Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Volunteering at Priest Lake in Idaho

It has been said that Priest Lake is “On the way to NOWHERE.”  The simple truth is that you go to Priest Lake but not through it.

Seven miles from our current location the pavement literally runs out.  At that point, you have a series of gravel roads.  Most of which go nowhere in particular.  A select few can get you to points in Washington, Montana and BC if your guts and gears can take the endless jostling. 

If you are willing to go beyond the end of the road it’s only the beginning in terms of adventure.  There are waterfalls and 7000’ summits to reach, 2000 year old cedar forests and the only place in the lower 48 where caribou still roam.

It all sounds really remote and it feels that way.  Yet, you don’t feel alone because there are communities all around.  Small clusters of cabins, resorts, marinas, one-stop and mom & pop shops filled with people who like being “way up” north.

Our Forest Service volunteer location is the Kalispell Boat Launch.

        Visitors on the left, The Office at center and Home on the right.

Here’s our launch with a view of Kalispell Island and the Selkirk mountain range.  We’ll spend the next several months here doing our best to keep the launch running smoothly.


The lake, mountains and surrounding scenery change with each day.  As for foliage and the like, we seem to be about a month behind some of the places we traveled through on our way here.  There is some snow still on the ground and spring is just starting to take a peek.






DSCN7925                                           Calypso Bulbosa (aka Fairy Slipper)

They say that the ramp will remain fairly quiet until sometime in June.  So, we’re enjoying daily walks in the woods and around the lake.  In only our first few weeks we’ve already seen a couple of new (to us) critters.

We recently watched a documentary that featured the Snowshoe Hare.  So, it was pretty exciting to see our first one in the wild.  Look at the size of those feet!

                                   This Columbian Ground Squirrel

                                  played a good game of statue

before alerting the others nearby of our presence by putting out a series of chirps.  Did you know that the chirping is different for avian versus terrestrial predators?  We were identified as terrestrial which was super cool to experience.

Speaking of new critters… these little ones were out for a swim the other day.

             Sure is hard to get a camera to focus on nothing but fuzz!

                  Guess that’s all for now.  We’re anxious to get back to the lakeside.