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USA Road Trip -Salmon and Williams Lake.

Updated on July 28, 2012
Blue Jay, quite common on trip but always beautiful
Blue Jay, quite common on trip but always beautiful | Source
Luxury for a few days on Williams Lake.
Luxury for a few days on Williams Lake. | Source
Overlooking Williams Lake
Overlooking Williams Lake | Source

Arriving in Salmon we were met by our gracious hostess Patti in town and escorted the 15 miles to Lake Williams. We had been told by Jessie that this was a special place. When you are told that the lake is 15 miles out of town in a State(is it Montana or Idaho- I’ll ask Audrey when she comes in?) where the speed limit is 75 and that it takes about 30 minutes, then you should ask some more questions. The winding last 10 miles makes the Lesotho roads look like a highway and had Audrey clinging onto the door with her eyes closed. The lake is high in the Bitterroot Mountains and a group of family and friends have developed the semi-private resort around it, with some holiday houses of note, even by Lake Tahoe standards. Up to now Audrey and I had only drooled at this kind of place and now we were to spend at least a few nights in one! To make thing better we have the use of a boat (motor/row) tied to the jetty that extends off the huge deck overlooking the water to fish from.

Took out a fishing license for this State for tomorrow and today just caught up on cleaning cameras, doing washing, reading, downloading photos and rowing on this most beautiful Lake Williams high up in the mountain above the town of Salmon. It has no natural outlet and is surrounded by mountains that form its drainage basin. Gets about a foot or so of snow in the winter but on a warm autumn day like today is as close to paradise as you can get on earth. About sixty holiday homes are dotted along its shore or on the hills overlooking the lake, with those on the lake having their own jetty and selection of rowing boats, canoes and motor boats. A trout breaks the surface and a hopeful fisherman casts a fly towards it, but without success.

It was in a houses on this lake is where Zane Grey is reputed to have written Thunder Mountain. The mountain is nearby but the house now only a heap of stones. I can imagine him, being a keen fisherman, also testing his skills with a fly-rod when taking a break from his typewriter.

Salmon, population 2120, is on the Lewis/Clark route and is where the young Indian women Sacajawea, who sometimes interpreted for the expedition, is said to come from. Almost every town has some claim to fame and this is proudly displayed on a notice board or monument at the main entrance to the town, and so as you enter a town you may see: ‘The home of Jenny Godfrey, State Beauty queen 1988’ or ‘The Wolves-area football champs 2003’ or ‘Long Beach-the longest beach in the world’ etc. Not to have some claim to fame seems to a situation to sad to accept. One of our favorites seen on a previous trip was’……… the home of 48 friendly people and one grump!’ Eina!

In 1989 Lauren and Patti spent a couple of days with us in East London on their great adventure driving in a Jeep from the top of Alaska through North and South America and then from Cape Town through Africa and Europe to the Northern coast on Norway, a feat that secured them a place in the Guinness Book of Records. They now look after a beautiful house on Williams Lake for the owner. This is where they put us up for the rest of week 13 on our adventure that fades into utter insignificance when compared with their epic one!

Who cares that we will not make the record books as we soak up the sun, go for hikes, fish and explore the lake, bird, sleep in a real bed and read the accounts of the Lewis and Clarks ’ journey of discovery’ that did much to open up the interior of the USA in the early 1800’s. We stumbled on the Lewis/Clark journey when in the Portland area and seem to be picking up their route as we travel. Reading their story does make our trip more interesting from a historical point of view.

Here in the mountains, far from the maddening crowd, we have not had phone or internet connections but should be able to catch up with everyone as we leave here to travel towards The Grand Tetons National Park and Yellowstone on Monday.


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    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      6 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Quite a ride this week, our first luxury accommodation. It was a nice change!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      A wonderful synopsis of another leg of a great trip. Thanks for taking me along!


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