Sunday, April 25, 2010
Senior Hiking #349 (our first post)
Blog by Betsy
19 Apr 2010…along the rocky shore of the lake …hike #349 (Northern Idaho)
It was predicted to be a beautiful and warm day…we haven’t had one of those in a while. While getting my glasses adjusted last week, I spoke with one of the guys there, as I always do, about the hikes each of us has been doing. When I mentioned we had just hiked Mickinnick, he said he and his wife did it two weeks ago; when I asked him what he did most recently, my curiosity piqued. He said that now that the lake water level is still low, it is possible to go to Talache Landing and walk down the rocky coast all the way to Maiden Rock. There is also a trail down to Maiden Rock from over 2000’ feet above, which we have done several years ago. Loved it. Also the same for Evans Landing. So I got dubious instructions on how to find the place, and we set out to look for it. The water was gorgeous, and the water level is now exposing about 50’ of new walkable shoreline, but in just a few short weeks, the level will rise again to full water table…usually by Memorial Day for the tourists and boaters. Then the only way to access the shore is by boat. This is the nice thing about this pristine lake of ours…80% of Lake Pend Oreille is only accessible by foot or by boat.
We found the steep narrow road which leads down to the water, but carefully got the rig turned around before we set out. It was nice to wear short sleeves and hiking boots again…a nice break from snowshoes. The first part was a bit difficult, walking on the gravel, pebbles and sand but then the second half was even testier as we had to climb up and around all the huge rocks. The sound of the water gently lapping on the shore was pleasant. We kind of dilly dallied on the way down, finding an interesting series of still deserted summer cabins, rotten docks which haven’t survived winters for a while, an old mine shaft, wildflowers, though not too many varieties, three old outhouses and lots of riffraff washed up on the shore. I picked up lots of nicely smoothed stones…something I always do when we get on the lake shore.
When we walked as far as we could, to Maiden Rock, a huge rock which cuts down over 200’ vertically into the water, we sat down for a break. Then Jim decided to climb up the extremely high bank to see what he could see. Of course, I know better than try to discourage him from doing foolish things. I had my cell phone in case I needed to call the lake patrol! He crawled up on his hands and knees and slid back down on his butt, picking up three ticks on the way and finding another on his leg after we got home. While he was doing his rock climbing thing, I sat on the boulders and admired the water…got out my binoculars and ate my lunch. Thirty five minutes later he was safely down.
We were not looking forward to the walk back thru the boulders but managed to make better time than walking down. It is amazing that I never fell in spite of coming close so many times but slowing our pace and stepping carefully, always being careful not to step on a “rocker.” We got back faster than going…though I did stop a few times to pick up more smooth rocks and also picked up those I stashed on the way down, and took a few more last pictures. This was such a nice hike albeit difficult and we were glad we found out about it.
Left home 9:40Started 10:20
Got to Maiden Rock 12:40 (2 hours, 20 minutes)
Started back 1:20
Got to truck 2:50 (1 hour, 30 minutes)
Total miles hiked 5-ish miles
Total hiking time 4 hours, 30 minutes