After a week in the Lewiston-Clarkston area, we planned to camp for the weekend in the Lolo National Forest. A cold hit Fin, however, so we decided to play it safe and do the long drive to Missoula. The drive over the Northern side of the Nez Perce reservation and into Lolo was scenic, relaxing, and stunning. Traveling along the same river that Lewis and Clark followed really put the ease of modern travel into perspective.
Following the river up into the mountains, we passed through period heavy rainfall and glorious outlooks. The Lolo forest houses several excellent whitewater launching points and we stopped for lunch at one of the pick-up spots.
Once we reached the summit, we gathered our bearings at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center to prep for the final push into Missoula. The Lolo Hot Springs sit a couple miles East and were Fin in better condition we would have stopped. As it stood, however, the weather was great and we saw some stunning hummingbirds.
And then we entered Montana!
We pulled into Missoula late Friday afternoon with a sick kid and an AirBnb reservation starting Sunday. Biting the bullet, we stayed at a Motel 6, where we were one of the few people not staying for the weekend’s Jehovah’s Witness Convention. Settling for the night, we searched for things to do on Saturday, finding the farmer’s market in the morning and Montana’s largest flea market in the afternoon. We were set.
Missoula Farmer’s Market
As summer just started, the farmer’s market was not as big as it could have been, but the food was good and the day sunny. Apparently, Missoula houses a lot of Eastern Europeans, as over half of the baked good stalls sold Eastern European style goodies. We also found local honey, fresh beef, plenty of morel mushrooms, and so much more. The farmer’s market sits next to the train tracks, so Fin loved watching the trains come and go.
Fed and happy, we strolled around downtown Missoula before heading home to give Fin his nap before the afternoon excursion.
St. Regis Flea Market
Memorial Day weekend the tiny town of St. Regis, MT hosts what they claim is Montana’s largest flea market. As fans of flea markets, we loaded Fin up and drove the hour NW to check it out. We’ll usually stop by markets as we pass them and typically don’t go too far out of the way, a policy that would have served us well here.
The flea market offered up lots of interesting things, but mostly not enough to justify making a trip. If you’ve ever been to a country flea market, this one is typical. Lots of yard art, gun accessories, the medieval weapons booth, tons of knick-knacks, and cheap grilled burgers, the contents of which you’re probably better off not considering.
Slightly disappointed, we headed home to Missoula. Later we found other things an hour drive from Missoula that would have been much better worth our while, but, hey, live and learn, right?