Memorial Day Weekend

I sorta begged to go somewhere for Memorial Day weekend. And we decided we should be grownups and “get stuff done around here” instead. And then we didn’t. Next time, I’m totally not acting like a grownup and throwing caution to the wind and driving an absurd distance for three days. Done.

Anyway, we wound up spending most of the weekend with Chris and Katie, neighbors who have a vacation house here in town. Saturday, I puttered around the house and Forrest went motorcycle riding with Chris. Then on Sunday, we went to Katie’s parents’ house on Lake Coeur D’Alene. The dogs got to swim and we all sat around on the porch. Occasionally someone would suggest we go for a walk and the consensus would be “in a little while.” We never went.

Yesterday, the four of us headed up to the cabin. We drove up to the gate and made it about 100 yards past where F and I made it last Monday. That corner is full of snow though so we had to give it up and hike the rest of the way (it’s less than a mile). We had a lovely lunch of canned chili and Katie hiked in a couple of beers and half a bottle of wine! After relaxing at the cabin and checking out the snow melt progress (tons of snow left on the road on “the back side,” patches of dirt starting to peak out around the cabin amidst 5′ drifts) we headed back to the Jeep. Katie, Chris, and I hiked all the way down the ridge line and met Forrest there.

Moon Pass Adventure

Sunday afternoon, we decided to go exploring. I did some quick checking on road conditions and found that Moon Pass (leading from Wallace over to Avery) was open. Optimistic that the snowmelt would let us do some exploring we headed out in the jeep.

Waiting to go for a ride

Moon Pass Road was really dusty so we decided to try and take the scenic bypass route up higher into the mountains. Unfortunately, there was still enough snow on the road to make the going tricky in places and, eventually, too deep to go further at all. It made for a kind of long detour but it was certainly pretty up in the trees.

Returning to the main road, we headed up to the pass. Someone had plowed the road leaving some decent sized snow berms along the road. I’m not sure if it was the elevation or the snow but the air temperature definitely dropped! At the top of the pass, we stopped to talk to a couple of people on quads. We asked them about melt status of some of the roads in the area and reflect on how good it felt to be out after the long winter.

We headed down into the St. Joe drainage and looking for somewhere to explore. We found a small road and decided to head up it to explore. It quickly turned into a narrow quad trail but not before Forrest decided to navigate across a stream. Although it had gotten a bit narrow for the jeep, we decided to take a walk anyway. Just a little ways up the road we heard a crashing in the brush. It was a moose!

We watched her until she ran up the creek and out of view. As we continued up the road we saw some of her tracks in the mud and then heading up the hill. It was amazing to see how big her leap up the hill was—in one step, she went four feet up the hillside! Just another quarter mile down the road, it crossed the creek again. Not being exactly willing to wade into the freshly melted snow, we turned around. (Sprocket, on the other hand headed right out into the stream.)

A bit further down the road we saw a hiking trail head up into the mountains so we parked the jeep and headed up the hill. And when I say up, I mean up. It’s steep around here and this was no exception, we gained just under a thousand feet of elevation in about a mile.

As we got up to the powerline road, it was getting to be time to think about getting back home. (We’re hoping to find someone to give us a ride back to that trailhead soon so we can continue down the trail to Wonderful Peak and hike down over the ridge back into town.)

Back down at the jeep, we decided to try to get home via Bullion Pass but were foiled by snow just below the summit (and, as the crow flies about six miles from home) only to have to turn around and go the long way home through Wallace via Moon Pass.


Mother’s Day Hike

When I heard that Sunday was supposed to be pretty (as in 70 degrees up at 6,000′) I decided that it should clearly be spent at the cabin. Unfortunately Forrest had to work so it was just Sprocket and I off for adventure. We did use F as a ride up to the substation at Burke though.

The melting beginnings.

We started up the road at about 7:00 and by the time I reached the slide (about a mile) I was quite warm. The snow was also showing signs of warming up and I was sinking too far into the slush for my taste so we paused for me to put on snowshoes. Sprocket took this opportunity to play in the creek and the mud. I was pleasantly surprised to find that once I cut off the road to head up the ridgeline (it’s not much shorter but it seems sooo much faster!) that there was only patchy snow in the trees and most of the way up the ridge was clear. (Until of course I hit the snow that was 3′ deep.) I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of the road was starting to melt out although there is a lot of melting to do before we can drive in.

I arrived at the cabin at about 8:20, promptly grabbed a Gatorade and a chair and headed outside. I basically sat there basking, reading, and napping until 12:30. I got a horrible sunburn. Not very responsible. The sunshine felt sooo wonderful though. Finally, I roused myself, made some lunch and cleaned up the food storage area. Sprocket was quite happy when I shouldered my pack and started heading uphill. Apparently the puppy got bored.

We arrived at the top of East Grouse Peak about a half hour later and then began our long descent into Mullan. I really dislike walking downhill without a trail. I guess I need different shoes since I hate it mostly because my feet feel like they’re constantly smashed against either the toe box or one side of the shoe. It’s pretty uncomfortable… I only had to walk on snow for a really short chunk at the top, most of the way down was clear. However, the “pretty woods” F had promised me on top of the M hill was FULL of downed timber. It made for some unfun walking.

In the end though, it was a beautiful day outside. I can’t wait for more.

Hiking: Willow Creek

The sun finally shone in Mullan on Sunday! Forrest had to work so Sprocket and I headed out for some fun. We rode the quad up Willow Creek Road as far as we could before being stopped by snow. I pulled out my snowshoes and up the road we went; I was glad to have them. The snow was plenty firm in the shade but what can only be called slush in the sun—by the end of the hike even Sprocket, the biggest snow walking devotee ever had given up on it.

After alternating between snow and exposed dirt for awhile we came to a junction. Having not been up this way before I wasn’t totally sure which way we should head to get to Stevens Lakes but before I could think about it too hard I spotted a large tank of some kind in the creek. Around here, debris like that indicates that there was mining activity. It didn’t take me too long to look around and see some more metal scraps and then the dead giveaway lush moss that grows at the opening of flooded mines. This one looked really intact!


After we’d checked out the mine shaft (it was hard to convince Sprocket he shouldn’t go swim in there!) we headed up the trail again. As I was walking down the trail/road, Sprocket desperately wanted to jump up this bank. He always catches up so I kept walking but he kept trying to get up on the bank; looking back to see what was going on I saw the trail sign pointing up a tiny switchback hard to pick out in the spotty snow that lead to the top of that bank. Sprocket wins.

It wasn’t too long though before we reached a scree slope and the two of us together just couldn’t find the trail on the other side and decided to turn around. When I got home, I found out that we’d been within three quarters of a mile from the lake that was my “unstated” goal for the hike. I’m sure it would have been really pretty! I’ll probably try again in the next week or so.

It felt really good to get out and wander with Sprocket and hike around. And the scenery? It wasn’t too bad either.

Rock Climbing: Vantage, Washington

Last weekend, I went climbing in Vantage, Washington with Women Climbers Northwest. I haven’t been climbing since I graduated from Oregon State (that was two years ago! I can’t believe it!) so I definitely am not in “climbing shape”: weak fingers, feet not used to being shoved into climbing shoes. It was really fun to get outside on a gloriously beautiful weekend and enjoy the sunshine.

I drove over after work on Friday, driving out of the rain into the sun, stopping in Spokane to buy necessities for the weekend: lunches, breakfast, and a bottle of wine (Firesteed pinot noir!). By the time I got to Moses Lake I was quite hungry—I wasn’t really sure what I was in the mood for but the options were somewhat limited. Just as I considered heading back into the city center for some Subway (which I’ve had plenty of on EMT class nights) I found Woody’s. I was a bit turned off by the idea of $6-8 burgers at a hole in the wall but I was hungry and a shake sounded good. The burger, a bleu cheese burger, was worth every penny of its $6.75. The shake? Softserve based and not so amazing…

After eating my burger and shake over looking the odd pothole that is Moses Lake, I drove the last thirty miles or so to the climbing area. I’d actually driven right past the access road last year when I tasted wine at Cave B cellars on my way home from R2R. It was one of those awesome drives where you immediately drop down out of plain old desert into something fantastic. Continue reading “Rock Climbing: Vantage, Washington”

Shhh…It might be spring…

Saturday morning we headed for the cabin. The weather was absolutely beautiful. It was one of the first days that really felt like spring around here.

Because this is what spring looks like in North Idaho

I was in no hurry to get up to the cabin (other than the fact I was thirsty because I left my water bottle on the seat of the jeep…) because the sunshine felt so so good. I was hiking in a tshirt and UnderArmor! It was 50 degrees!

A glance at the cabin indicates the crazy amount of melting we need to happen before we can drive to the cabin. I’m accepting bets on when we’ll be able to


Team 3Up’s Deadman Gulch Snow Walk; January 28, 2012

Team 3Up’s Deadman Gulch snow walk; January 28, 2012

We felt the need to get out and go play but didn’t feel like making the haul all the way up to the cabin so we headed about two miles away from our house and walked up the snowy road for awhile.

Continue reading “Team 3Up’s Deadman Gulch Snow Walk; January 28, 2012”

Adventures in Snowmobiling

I fully admit that I was terrified of the red beast on the trailer. Today, my grace period for getting used to the idea of riding the snowmobile ran out.

After I briefly entertained the idea of refusing to go, ever, I was persuaded to give it a shot. Then I had to eat my words because the whole thing was less than scary right from the start. I managed to make my way up to the top of the hill just fine (although every time I thought I was going fast, I’d look down and the speedometer needle hadn’t even moved Forrest just informed me that my speedometer is broken).

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An Alternate View of To Do Lists

When we go up to the cabin we usually have a pretty good “to do” list worked up.

And we usually get most of it done. But not everything. And I never want to feel like we have to. At the house, my M.O. is “finish all the Things. Now!” At the cabin, I’m just not that way. (I am impatient for heat. But I think that’s understandable.)

Saturday morning, after sleeping in and a cozy morning with some spiced cider, we loaded up the last of the insulation, miscellaneous tools, a borrowed generator, and lots of clothes. At about 4,000 feet, we started to see skiffs of snow on the ground. By the time we passed through our gate (about 4,700′ feet), the ground was covered. The last stretch up to the cabin required 4-wheel drive.

Continue reading “An Alternate View of To Do Lists”