Friday, May 14, 2021

North Fork travel

| February 17, 2021 7:00 AM

For sure we are experiencing a “normal” winter. A pretty good snow storm followed by a frigid cold snap. The TV was full of bad road stories and major accidents on the freeways around the country. As a result I was curious about road conditions on the North Fork.

In the last week or so, after the snowstorm, I made two trips from Columbia Falls to Trail Creek and then back to town.

For my first trip it was very cold. Zero in Columbia Falls and according to my vehicle’s thermometer it was 18 below at Polebridge. The road? It was great. Flathead County had cleared the road of loose snow and left a snow-packed, full-width roadway clear to the border.

I delivered a care package to a neighbor on Trail Creek Road, which had also been plowed by a resident, and made the entire trip in two-wheel drive.

Same thing with my second trip yesterday (Sunday) although it was warmer. Plus five degrees when I left Columbia Falls and plus one at Polebridge. Again, both directions in two-wheel drive.

When it is cold, traction is good. Only danger is hitting the brakes hard and sliding, or hitting the accelerator too hard and spinning out of control. Nice and steady, stay on the right side of the road and enjoy the sunny drive.

Did not see much game. In fact only one lone cow elk on Trail Creek Road on my first trip. There were elk tracks near Irv and Chris Heitzs’ driveway but very few tracks elsewhere on that cold first trip.

No game at all on the second trip but lots of tracks everywhere.

Mild surprise was the amount of vehicle traffic. Over two dozen vehicles headed north as I headed for town both times. Several pulling snowmobile trailers.

Snowpack on the Flathead is above 90% of normal so I think we will have good streamflow next spring and summer.

I am a lot more concerned about feral pigs than I am about drought or flood next summer. I have seen what they can do in Texas and it is scary. They can get as big as grizzly bears, run in packs and have more than one litter per year of six to twelve. I hope that Fish, Wildlife and Parks is on top of this new threat which has already impacted nearby Canadian Provinces.

What do you think?

Larry Wilson's North Fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.