Monday, July 11
We got a late start and didn’t leave Spokane until 7:15pm. Factors? An incompetent “mobile” nurse who arrived to draw blood for a monthly checkup. And it can be difficult to get out of REI on the verge of a ‘cross countries’ trip.
We stopped at Sandpoint for a burger at Homestyle Burgers.
Its no Hudsons but… great huckleberry milkshakes. We then pushed to a rest-stop just north of Fort Steele, BC
After crossing the border we definitely felt like we were in the middle of no where.
While Brendan was driving the last leg after dark, we saw a good size elk on the right hand side.
We thought the mosquitos were mellow but they ended up being pretty substantial. “What mosquitos!?”. Sean “the Fly” opened his car for too long and had a swarm in his car. We told him to drive down the interstate with all the windows down to blow them out. Not sure if that was actually helpful in anyway.
Brendan used a new technique on this regions mosquito swarm. “the finger flick”
Hi-light of the day: Jesse from the Kingsgate border crossing. He was like a character out of Super Troopers. We pulled up to the customs gate and where there was a red light but no attendant in the booth. We waited. And waited.
Brendan looking for authorities:
Then we creeped forward in the van to the attendant booth. Immediately, a pudgy fella in official customs gear came running. In a huff he growled, “Back up past the stop light that you just blew by!”. “Don’t you have stop lights where you’re from!”. Then, even though there is only one road in this region, he asked, “Where are you coming from?”
“Uh, we are coming from the United States.” Anyway, after he asserted his authority he softened up. When he found out we were from New Orleans he asked…”Do you guys know Steven Segal?” By the time we left Mic had requested a passport stamp in return for the last of our day old chocolate chip cookies.
“I’ll be sure to ‘throw those cookies away’ for you”, Jesse said as we rolled away. Thanks Jesse, wink wink.
We just ended a wonderful, relaxing week at the Stewart cabin in the beautiful Couer D’alene Lake, Idaho. Steve and I have come here for July 4th for 7 years now, and our relationship has evolved a fair amount since then..
On our first visit in 2005, upon arrival, Steve let me know that he was going to have to “hang out with his friends” a lot and that he couldn’t spend all his time with me. Which was fine being that i didn’t know a soul.
HEY!, I’m being quoted out of context here!
He also chose for us to sleep in the bunkhouse, which is a small quaint cabin with no electricity and a single bed.
Now, in 2011, the Stewarts are one of my favorite families in the Northwest, we’ve upgraded to a big, super comfortable bed in the main house right next to a bathroom, and Steve spends all the time I need with me.
Our time in Couer D’alene involves:
Hanging out at The Black Rock Country Club (working out in gym, swimming in pool, and eating lunch)
Hanging out on the dock and taking boat cruises..
And hanging out at the cabin with Carly, Doug, Dave, and Lucy the dog Stewart.
(Paige not pictured)
Otherwise, we also got to hang out with some other friends who were in the area..
First.. Kimi and Graham Culp!!
(and we had a quick visit with the Davidsons at their Gozzer Ranch Fortress) (with possibly the most breathtaking view of the CDA Lake)
Kimi, Michel, and Kimi
Steve and Dave with the view of the lake, in front of an electronically screened in porch.
Steve, Dave, and Graham doing a rockstar pose
All of us at Cedar’s, the floating restaurant, which made me slightly seasick but not too bad.
Also got to spend time with the Shaws, Matty and Tirza at a Couer D’alene restaurant called Angelos.
Lastly, Steve and I went to one of Steve’s best buddy Tony’s wedding. He married a gal named Tina, on a Tuesday.
We’re very happy for Tony and Tina and wish them the best!
Oh. And listen to this.
There was a superdooper toilet in the suite that blew my mind.
A) when you open the door, the toilet seat lifts up automatically.
B) when you sit on the toilet, it heats up
C) then, when you’re done with the toilet, there are ten different options to choose from. I chose “rear cleanse”.
I couldn’t find the stop button for a couple of seconds and it was more violating than enjoyable to me.
Goodbye Couer d’alene.. Alaska here we come!?.!…
There is a campground at the head of the lake. It is 14 kilometers north of our campground. The only way to get there is to hike or row a boat.
Brendan and Kyle researched this upper site before we left and wanted to camp up there so they brought the Guzzie (boat that kyle and i built) so we could pack a bunch of gear up.
I was originally hesitant of the idea. I’m glad they pushed me to go.
Kyle and I went in the boat with our gear.
Brendan, Blaine and Jimmy hiked with their packs. They threw tents and food in the boat with us.
The send off felt like something out of lord of the rings.
Looking back, I see that we were on our own quest. Somehow, everyone everywhere is on their own quest. A quest for power or truth or happiness. A quest to be loved, and to love; compassion. Or even just a quest for normalcy. The beauty of even the smallest adventure like our trip to the head of Kintla Lake is that is symbolizes this human quest. Mostly, a quest to be fully present and enjoy each-other and enjoy the “deep wild” as Kyle called it.
We had a strong wind at our back…
…so we made it to the head of the lake in 90 minutes.
Brendan, Jimmy and Blaine arrived about 2 hours after Kyle and me.
We set up camp and got to cooking the nights meal.
The campground at the head of Kintla has strict guidelines on where to prepare food and how to store (at least 10 ft high) any food related items. The guidelines are in place to avoid any mishaps with wild animals, namely bears.
Happily, the mosquitos were dormant due to the cooler weather that had come through with last nights storm.
Blainer, who’s given name is Matthew Blaine (I think), has quickly become famous in our circle as a fairly eccentric camp cook.
While most other campers reach for their ultralight jet boil stoves, fold away utensils and freeze dried veggies, Blaine manages to show up with multiple cast iron pots, cubes of butter, fresh herbs and sides of beef for the camp dinner. Where he manages to store the equipment and how he keeps track of all the necessary, yet succulent items is a wondrous, if imperfect art form. For this meal, 14 kilometers into the deep wild, he chose to cook Corned Beef and Cabbage in the infamous and effective Dutch Oven.
The Dutch Oven weighs 20 lbs (at least) and the cooking process takes a hair under 3 hours but the whole deal turned out perfect. Around the campfire we were fighting over the last morsel of the tender, marbled, veggie soaked beef.
The windy evening was filled with more campfire tales and mishaps, highlighted by Brendan being struck in the eye by an errant ember that POPPED from the fire.
It turned out that the ember has lodged itself under the eyelid and Kyle had to use a trick he learned from Kath to remove the ember. Kyle introduced the technique by saying…”this is gonna seem weird but I am going to lick your eye with my tongue”. By that time Brendan could have cared less what Kyle was planning so long as the pain subsided. The trick worked and the two returned to the campfire, brendan looking relieved and Kyle spitting carbon. Both fully present here on the deep wild.