July 20: Departed Sandy first thing in the morning, and stopped to stretch our legs at White River Falls, Tygh Valley, Oregon which is an hour and a half from our house. From there, we turned north, setting our sites on Palouse Falls, Washington for the night.
July 20-21: Overnight stop and hike at Palouse Falls, Washington. The camping area is really set up more for tents, but we found a workable spot in the parking lot. In the cooler morning air, we decided to hike above and behind the massive falls, which entails an approach along a railroad, then a downward slide over loose rock. The scale of the falls, canyons and surrounding scablands is hard to capture in photos.
From Palouse Falls, it was another four hours to Coeur d’Alene Lake, which we approached on back roads from the southeast. We stopped in the cute lakeside town of Harrison for ice cream. David’s sister Penny rented a very cool little cabin with amazing dock and deck areas, and was kind enough to include us in her vacation plans. There was just enough room to squeeze the van into a parking spot.
July 21-24: Coeur d’Alene Lake, Idaho with David’s family.
July 25: Priest River Recreation Area. Camped at Priest River Park (Albeni Falls Project) (“Big Muddy”)- a mosquito-infested riverside campground. The heat was high and the bugs ravenous so we deployed all the mosquito nets for the first time with all the windows and doors open.
July 26: Kootenay National Park, British Columbia. We camped at McLeod Meadows Campground which had seen better days, the location was great, next to the beautiful Kootenay River with two suspension bridges crossing over it. In the morning, we hiked a few miles up to Dog Lake.
We checked out the ochre beds at Paint Pots along the Vermilion River. Indian tribes traveled here to obtain the ochre-colored mud. It was cleaned, kneaded with water into walnut-sized balls and flattened into cakes. These were baked in a fire, then ground into powder and mixed with fish oil or animal fat for use in painting bodies, tipis and pictures on rocks. At the turn of the century, white settlers dug the ochre by hand and packed it into sacks to be hauled by horse-drawn wagons to the nearest train 15 miles away, ultimately destined for Calgary.
July 27-28: Banff National Park, Alberta. We camped at Two Jack Main Campground ahuge, but well-designed facility of more than 30 clusters north of Banff.
July 29: Drove along the Ice Fields Parkway. Camped at Waterfowl Lakes Campground. Walked around Moraine Lake near Lake Louise
Hiked to Chephren Lake. Drove to Bow Lake. Banff National Park, Alberta.
July 30: Camped at Kehuli Provincial Park on the west side Kalamalka Lake near Vernon, BC. It’s laid out in a series of tiers that rise up along the lake side. Along the lake itself is a newly abandoned railroad track that makes for a nice lakeside walk. If you’re in to rusty railroad spikes, this is the place to go. We were too late in the day to get a site, but the parking lots for boats and trailers empties late in the day and they welcome overflow campers to park there. Which we were happy to do.
July 31: Camped at Alta Lake State Park, Pateros, Washington. Much of the land and homes around Alta Lake burned to the ground in the 2014 fires, but new replacement houses and a park facilities have been restored since then. We got a kick out of watching a huge semi truck navigate in to a nearby pull through spot, towing a very long Airstream. A golf cart was strapped on to the truck bed. They were all set to take advantage of the adjacent 18 hole Alta Lake Golf Resort.
August 1: We hopped aboard the Lady of the Lake ferry for a day trip to re-enact one of our all-time favorite vacations to Stehekin, Washington. We brought along our folding bikes and pedaled out to 3 miles to the best bakery in the world (or at least in northern Washington)— Stehekin Pastry Company. After another mile or so we had worked off enough calories at Rainbow Waterfall to return to the bakery for another round of sweet goodness. Then we returned down lake on the slow ferry (4 hours). Our final night was spent at David’s sister’s house in Wenatchee.
August 2: We made a pit stop and took a short hike out to Horsethief Butte, in the Columbia River Gorge. Home again.