My husband Gary is a pastor, so you wouldn't think we'd get many weekends off, right? Thankfully in this district, he gets a weekend off when there are five Saturdays in a month. October is one of those months, so we headed to Priest Lake here in Northern Idaho!
Isn't Northern Idaho pretty cold in late October? What is an 8-month pregnant lady doing going camping? Don't worry, we borrowed a trailer! Heaters, lights, a real bed, a bathroom, and preparing meals indoors!
Here's our first look at the lake on Friday afternoon. We were racing to beat the sun, so we didn't linger over the views. We camped at Indian Creek Campground, and though it's only 20-30 miles from where we live as the crow flies we had to make a giant U around the mountains to get there. Still, Indian Creek is just over 2 hours away, and we will be back!
On Saturday after a questionable night's sleep despite the real bed and heaters, we ate breakfast and headed out to see what we could see. We started at Headquarters where the boys learned about different animals and their fur while Gary chatted with the rangers about hikes and kayak trips and bear safety.
Then we headed off on a hike! We walked so fast everything was blurry! Either that or my cell phone photography skills are especially lacking in low light!
There was a chance of rain, the sky was overcast, and the temperature was stuck somewhere in the 40s. We had sweatshirts and were just warm enough if we kept walking.
We chose a hike called the Viewpoint Trail and should have known it required some altitude to get a good view of the lake. I'm proud to say this winded, 40-year-old, 8-months pregnant lady did not die! I rested frequently and just kept plodding along.
It really was a beautiful view!
Of course there was the celebratory selfie!
We hiked back down to the lake in a quarter of the time it took us to climb up. We think we walked about 2 miles total, though our apps weren't working we were so remote.
The ranger had told us about some red fish we could see from the boat dock, so we headed over to investigate.
Sure enough, there they were!
These are Kokanee salmon who come to the shallow water to spawn. They were about a foot long and swimming in groups by the shore. Very cool.
The lake looked moody and cold! This was about midday. We learned that Priest Lake has a long history of Indian settlements, Jesuit priests, and early settlers.
We took a break for lunch (and heaters!) back at the trailer, then came out to explore some more of the shore and let the boys play on the playground equipment.
Indian Creek Campground has cabins for rent, but they're just bunks and heaters, no cooking facilities or bathrooms. There are community bathrooms but all water is shut off from October-April, so you're best off in a trailer if it's cold. The campground is open year round and there are snow shoeing/cross-country skiing trails in the woods.
Gary and the boys gathered firewood and built a raging inferno that afternoon. It was cozy to sit by the fire and be warm! It would have been proper to have hot dogs roasted over the fire, but I didn't even think of that until we were there! Oh well, we enjoyed our spaghetti dinner inside the trailer, then roasted marshmallows in the fire and made s'mores. Phew--at least I remembered that!
We also got ice cream at the camp store! We MADE the boys eat it, as you can clearly see. Stinkers! This was some marshmallow-pop rock weird stuff that the lady PILED on their cones. Needless to say, Gary and I had portions that should have been shared between three people, but we did our duty and packed it away. #cleanplateclub
Our second night redeemed the first, but after a pancake breakfast we had to head home. Don't worry, Priest Lake, we'll be back!