An Uphill Float??

Campground in Northern Idaho

We stayed about a week in a nicely wooded campground in Northern Idaho. Most of the sites were fairly spacious and separated from each other… except two. Ours and our neighbors. The site next door was empty when we arrived, but a few days later a nice couple in a “new to them” motorhome moved in. Their site was so close, I tried putting our awning out to see if it would touch. It actually extended over their rig a few inches in the front! It was only able to do that because their site was a couple feet lower than ours. Anyway, they were nice people and we had fun talking with them. They only stayed two nights.

The Little Lake (Pond) at our Campground

McArthur Lake

With a name like that, we HAD to explore it! We unfortunately picked a windy afternoon, and found that the whole lake was full of seagrass, threatening to clog our clever kayak propulsion systems. We managed to run the length of the lake, but the sky was the prettiest part. If you go there, feel free to skip McArthur Lake.

The name looked good on our GPS!

Meeting Charlie and Din

One evening, (almost our bedtime), we heard some fun music wafting up to our motorhome. I went out to investigate, and ended up spending some time with a fun couple of musicians. They were on a little stage, playing to the starry evening and nobody else. They were not camp employees, but just traveling through and like to sing! In chatting with them, I learned they have two Hobie Mirage Drive kayaks – the same system as our tandem kayak. They talked about a float trip that they wanted to do, but weren’t sure how to do it without another vehicle. We tentatively planned to try it together in a couple of days.

Chatting with our new friends

Jam Session with Charlie and Din

One evening, we offered them pie in hopes they could bring their instruments and play for us! We ended up with a great jam session! Charlie on guitar, Din on Mandolin, and Cherryl and I tried to keep up on our Ukuleles. What a great time!

The Amazing Float Trip!

Charlie had researched this float trip… it was supposed to start just downstream from a dam, and wind through about 7 miles of peaceful river, and end in a nature preserve on the south end of Lake Pend Oreille. (Pronounced Ponderay by English speakers)

We dropped a car at the take out spot in the lake, and drove to the dam. We found a place to put in, not too far from the dam. A fairly strong wind had risen, creating waves on the river that made it look like it was flowing upstream. But it really couldn’t be flowing that way, could it? Charlie kept wondering and checking if he’d gotten it backwards – the wind was far stronger than any current. So we paddled (pedaled, actually) “uphill” for a long time. It was really beautiful! We saw Eagles and Osprey and even a few float planes, one of which landed just downstream from us.

So we had a gorgeous trip, but it seemed we fought the wind forever! When we drove back to get the truck where we’d put in, we measured we had done about 12 miles! So our 7 mile “float” turned into a 12 mile “Uphill” kayak hike! Part of the fun was teasing Charlie about his kickback “float” trip that kicked us back! I put together a little video of the trip at the bottom of this blog – Thanks Charlie and Din!!

Silly Flick About a Beautiful Kayak Trip

Montana to Idaho

We couldn’t get enough of Glacier… so after the kids left we took another hike. This one to a far less crowded area on the west side of the park. A five mile dirt road took us to the trailhead, and then another couple of miles to Howe Lake. This area is regrowing after dramatic fire years ago. It’s interesting to see how green and pretty the new growth is, surrounded by spires of burned trunks.

There was beauty to be seen even through the still standing charred trees.

We saw a total of 6 people on our little hike… as compared with a few million on the more popular trails. Part of the reason is that the lake wasn’t near as pretty as some elsewhere… and then one could be depressed by all the dead trees.

The next day we put our kayak on the main lake in Glacier National Park – Lake McDonald. Before you launch, you need your craft inspected for invasive species that could harm the pristine lake. Our boat passed the test, and we got a one day pass.

We packed a lunch and enjoyed it on a nice private beach

Later we drove back to Redrock for more fun jumping off the high rock. There were a few twenty-somethings that were surprised that we “old folks” would jump! One gal took a video of us, and promised to send it, but hasn’t yet. If I get it I may post it later.

The rushing water is always beautiful!

Lake McDonald Lodge is a beautiful building with an awesome view over the lake. Thanks to the Covid stuff we weren’t allowed in if we weren’t staying there. But we enjoyed the outside!

Hungry Horse Reservoir

They should call this the Huge Hungry Horse Reservoir! The drive around it is something like 150+ miles! We decided that at the 20 mph needed on the curvy road, it would take far longer than we had energy. But we did find a nice place to get the kayak wet again. Once more, a lunch on a private beach with a view!

Turns out we weren’t the only ones on the lake. We saw a few power boats, and even some sort of a teepee. Or was it set up for a huge bonfire?

Savenac Nursery

On our way to Washington, we stopped again at the gorgeous Savenac Nursery. They have a hike up to a small pond, that passes many of the test beds where they grew different strains of trees. A trail map pointed out the different types of trees, and the types of testing done in each area. They also had a paragraph about this outhouse! Built in 1936 when the nursery was working, about 14 years ago it was “restored to its former glory.”

Way up at the top of a ridge is a tree dedicated to Vern Valach, a Forestry employee from the Superior Ranger district. An interesting metal marker identifies the tree.

I’m fascinated with old roads and bridges, so this one gets in the blog twice. Called the Yellowstone Bridge, it was on the Yellowstone Trail, and still sports its mile marker. I’m not sure what is 390 miles from here.

Camp Mivoden

This SDA Summer Camp / Retreat Center fronts Hayden lake in Idaho. It boasts very nice buildings, but the real beauty is in over 500 acres of forest and a very large waterfront. They gave us a nice tour of this awesome camp. While they host varied groups all year, as a Christian institution, their main focus is leading kids to Christ in a wonderful Summer Camp environment. We’d love to attend one of their Family Camps sometime!

We naturally had to put the kayak in and explore this end of the lake. Many beautiful homes line the shore.