding area draws outdoor sports enthusiasts who enjoy mountain biking, fishing, hunting, and skiing.
Drivers may be interested in knowing that within Montana, according to a Wikipedia item, “in the period between 1995 and 1999, there was no numbered speed limit on I-90 “. Drivers were instructed to drive what was a “reasonable and prudent” speed!
Because I-90 is a transcontinental roadway that connects, from west to east, Seattle WA and Boston MA, farther east it passes through several large cities: Chicago IL, Cleveland OH, and Buffalo NY. Montana boasts the longest stretch of this major highway, about 551 miles (887 km). Next week we will resume travel on I-90 from Bozeman to Columbus MT.
NOTE: ONE OF THE REASONS THIS BICYCLE TOUR ROUTE was chosen to be adapted for a virtual path across the continent for runners and walkers (cyclists too), was that some of the segments passed though the state of Montana.
I love the movie, “A River Runs Through It”, which is based on the story written by author Norman F. Maclean. Panoramic vistas in the movie had been filmed in Montana and, to me, these kinds of sweeping scenes represented what I hoped to encounter on a huge cross-country trip, even if virtual, and would justify the effort expended to complete a summer long challenge. Way back in 1992, I bought the DVD (that’s what we did in the old days) and read the author’s other book “Young Men and Fire”.
A chance encounter about 20 years ago forged another connection between me and this region of the US. I happened to be seated next to a famous researcher at a pediatric pathology conference, who was leader of the team that first identified the existence atherosclerosis in the aortas of young adolescents. Prior to this research, it was felt that the disease had its origins at a much older age. However, autopsies on young people, who had died in tragic accidents with no clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease, revealed its silent origins much earlier in life than was thought possible. The results helped start the discussion about prevention in childhood.
The elegant elderly gentleman pathologist who headed the research was from the University of Chicago. He related details of the study to me at dinner, and from this conversation I was inspired to study the pediatric origins of adult disease in my own little area of research.
We also talked about other famous scholars who came out of U of Chicago, It happened that this researcher’s office mate at one time was NORMAN MACLEAN!!! (the ‘Norman’ character in the movie went off to join the faculty U of C: It was an autobiographical novella). I will always remember that conversation; the famous modest pathologist telling me all about his more famous humble friend, who loved to fly fish.
And that’s the Earned Runs connection to Montana that made this particular tour appealing as a virtual journey for runners and walkers. This week we venture into that state!
Wissler RW. USA multicenter study of the pathobiology of atherosclerosis in youth. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1991; 623:26–39 (PDF download if you are interested)
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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