Season of the Beargrass

Season of the Beargrass
Oil on Linen
26” x 40”

This scene is set along the Lolo Trail in Idaho circa 1840.  An ancient Nes Perce Indian route, the trail traverses the Bitterroot Mountains along the ridgetops and parallels the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers in the canyon below.

Every five to seven years the Beargrass plant produces these showy white blossoms.  The dried leaves of the plant were highly prized by indigenous tribes and used to weave baskets.

This remarkable locale offers a diverse range of plant life.  The fallen tree and stump shown is an ancient Cedar which succumbed to fire decades ago.  On the right are sub-alpine fir trees which grow with such uniformity they appear surreal.  In this region you’ll find Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, Grand Fir Lodgepole pine, Pacific Yew, Englemann Spruce and Larch.

So rough and treacherous was the Lochsa/Clearwater canyon that it wasn’t until 1962 that a road was finally established.  Named the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway it extends 174 miles from the top of Lolo Pass to Lewiston, Idaho.

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