Thoughts on Inside Road

Print Article

Until this summer, I could not imagine missing an entire summer on the North Fork. Then it happened. I missed my first Interlocal, even though when I heard about it, there were no surprises.

The Forest Service spent $300,000 to kick the river problems down the road so they can deal with them later when we face a real crisis. The Park finally discovered what many of us have known for years Ė the Inside Road could be made passable at minimum cost.

Apparently, just making it passable will still leave it closed. The Park will only allow bicycles to use it. I am not completely opposed to this and even support it for most of the summer. I do feel that it should be open to vehicles at least one month per year. If it is unsafe for two-way traffic, then open it only one way. My choice would be one-way from north to south. I have never wanted to the Inside Road to be a highway. I want it to be what it has always been, a rough, narrow, bumpy experience so that people can better understand our history and the fact that the early homesteaders really had to struggle to love on the North Fork before good roads, fancy 4X4s, generators and even propane lights. I donít know of anyone today that uses kerosene lights for their primary illumination. Many people (maybe even most) do not even know what a Coleman Lantern is, let alone have ever used one.

Even wood-burning cook stoves are disappearing. Most of us who have one use it in the winter and have a propane stove for summer.

We can hardly remember the stories of winter on the North Fork when roofs leaked, snow blew in the cracks and floors were icy from the snow melting, dripping to the floor and refreezing. Even stoves were less efficient and needed to be fed every hour or so to keep the cabin from freezing.

The first homesteads were very crude. The original homestead on my property is 12 feet-by-15 feet and housed a couple and their two children. Bart Monahanís was even smaller and was heated only with a very small wood cook stove that had to be stoked every hour or so or it would go out.

No wonder that second generation homesteads featured two story log homes. It must have been like heaven. But think how hard it must have been to build.

There were no power tools and not everyone even had horses to pull logs to the building site. Tools were several kinds of axes, hand-powered saws and an assortment of even smaller hand tools.

Unlike today, a trip to town was often a multi-day trip each way, all by horse in the early days, although there are a few storied about dog teams for winter travel. Today, many folks have to go to town every week and most activities are recreational, not a matter of survival. Today, we get to live here just to enjoy the natural beauty.

Larry Wilsonís North Fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

Print Article

Read More Columns

North Fork isnít a free-for-all

November 13, 2019 at 7:34 am | Lake County Leader I am always surprised at how little some newcomers know about the North Fork when they buy their dream retirement or recreational retreat. You would think they might ask before they buy and maybe eve...

Comments

Read More

Conformity complex cure

November 13, 2019 at 7:30 am | Lake County Leader A classic George Ostrom column, from October, 1989... When I was in high school, there were fads. There always have been and always will be. Difference from the early 1940s and now is that our fads ...

Comments

Read More

In a land of cows, stomaching a meatless burger

November 06, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Hungry Horse News About three months ago, Burger King started selling the Impossible Whopper, a meatless Whopper that contains soy, potato and yeast, among other things, according to the Burger King website. The Hung...

Comments

Read More

About shorts and sheep

November 06, 2019 at 7:13 am | Lake County Leader A classic George Ostrom column, from December, 2004... Several things had gone wrong during Wednesday the 22nd. Bad start was getting my shorts on backwards, hit my head on a cupboard door, . . . st...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2019 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X