Original Post: September 8, 2015
There came a point in our trip when we knew it would be time to turn around and head back home. Crater Lake didn’t really count (even though we’d changed directions), as it was still an amazing destination that I’d planned as part of the itinerary.
Idaho, however, was…well…
Before leaving for the trip, I’d asked a few friends who lived out west whether it was better to travel northern Idaho or southern. We needed to get to Yellowstone and I wanted to do it as quickly as possible, but what’s a few extra hours on the road if the scenery is nice, right? So we added an extra hour and a half and took the northern route as recommended. Why? Because it was pretty.
Or so I was told.
As I’m really not being very fair to Idaho, I should probably clarify. Northern Idaho is beautiful. (I’d been told the southern route was all desert, and we’d really seen quite enough of that.) Eastern Oregon and Washington, however, are not. Having seen the west coast of Oregon on a past trip, I pictured all of Oregon to be full of the amazingly green, incredibly dark piney forests that make western Oregon such a draw to nature lovers and neohippies everywhere.
In fact, I couldn’t have been more wrong. After the mountains faded into the distance, eastern Oregon looks the way I expected Kansas to look. (For the record, I was wrong there, too. Kansas is not grain. Kansas is corn. Oregon is grain. Lots of it.) And eastern Washington is very much the same.
Okay, so this part was pretty amazing. Mountains, horses, and beautiful blue skies, and miles and miles of road to travel.
But this part?
On film, stunning. In reality, breathtaking.
For an hour or so.
Hours upon hours? Not so much.
By the time we reached our cabin in Coeur d’Alene, I was very much contemplating the wisdom of my decision to travel northern Idaho, but Coeur d’Alene itself, particularly the lake, is beautiful. Our first stop in Idaho, naturally, was this –>
You can take the boy out of Cabela’s (in Hamburg), but you can’t take Cabela’s out of the boy…hence why we ended up in Cabela’s (in Coeur d’Alene).
A few dehydrated meals later, we were back on our way and reached the Osprey Perch Cabin at the Wolf Lodge Campground within a half hour. Nestled against the back of a mountain, it was a positively charming little A-frame…even if it did slant uphill and made me feel as though I was a little tipsy. Seriously, It’s odd the way a slight incline outdoors does nothing to your equilibrium, but the same slant inside is downright disturbing. Still, it didn’t detract from the charm.
We finally had a slow evening to ourselves, so we headed to Lake Coeur d’Alene for Nate to try his hand at fishing. I sat with camera at the ready, hoping to capture a bald eagle or two in the area, but to no avail. However, I did manage to capture a spectacular sunset!
Back at the cabin, we ate another dehydrated meal, shared a couple of mugs of hot tea and enjoyed the stars as they begin to dot the sky. At least until the mosquitoes showed up. Then it was inside and time for fun on the computer. We actually had a few hours to load photos and view them. Throughout the trip, I would try to download photos to my laptop every few days, but now I finally had time to look at them. (Imagine that!)
In the end, I was glad we took the northern Idaho route instead of southern, but those 9 hours in eastern Oregon and Washington was quite the test. A test of patience, a test of willpower, or a test of sanity – I’m not sure. But it was a test.
But I did discover that there was more to Idaho than just potatoes.
Come to think of it, I didn’t see a single potato. Maybe I should write the Idaho bureau of tourism.