Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: SW Washington, USA
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Originally Posted by tomn
...We are looking at the trip this September from Astoria to Montana +.
The "September" thing caught my eye.
My wife and I rode the L&C trail -- before it was an ACA trail -- in 2001, from Portland as far as Yellowstone. (Well, the last part was off their trail, since Lewis and Clark missed Yellowstone by a day's ride...)
It snowed on us the last week of July, in the Big Hole area of Montana. If you're planning to start in Astoria in September, be ready for some possible very averse weather. Not guaranteed, but then Lewis and Clark also almost froze to death the summer they came down Lolo Pass. Prepare yourself for winter conditions in the Rockies, unless you plan that stretch for the week of July 4th.
If you're prepared, it will be a spectacular trip. The natural beauty, the native history, the slow march through geology along ancient human tracks -- it's one helluva trip. For me, the end of a tour is usually steeped in a sense of achievement; on this trip, all I felt was a sense of history.
I haven't been east of Montana on this trail. We didn't ride Lemhi Pass (but did ride through the Salmon River area on the way back). If you're considering riding over Lemhi Pass, be doubly prepared at that time of year. Also, about winds in the Columbia Gorge: generally they're strong east winds in the winter, and strong west winds in the summer. But any one day could catch you in reverse. And, all considered, September is a 50-50 call.