Ross Creek Giant Cedars

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Newport / Little Diamond KOA

Flag of United States  , Washington
Monday, August 26, 2013

Once again I decided to heed Tanzy's advice and go see the giant cedar trees in the northwestern part of Montana.  Consequently, after leaving the KOA campground in St. Mary just outside Glacier NP, I headed south on MT 89 and even took the more scenic route, MT 49 (closed in winter), to reach Hwy 2.  Hwy 2 traverses most of the U.S. north from east to west, so I stayed on 2 until 15 miles west of Libby.  I then headed south on MT 56.  On my Montana map a couple of campgrounds were indicated around Bull Lake close to the cedars.  I drove into Bad Medicine Campground at app. 6.45 pm.  Normally I would never arrive this late to a first come-first served campground on a Friday night.  But I'm getting a little cocky, I guess.  I drove around the first loop with 6 sites, all occupied.  On my way out a woman yelled:  'Hey, you're driving my car...!'  The hot red pony still attracts attention.  Fortunately, the other loop (with 10 sites) had one site available.  Two lady rangers look after the campground.  One of them drove up to welcome me.  She noted the Illinois licence plate and said:  'You've come a long way to visit us here...'  When I told her that I had come all the way from Denmark, she said that her grandparents had also come over from Denmark and added that her surname was 'Beegor'.  That's how she pronounced it.  Later I found out that it's spelled 'Byergo'.  The 'go' was easy enough.  That would have been 'gaard' in the original Danish spelling.  But the first part evaded me, until later, when sipping wine, it suddenly occurred to me that the Danish original was 'Bjerre', thus:  'Bjerregaard'.  The next day I took my finding to the two lady rangers (who were actually sisters), who were sitting outside their RV.  The other ranger confirmed that, yes, the Danish original was indeed 'Bjerregaard'.  Their grandparents (must have been great-grandparents) had come over in the 1870s as mormons and gone to Utah.  They either tired of the mormons or of Utah because they finally settled in Missouri.  There is a branch of the family there, and they pronounce the first part of their surname, so it rhymes on 'bye' in 'goodbye'.  Yes, 'Bjerregaard' wouldn't do in this country.
Saturday morning I drove over to see the giant cedars.  It was a most astonishing place.  Tranquil, serene, and you felt humble walking under the trees.  Some are as tall as 175 feet with a diameter of 8 feet.  And some are 500 years or older!  The dead and rotting trees were also impressive.  Looking at a sign I thought that I had discovered a second, more extensive, trail - and decided to go on it.  This was foolhardy.  I determined that there indeed was a trail because no trees were blocking it.  But there wasn't a soul - and no markers.  After walking for an hour and a half I reluctantly concluded that the trial had ended, and I had to go back the same way I came in.  I had seen the warnings that this was bear country, and I made noise as I went along so as not to suddenly surprise a bear.  The opening bars of Beethoven's fifth symphony and Schiller's Ode an die Freude (which Beethoven set to music in his ninth symphony) were thoroughly maltreated but no one was there to hear it!  I was glad when I got back to civilization.  But it had been an amazing three-hour hike in the Ross Creek cedar forest. 
This morning I packed my tent and headed west, crossing the Idaho panhandle, and finally stopping outside Newport, WA, in a very nice and quiet KOA campground.            
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Gina on

What beautiful country! Just keep the bear spray handy! Love the pictures Jens!

P Tanzy Maxfield on

Thank you for sharing your experience of Ross Creek Cedars.

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