Walter and Sara On the road to who knows where
After a very successful week doing errands, having appointments and seeing as many friends as we could (sorry to those we missed this time—a week isn’t much time to see everyone), we headed east on Highway 2 out of Monroe and over Stevens Pass Wednesday May 4th. I grabbed a few photos of Tumwater Canyon just west of Leavenworth as we wound our way through the canyon. The river was full of snow melt. Parts are smooth-looking but that’s fast water.

Tumwater Canyon WA

And parts are FULL of whitewater. I love driving through this canyon but the turn outs aren’t big enough for the trailer so getting photos is a real challenge.

Tumwater Canyon WA

We drove on through Leavenworth and out into the coulees to stay at Sun Lakes Resort in Sun Lakes and Dry Falls State Park. In the off season, the resort is cheaper than the state park for a full hook up and the more days you stay the cheaper it gets. We got a nice full hook up spot up on the ridge where the trees are still pretty small. It wasn’t hot so it was fine camping out in the sun. In the summer, you would really bake in this spot though.

The park was far from empty and filled up steadily on Thursday with the “Sisters on the Fly” vintage trailer group. This was a group of nearly 70 women who all had older little trailers. They come here each year for a long weekend—to camp, kayak, fish, golf and show off their trailers. Most are from Washington but there were folks from Montana, Idaho and Oregon too.
Sisters on the fly at Sun Lakes Resort

It rained on Wednesday night and early on Thursday but we got out for a walk in the afternoon. The stay here was meant to be a low key time to rest and recharge after so many very full days in town and it certainly did that for us. Their wifi worked most of the time (though as the park filled up it got slower and slower on Thursday night) and that helped us veg a bit.

Thursday night it was WINDY—enough so the trailer was rocking and rolling at times and we had to close all the vents to keep them from howling. It settled down by morning so it wasn’t too bad when it came time to break camp on Friday May 6th.

We continued east on Hwy 2 into Idaho and then turned north for about 40 miles to Farragut State Park on Lake Pend Oreille. Reservations don’t start at most Idaho parks until Memorial Day weekend so getting there fairly early on Friday afternoon meant we actually had nice choice of hook up (water and electric) sites. We got a nice side-pull-through site with woods out our door side. The campground filled up with families and LOTS of kids on bicycles. We were a few sites over from the volleyball court and it had people using it all the way until quiet hours started at 10 pm. This park is in the city of Coeur D’Alene’s back yard so it’s very popular with families.

After lunch and a nap we took a drive along the South Road of the park to the overlook for a nice view of Lake Pend Oreille.

Lake Pend Oreille Farragut State Park

There was one lone sailboat out on this part of the lake.

Sailboat on Pend Lake Pend Oreille
It was in the 70’s and breezy. Later we saw one cabin cruiser go by. On Saturday we saw of number of boats head out towards the boat launch so there were more folks out on the lake for the weekend.

Farragut was first developed as a Naval Training Center at the beginning of WWII. At the time it was the second largest naval training center in the world with 40,000 sailors stationed here. Thousands of US Navy personnel went through boot camp here before heading to the South Pacific and the Mediterranean. The state park campgrounds now rest where many of the training camps housing areas were. There’s a museum about the training center but it doesn’t open until later in the season.

Lake Pend Oreille is a natural lake and is the 5th largest lake in the US. It was carved by glaciers and the great floods from Glacial Lake Missoula that created Dry Falls and the scablands in Eastern Washington.

This is Ponderosa Pine country and someone created a nice monument to the trees here with this wonderful old poem that I remember learning as a kid.

The Tree in stone

Idaho is on the western edge of Mountain Time so sunset came much later than we were used to. The folks playing volleyball had enough light to until play 10 pm.

On Saturday May 7th, we decided to walk over to the Squirrel Cache Trailhead which is on the south side of the road between the Waldron (where we were camped) and the Gilmore Campgrounds. We ended up doing a big of bushwhacking to get there because the trail along the road started to turn away from the road but we made to the trailhead without too much trouble.

I just love this sign—especially since reminding people that all dogs belong a on leash is one of our main jobs as camp hosts.

Squirrel Cache Trail sign

The Squirrel Cache Nature Trail is a loop trail that wanders through the woods. We took the loop in a counterclockwise manner though I don’t think it matters which way you go—except if you go clockwise you see the few information signs towards the beginning instead of the end.

There were lots of woodland flowers in bloom including tons of Starry false-Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum stellatum).

Starry false-Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum stellatum)

And lots and lots of what I think were Piper's Anemone (Anemone piperi).

Piper's Anemone (Anemone piperi)

Here and there we saw a few Purple Peavine (Lathyrus nevadensis) which comes in lavender and purple

Purple Peavine (Lathyrus nevadensis)

And white

Purple Peavine (Lathyrus nevadensis)

There were benches here and there and next to one was a small patch of White Clover (Trifolium repens).

White Clover (Trifolium repens)

Nestled in amongst the thick undergrowth there were Hooked Violets (Viola adunca).

Hooked Violets (Viola adunca)

There were small blotches of yellow along the forest floor that turned out to be Creeping Oregon Grape (Berberis repens).

Creeping Oregon Grape (Berberis repens)

This pile of rocks is known as the Peek Hole Rocks because there’s a small spot where you can see through the pile to the other side. They are a collection of erratics left by the great floods caused by the breaking of the ice dams on Glacial Lake Missoula during the last Ice Age.

Peek Hole Rock Farragut State Park

Out in the sunshine on the south end of the trail we found some Heartleaf Arnica (Arnica cordifolia) in bloom.  

Heartleaf Arnica (Arnica cordifolia)

There was a nice bench up on a side hill at this point and we went up to enjoy it and read about the Mary Moody, a steamship that ran on Lake Pend Oreille taking miners from the south end up to the north end of the lake from 1866 to 1876.

Sitting enjoying the sunshine I notice a shrub with buds on it.

Mallow-leaf Ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus)

And around the bend I found an entire one in full bloom.

Mallow-leaf Ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus)

It’s Mallow-leaf Ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus).

Mallow-leaf Ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus)

There was also one lone Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa) just getting ready to bloom. For those who don’t know this plant (we had some on the edge of our woods in Monroe) it has orange trumpet-shaped flowers.

Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa)

Heading back UP the hill on our way back I noticed this odd brown-stemmed plant.

Spotted coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata)

On closer inspection I realized it was an orchid! It’s a Spotted Coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata). The flowers are only about a quarter of an inch across but most definitely orchids.

Spotted coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata)
This was a very satisfactory hike. It was only about a mile and a half but with our wandering route from the campground and back we figure we put in a nice enjoyable 2 miles.

It was warmer that afternoon and we had a large family reunion going on across from us complete with a complex game of one-fly-up—there were enough kids for them to have 9 or so on the field. It was a little noisy (there was a big volleyball game going on too) but everyone was having such a good time who could complain. After dark there were kids out with flashlights and light sabers too—isn’t camping fun?

On Sunday May 8th (Walter’s 80th Birthday and Mother’s Day too) we broke camp and headed south on Hwy 395 to Heyburn State Park on the south end of Lake Coeur D’Alene. We got a nice side-pull-through hook up site (water and electric) for two nights (Monday night at half price). We set up camp in the piney woods (such a nice smell on a warm day) and enjoyed a quiet afternoon.

We plan to hike here on Monday and then move on south a ways to Dworshak State Park for 2 nights and then just a little further south to Lewiston, ID and 3 nights at Hells Gate State Park before we head on to Lake Cascade next Sunday for the start of our first camp hosting gig for the summer.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, step mothers, and mothers of critters large and small and all the rest of the non-mothers who nurture everyone in their lives. At heart, everyone (male and female) needs to mother themselves so we all need to celebrate mothering.