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Old 02-17-2014, 04:55 PM
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We currently live in Minnesota. We raise angora goats and have horses. We plan on moving west for several reasons. 1) We love the Rocky Mtns. 2) We need more land to graze our goats. Land is over $5,000 per acre in southern MN. 3) We have had it with the Minnesota climate. Winters are zero degrees and below for months on end, plus the crazy amount of snow that doesn't melt until spring. Summers are well over 90 degrees with high humidity. It rains just about every other day. 4) And, most importantly, we love to ride our horses.

My husband works out of his home office, so we can live anywhere in the country. We spent last summer looking at land and did a big loop through Montana and Idaho. One area I wish we would have driven through is the Hwy 200 towns of Trout Creek and Noxon. I am wondering if any locals can tell me what the weather is really like, do you get a snow pack, or does it snow/melt before it snows again? How about hay? Any idea how much it is for 1 ton? Can you live off grid with solar? Do you get a lot of wind? How are the wells in the area? Any other information on living outside the city limits would be great!
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:47 PM
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We have retirement property on the Idaho-Montana border on Highway 200, about 10 miles from Noxon. So far I can only weigh in on what summers are like, from personal experience, so I'm not exactly a "local" (yet!) but we do have some members here who live in Heron, so perhaps we'll hear from them.

Snow: I know our neighbors in Clark Fork just went through a week of single digit temps, but it usually doesn't last too long, and right now it's back to more normal temperatures around 25-30. There's definitely snow! An effect of being east of Lake Pend Oreille. Last year I think the snow was on the ground from January well into March. But some winters have more mud than snow. The Cabinet Mountains have a snowpack from November until well into June.
Hay: I can't answer your questions about hay, but just about everybody has horses!
Solar: Summers are sunny and generally dry, and the days are long--the sun doesn't set until around 9:30 pm close to the summer solstice, so aside from a few rainy days now and then, solar will work fine in the summer. Winter days are short, however, and the sun sets around 4 pm. And there are more overcast winter days on the West side of the Continental Divide than on the East side, so some people feel sun-deprived.
Wind: There really isn't much wind compared to some parts of the NW.
Wells: The wells are quite unpredictable, judging from our own area. The entire stretch from Heron to Trout Creek is of course along the Clark Fork River. I don't know about wells in the river valley, but just a few hundred feet from the river you're on bedrock, and it can take anywhere from 80 to 300 ft to get to water. Some wells are gushing, others are trickling. But the quality of the water is good.

What didn't you ask? Is it beautiful? Yes, the area is IMO the most beautiful area in the entire Northwest... Too bad you didn't get to drive through. The steep slopes of the Cabinets plunging into the mighty Clark Fork River, and wide sparkling expanses of water, with the Cabinets on one side and the Bitterroots on the other--it's just gorgeous. If you have Google Earth, you can "travel" in street view along Highway 200 and see for yourself. Do include Heron in your search.

One problem is the lack of medical services. A local clinic in Heron closed a few years ago, and our friends in Heron travel to Sandpoint for their medical needs. In terms of services, it feels somewhat remote, but it is no further away from Sandpoint, ID, than you'll get used to doing a trip or two a week (about 40 miles from Noxon, 50 miles or so from Trout Creek) and get most of your shopping etc. done.

BTW, this thread doesn't belong in the Missoula forum, because even if Missoula is the closest big city in Montana, The Noxon area is a world away, thank goodness. The towns where you'd be doing most of your shopping/services will be Sandpoint, Idaho, and even Coeur d'Alene, and Spokane, WA. And flying out of Spokane is much cheaper than Missoula, for some reason.
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