River Wild

[Libby Montana, Aug.19, 1993]

We stopped at a viewpoint above the Kootenai River. It was a wild place with great views of the rushing waters of the river. There seemed to be something going on. Several cars were parked there and people were staring down.

Suddenly a helicopter rose from the river lifting a raft. It seemed to be moving it farther down river. We asked what was happening and were told it was a movie set. They had been filming the movie, "River Wild" starring Merril Streep. Filming was to resume the next day when everything was made ready for the actors to return.

We walked down close to the river and could see where it would be ideal for scenes of canoes fighting the rapids. There was one guard on duty near the river watching over canoes and other equipment.

In walking back up the path we saw an elderly man sitting beside the trail who had an unusual, home made walking stick. Since cane making was a hobby of mine, we stopped to admire it. The stick was made from wood he called diamond willow. It was of the willow family that had diamond shaped grooves in the wood under the bark.

We compared notes about the different kinds of wood that grew in the west and in the east and then we saw he had a pile of small books beside him. His name was Don McGrady of Libby, Montana. He had published a book [Adams Press, Chicago, 1991] and was selling them to tourists and passersby. It was a small book about 8 by 10 inches and contained about thirty of his stories and poems and pictures of people and events he had lived with all his life in the north western United States. After visiting for quite a while we bought a book and went on our way toward Spokane.

Another interesting stop!

Charles E. Page 2004