Due to a minor dairy explosion and my reparatory actions, Stella smelled like a sour latte, so the family wanted to take my husband’s cushier sedan to Idaho instead. Fine! It may seem counter-intuitive to go through OR while traveling from WA to ID, but it was the fastest way from our Columbia River border town. Alongside 395, we managed to secure the biggest and best caramel apples in existence, and I ate my juicy prize over an entertaining game of cards that night at my brother’s near palace in Spokane. Yes, that’s right. WA to OR back to WA before ID. North Idaho, specifically. It makes sense. I promise. Don’t hurt your brain.
Tuesday we walked the shoreline of Lake Pend Oreille. I was pleased that I could identify the dried up plants, but rather sorry to see them spent. There was recent fire damage among the pines from perhaps only last year. I admit it was too hot to hike, and the troops wore out quickly, but they rallied when the kids accidentally discovered a geocache. I hid it better when we were finished adding to the tiny notebook.
Our hotel was at the northern end of the lake, and after struggling to find a place for breakfast, we spent all of Wednesday at Silverwood, the local combination theme and water park. When I say all day, I mean we were there from just after they opened at eleven and rolled out at eight. Not knowing what to expect on all the rides added to the experience. We all really loved it. The only thing that stopped us was exhaustion. We could easily spend all day in the water park side alone, but my flayed toes wouldn’t thank me.
We were ready for something tamer the next day, but finding breakfast was again a challenge. I didn’t want to return to the dirty restaurant we’d already tried, so I asked for advice while purchasing an Idaho atlas (because I was sure we’d lose phone service at the lake). Everyone in Idaho was very friendly and helpful, but when it comes to the first meal of the day, they’re at a loss. They don’t eat it.
I had thought we’d drive all the way around Priest Lake, exploring the Upper Priest Lake area as well, but the atlas told a different story. We stopped at the state park store, where we bought drinks and unexpectedly found a nice handmade set of consignment hot pads, then parked by the water to enjoy the pretty granite beach. We stood at the end of the dock watching the waves in the wind. I was mostly content with staying ashore today, but the water was calling. Before moving on, I gave the girls a bear encounter primer and we blended into the forest for a short while. It was hot in the shade and the trail got sunnier and sunnier, so we turned around. I emerged embarrassed, however, for I slipped and fell off a log bridge!
As the road turned to gravel, I wisely held my tongue and we arrived safely at our next stop, a beach on the northern end of the lake where the kids went for a swim. I spent the hour relaxing on the sand, thinking I needed a whole day of doing nothing, not just an hour. But there was more driving ahead, and it would be a long slog home. I’d save that thought for tomorrow, and set my sights back on Spokane and and its orange kitten tonight. Paddling Upper Priest Lake was not to be.
We didn’t rush off. Spokane held us a while longer. Riverside State Park was an unexpected gem that made me wish I had more time to offer it.
I hugged Washington’s lower curve all the way home.