September 5, 2012
I am determined that this is going to be the month where I break out of my journaling slump and post more than one entry, starting with this one, about my trip last week to my home away from home on Schweitzer Mountain in northern Idaho. My mom is doing well enough recovering from her stroke that I felt comfortable going ahead with the plans Mr. Karen and I made months ago to head west. Like last year, we caught a flight out early Saturday morning, which is never our first choice but one which we end up making again and again because we just don’t want to pay more to go at a reasonable time. The three-hour time difference does mean we get a full afternoon and evening at our destination, provided we can stay awake. This particular trip it meant that we were able to spend some time with our cousins who’d been staying at the condo the week before we arrived. They’d done a lot of exploring and hiking and seen places we’d never heard about, so it was fun to hear about their experiences over dinner (which they made for us—such great condo guests). Mr. Karen and I finished our day with a stroll around the mountain just before sunset while they went down the lodge to print boarding passes for their flight home on Sunday.
Early in the week, we did projects around the condo—I finally got the last coat of stain and some sealer on the stair railings—in between going into town on errands (buying supplies for projects, meeting with our mortgage banker about refinancing, etc.) and playing on the mountain. We rode the chair lift, hiked, picked huckleberries, stopped in to chat with our realtor, mountain biked (just Mr. Karen; when he came back with a scraped up leg I was not encouraged to try it again myself at this juncture), enjoyed the cool nights and lack of humidity (mostly me, as Mr. K is not a delicate flower like I am), and just appreciated our surroundings.
Wednesday I left Mr. Karen up on the mountain and went to meet an online friend from my nail polish world, since being two hours from her was so much closer than I usually am and she happened to have the day off work and was willing to meet up even though I could be a crazy stalker. Our time together flew by—much happy chatting during lunch (which she insisted on paying for even though I ordered an appetizer with meat despite her being a vegetarian; I am weak and just couldn’t resist trying the cheeseburger quesadilla), shopping, and hanging out at her house with her fur babies (one cat who deigned to let me pet him briefly before disappearing on urgent cat business, a second cat who was very tolerant of my fawning over her cute white toes, and a dog who was very happy to meet me even though I had no food on me). On my way back to the mountain, I stopped at Home Depot and a couple other stores for supplies for even more projects at the condo.
The next few days were again a mix of work around the condo and play outdoors. We drove to the other side of the lake to hike a trail recommended as a good snowshoe outing in winter. The write up promised “spectacular views” but failed to mention that there are only a few spots where anything other than trees, dead trees, undergrowth, dirt, and rocks are visible, and most of those spots are about 3.5 miles into the 3.7 mile one-way journey. We thought there would be more, and were disappointed to find the upper trailhead came out not at a marvelous vantage point but on a gravel road cut through the forest. We walked up the road a ways thinking we might find a way to the top of the hill, but when the road starting going downhill, we turned around. On the way down, we met a couple coming uphill who looked to be in their early sixties; they were not only jogging but carrying on a conversation. If I’m half that fit at their age, I’ll be doing great, and definitely better than I am right now. We didn’t see any moose or bear this trip, but did see mule deer, a snake, eagles and turkeys and other birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and a tiny rodent that might have been a mouse but could have been a vole.
Saturday night, Mr. Karen’s sister Kathy and her husband arrived to spend the rest of holiday weekend. We had a late dinner followed by ice cream topped with huckleberries we’d picked on the mountain (and Mr. Karen showed them on the trail map where we’d found good picking spots). We had to leave the next morning to head home, which left them to winterize the condo at end of the weekend (making them another set of great condo guests). It was a great trip overall, and I am so looking forward to going back during the ski season. I realize I am so lucky to be able to have a place like that and hope to be able to share it with many friends and family in the years to come.
You can see more photos from the trip in this Flickr set. (I still haven’t fixed the problems with my hatontop.com gallery. Maybe that can be one of my resolutions for 2013.)