Hot Springs on the 12

A couple weeks ago, we headed west to visit some friends in western Oregon. This impromptu trip had us packing at the last minute, stuffing the Subaru full of camping gear, and confusing poor Neko with our frantic behaviors. We chose to drive the I-90 to Missoula and then hoped to camp the first night near Lolo Springs on US 12. Unfortunately by the time we hit Missoula, the skies had opened and camping was a decidedly poor idea. So we found a little Mom and Pop motel, ate some bad thai/chinese, and took Neko on walks through Missoula’s deserted downtown.

Then next morning we resumed our trip on US 12. What an AMAZING highway. The rain had made an area that is probably normally beautifully green even more beautiful. We stopped about 50 miles outside of Missoula to stretch our legs and decided to go for a hike at the Jerry Johnson Day Use area.  Rumor said there was a hot spring in the area, about 2 miles up the trail. Who can pass up a hot spring?

The hike was gorgeous. Neko chased sticks and couldn’t believe her luck of being let off leash for a couple hours of running around. Ferns, mushrooms, lichens, and mosses were everywhere; crayola never had greens like these:

Much of the trail followed the river winding up and down through the forest. We found the small hot springs spilling into the main river channel where I took off my shoes and waded in for a couple minutes before heading back to the Subaru and onwards to Oregon.