The weather and an Interlocal update
As usual, our normal winter has a few abnormalities which is, after all, normal. Latest reports from the weather service tell us that the Flathead has 102% of normal snowpack which bodes well for streamflows in the spring and summer.
At the same time snow in Columbia Falls and Polebridge is much less than average. This is good for old guys like me and friend and neighbor Lynn Ogle. We are now at an age where heavy snowfall is not fun, it just means work to keep roads open and the trail to the woodshed passable. In our younger days we spent more hours snowshoeing and snowmobiling so winter was fun. No more. Now we look for bigger snowblowers or young people to do the snow removal and we spend more time in the house. My wildlife photography features more shots from the car these days than from snowshoes.
In my opinion, Flathead County does an exceptional job of winter maintenance on the North Fork Road. They usually plow fresh snow within 24 hours and in between snow storms they move the berms back, which reduces water on the road during periods of thawing.
Even so, there can be periods when the road is difficult. In the winter, when temperatures get up to 40 degrees, I stay off of the road. A film of water on ice makes the road treacherous, even with chains on all four tires. Biggest risk in the winter is the same as in the summer— other drivers. I admit, when I was younger I drove faster, probably too fast. Today with diminishing hearing, eyesight and reaction time I drive a lot slower. So should some of my neighbors. Speed not only kills, but can result in your sliding off the road. My son, David, pulled two cars out of the ditch just last week, when experienced drivers considered the road good to excellent. More guardrails may keep you on the road but they also result in more damage to your vehicle. Bodywork on any car is really expensive today.
I think by now that almost everyone is aware that NFLA president Bill Walker is undergoing chemo and radiation at Kalispell Regional Hospital. He spends four days in town near the hospital and three days at home on the North Fork. So far everything is good—his attitude and treatments. He likes company but I think it is wise to consult Lois before you visit. He is in our thoughts and prayers as is Dennis Groebe who is very ill with cancer.
It looks like the mini Interlocal will be held in late February or early March, somewhat later than the usual mid-February meeting. I will pass on updates as I receive them. Locals with concerns should contact me at 892-5951 or Box 3, Columbia Falls or Lois Walker at Polebridge.
Larry Wilson's North Fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.