Friday, May 20, 2022

Griz takes a rest on the pavement

by By Larry Wilson
| May 4, 2022 6:00 AM

It is still weeks away from summer on the North Fork, but we are experiencing a full dose of spring. I can now drive into my cabin after leaving the driveway unplowed since November. My meadow is now two-thirds bare ground with only the south third snow covered where it is shaded. As a result, the gophers are cavorting and deer and elk roam to clip the first green shoots of grass. I even got a brief glimpse of a grizzly as I drove north, but others reported a good sized griz lying on the pavement south of Polebridge. Observers think it was Oatie and he was enjoying the warmth from the black pavement. So much for that old wives’ tale that bears won’t walk on or cross pavement.

The river remains clear to light green but will no doubt become muddy in the coming weeks as high country snow pack will melt faster than the valley floor, bring the river up and flowing fast.

The road south of Polebridge is pretty good—dusty in spots—as a county grader has been working. North of Polebridge the potholes are plentiful, getting deeper and in many places 20 mph will still rattle your vehicle. Slow driving is not all bad—you have time to enjoy the scenery and watch for wildlife. Very few deer are hit by cars going 20 mph or less and if they do both deer and car have a good chance of surviving.

After writing the above part of the column I went to a neighbor’s to celebrate another neighbor’s 77th birthday. Terrific company, great meal and just a general great evening except for one piece of really sad news. We were told that Jon Elliot had passed away.

Jon has had health issues for several years and we knew they were life threatening. In public Jon and his wife Pat seemed much as always. Quiet, great smiles and a positive attitude. They have been North Forkers for many years and have always been an important part of the community. They also had a full and exciting life.

Jon was an Olympic ski jumper, designed cross-country ski courses, owned a wood stove business in Kalispell and was an avid golfer. He died in Mexico while vacationing and had spent recent winters in warmer climes than the North Fork. I don’t actually know they were vacationing, I am making that assumption because despite health issues and medication they continued to live life to its fullest. Jon is now at peace and my prayers are for Pat and their family. He will be missed.