Saturday, August 31, 2013

A day in Libby, Montana

Late this afternoon the camp host drove his ATV to the rig next to us and told a guy to “get the hell out of here.”  At first I thought there was an emergency and the campground was being evacuated.  Then I realized if that's the case, we're being left out of the evacuation plan.

Jim and I pieced together what each of us heard. It appears that the camper next door was being returned to his rig by a fishing tour guide, and that said fishing tour guide drove his truck at a faster-than-allowed-in-the campground speed.

We will continue to drive very slowly during the short time we have left in Libby, Montana.

As far as what we did today:  This morning I took our Honda to a nearby Les Schwab.  For the last several weeks we've been adding air to the front passenger side tire every couple of days, which did not seem like a good long-term strategy. The Les Schwab guys found a screw in the tire and fixed it for free in about 20 minutes. If you ever have tires issues, we highly recommend Les Schwab.  They've been great for us.

After we got the tire fixed, we drove to Kootenai Falls, 8 miles west of Libby.  The falls is a series of what looks like rock shelves; water from the Kootenai River cascades down the shelves in a big swirling mass.   Powerful.  Beautiful.  We also walked across the nearby suspended or "swinging" bridge that crosses the Kootenai River. Scary. Bouncy.
Later today we got groceries and explored Libby.  We also watched a few minutes of my OSU's game against Buffalo and Jim listened to his OSU play Eastern Washington State.  Then I took a four-mile walk, because as much as I like kayaking I don't thinks it's working enough major muscle groups.

A note about LIbby, Montana:  It was once the site of a huge vermiculite mine found to be tainted with asbestos. Four hundred people who lived or worked in LIbby died from asbestos-related disease and 1750 others were sickened. An EPA website says in its FAQs  “Although there is much less asbestos in Libby than there was 10 years ago, there are still potential health risks because it will never be possible to remove all the asbestos from the Libby area...” and that the EPA will continue active clean up. 

Bev makes a friend at a picnic area near Kootenai Falls.
A guy and his St. Bernard look at one side of the Kootenai Falls.   According to, the Kootenai Indians view the falls as the center of the world. 
Jim takes a photo of the falls.  He's standing just left of the guy/St. Bernard in the photo above.  About 25 miles north east of the falls is the Libby Dam.  When the Kootenai River was dammed, a large lake was created that crosses into Canada. The lake was named via a contest and the word "Koocanusa" selected.  That name was created with the first three letters of the word "Kootenai," the first three letters of the word "Canada," and the initials "USA."
If you click on the photo you can get a better view of Bev walking on the swinging suspension bridge. A big sign said "No more than five people allowed on the bridge at one time."
A local artist and teacher created 40 eagle sculptures that were purchased by local businesses and placed around Libby.  This one is called “Gateway Eagle.” 


  1. Your observations re Libby brought back fond memories [and a little sad as relates to the asbestos]. We went through one year around the 4th of July - traffic through town was rerouted and we were 'forced' to watch the local parade. Small town activities are always cool. Driving along the Kootenai, we observed an eagle flying down the middle of the river, obviously in hunting mode.

  2. Hi Judy. Saw several big trucks with fifth wheels in Libby and thought of you. Their trucks were not as pretty as your shiny white one, though!