Idaho Line to Spokane
- Distance: 47 miles
- Routes: SR 2
- Estimated Driving time: 1.5 hours
Fur traders and trappers, who early in the nineteenth century began to trickle into this region, could find an abundance of beaver and muskrat along the lakes and streams and plenty of deer and bear in the woods. The few thousand Indians who hunted, fished, gathered roots and berries, and grazed their ponies on the bunch grass prairies had not disturbed the balance of nature. But these first nomadic white men were the vanguard of the army of settlers to follow. Before the century had closed, fur traders and trappers had become history, the Indians, much diminished in numbers, had accepted the confining life of the reservation, and the lumberman, the railroad builder, and the farmer were well on their way toward transforming the countryside. Today, most of the virgin timber has been cut, and the settlements which sprang up and flourished briefly around sawmills and logging camps are little more than crossroads villages, except where the cutover land has been cleared and successfully converted to agriculture.
Even the most casual visitor will be able to catch some hint of the geological story of this region. Along the greater part of the route, the land is marked by outcroppings of granite rock, formed under pressure, and then forced upward by successive convulsions of the earth. Occasional lava cliffs and patches of scab rock appear toward the end of the route. One of the latest chapters was written by the glaciers, which about 20,000 to 30,000 years ago retreated, after grinding their way southward, scouring out valleys, piling up hills, and leaving behind new lakes, dammed-up streams, and other evidences of glacial action.
US 2 crosses the Idaho Line, and the Pend Oreille River, or Clark Fork, five miles west of Priest River, Idaho. Not until 1906 was a bridge constructed across the river at this point. The new Interstate Bridge was built in 1926.