September 13, 2013
Mr. Karen and I spent last week at our condo in Idaho, enjoying an end of summer break (and working on various repair and improvement projects, but somehow those seem easier to manage when there’s a mountain right outside to play on once we’re done).
Before that, though, for work I went to Maryland and back in the same day, getting to see Detroit from the air on my flight home. There was even a Tigers game going on, so the stadium was all lit up.
Okay, back to Idaho. We flew, so that meant we went to Washington, too. On our drive through Spokane that sunny Saturday, we stopped at a local burger place called Dick’s that we hadn’t tried before. Mr. K had spotted it on his guys’ trip earlier in the summer but hadn’t stopped. Fortunately, the huckleberry shakes were still in season when we got there.
We also did a tiny bit of exploring in downtown Spokane, including the biggest Rite Aid I’d ever seen. It had lots of groceries and all sorts of stuff my Rite Aid stores in Michigan don’t stock. By the time we made it to our part of Idaho, the Pie Hut was closed, but they hadn’t locked the door yet so we were able to get a couple pies to take up to the condo with us (one sweet and one savory). The Fall Festival was winding down for the day when we arrived at Schweitzer, so we did not get any beer or wine or cider but did walk over and say hello to the trail horses and get to see a wild mule deer who wanted to share their hay. It took no time at all before I felt like the Grinch after his heart grew three sizes—something about being the mountains, specifically on the mountain I’ve adopted as my future home, makes my spirit soar. I look at down to the lake and up to the peak and everything just feels good.
The next day, we slept in and then walked down to the village and picked up our ski season passes and the free single day summer lift tickets that came with them. We rode up the lift and hiked our way back down, picking huckleberries as we went. We arrived back in the village with purple-stained fingers and plunged into the Fall Festival activities, sampling beer and wine and hard cider and various offerings from the food vendors (like salmon tacos). We ended our festival day with another ride up the lift. This time, we rode down, too, encountering a line to get on that was way longer than most we encounter to get on the lift during ski season. I couldn’t complain too much because all those people being there meant the resort was bringing in money in the off season and I want the resort to thrive.
Monday, which was also Labor Day, started out rainy, which made the last day of the Festival less festive, but we went into the village anyway and sampled more beer and cider and food while watching and listening to the first band of the day, The Alliance, who were quite entertaining—they even brought their own court jester. The rain stopped during their set, so we were able to wander the village and shop at that point without getting soggy. We’d seen and drunk and eaten enough by early afternoon, so we went back to our condo and then headed out for a walk in the neighborhood, which led to more huckleberry picking. When you can see the berries from the road, you just got to stop and get you some. So what if your fingertips turn purple.
Tuesday we puttered around the condo and also revisited the excellent huckleberry patch up the road that we’d found the day before and picked until the bags we’d brought were full. There were plenty of berries left, so many berries; it was hard to stop. Wednesday we returned to the trail which had defeated me in 2011. This time we brought more water, and I wore my cooling neckerchief. It was hot, and I got hot, but I did not get so overheated that I felt the need to turn back before we reached the top and were rewarded with this view:
Thursday I went down to Coeur d’Alene while Mr. Karen stayed at the condo and worked on various projects. On the way way back, I stopped at a cemetery that we’ve driven by many times. There weren’t a lot of older headstones here, but a lot of the modern ones were interesting to look at, decorated with nature motifs—pine trees and lakes and deer and mountains and such. One had a logging truck carved into it. Some had color added. There were plenty that made me wish I knew more about the people memorialized; I took photos so one day perhaps I will do the research and find out. Friday was all condo projects all the time. We didn’t finish everything we wanted to get done but we made a fairly good dent in the list we’d made for this trip. Then Saturday we flew home. The two hour drive to the airport plus the flight time plus the layover plus losing three hours to the time zone change makes for a long day, but it’s worth it. I sure look forward to the time after we retire when we can spend weeks at a time in our mountain and not have to try and cram all the fun and all the work into these short stretches. Of course, I realize how fortunate I am to be in this position.