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Posts Tagged ‘Schweitzer Ski Resort’

Schweitzer Summit

Schweitzer Summit

I hadn’t been hiking on Schweitzer since 1979.  Not much has changed.  That’s how it is with the physical world.  It outlasts all of us.  We’re just a blip in time.  Sure we think we’re forever, but despite all the hosannas, even Michael Jackson’s music will soon be forgotten.  It’s not human nature…we’re talking Mother Nature!

Last August in route to the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary celebration I posted about the posse travels and stop in Sandpoint, Idaho which is home to Schweitzer.   And again over this past July 4th holiday weekend I found myself disconnected from everything deemed important and traveling the “long-bridge” across Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced: ‘pond –oh– ray’)… the largest natural lake in Idaho.  The lake is 65 miles long and over 1100 feet deep in some areas which explains why the Navy continues to perform underwater acoustic testing at an old WWII base.

LibertySchweitzer mountain is an amusement park of the mind.  Rather than going on rides, being turned upside down by some mechanical contraption, you look at the Selkirk Mountain landscape and your mind does somersaults.  How did this happen?  It’s hard to imagine a glacier which was part of the continental ice sheet forming a lake over 800 feet deep as far away as Missoula, Montana.   Now it’s only a “small” remnant of all that glacial action.

One evening relaxing from a mountain hike I happen onto HBO and watched the Nicholas Stoller movie, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” starring Jason Segel and Kristen Bell.  It’s a comic look at one guy’s herculean task to deal with and get over a recent break-up.  Overall the movie was better than I first thought and afterward’s I caught the local news who were in an uproar over Sarah Palin’s resignation.  Palin was born in Sandpoint, and her father, Charles R. Heath, was a science teacher and track coach. I attended school where Charles taught after my father pulled orders for a tour in Vietnam and we relocated closer to relatives. Even though the Palin family moved to Alaska when she was an infant many in the area have a source of pride in her connection to the city.

Lake Pend Oreille

Lake Pend Oreille

I couldn’t help but connect the dots between the movie and how the resignation were seemingly intertwined.  Palin was like the ex-girlfriend they’re SO over, never want to see again, have already forgotten about – really it’s OVER – but they can’t stop talking about her.  Whatever you think of Palin, her argument for resigning seemed logical and the only “incoherent rambling” was coming from the obsessively focused media who couldn’t stop talking about her resignation and her potential TV show…yep, they are SO over her!  I half expect to see Keith Obermann (MSNBC) crying because he has no one to help drive up his viewer numbers.

Instead most folks that I visited were asking: Have you seen all the Michael Jackson coverage on TV?  Or speaking of resignations, how’s work going?  And what’s going on with all the IED troop casualties in Afghanistan?  It was a hysteria filled July 4th news cycle, but I’m thinking everyone needs to take a moment of pause, get some wind in the face, hike a mountain summit and enjoy becoming placed in natural perspective.

Photos taken at Sandpoint and Schweitzer Summit.

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I departed Saturday, August 23rd with an 8am arrival at the Flying J truck stop in Troutdale to meet up with the posse.  We decided to cut our own trail rather than follow the dealer rides and took a non-sanctioned northern route to the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary event in Milwaukee.  This meant riding north to get near the Canadian border on Hwy 2 as quickly as possible to begin our Eastward trek.

The weather was brisk, but ideal for riding.  We headed east through the Columbia Gorge via I-84 where we watched windsurfers in Hood River and had breath taking views of the Columbia river. We saw the locks, barges of grain, and fishing boats.  The scenery is always large and impressive in the gorge.  By the time we arrived in the Richland area for lunch we had hot temperatures and moderate cross winds. 

The terrain in this area gets dull, and the road gets even duller. It’s a confusing area where 395 joins I-82 for a while crossing the Columbia River, but even after it breaks away from interstate, it remains a heavily traveled limited-access highway with lots of traffic as it runs northeast for about 150 miles to Spokane, Washington.  This route took us toward greener country near the Idaho state line. At Spokane, on I-95 east we headed to Coeur d’Alene, ID where we picked up highway 95.  It heads north before reaching the Canadian border.  There is a lot of scenic beauty through the forests of northern Idaho. The traffic gets thinner the farther north you get.

We ended the ~430 mile day crossing over the Sandpoint Long Bridge in Sandpoint, Idaho.  Sandpoint is in, Bonner County and has a little more than 7000 residents. The key industry is recreation/tourism thanks to scenic Lake Pend Oreille and the Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort. A little known bit of trivia is it’s the headquarters of Coldwater Creek which is the women’s apparel retailer.

We stayed at the Quality Inn which is located at the beginning of the Pend Oreille Scenic Byway.  We met up with some friends at the Edgewater Resort and ate dinner in the Beach House Restaurant and had a few refreshments to enjoy the sunset on the lake.

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

As a bonus we ran into Ben Stein (writer, actor, TV personality) in the restaurant bar.  Sandpoint seems to call the “rich and famous” for all types of recreational activity.  You’ll have to trust me that it’s Ben because it’s not very clear in this photo unless you have zoom capability.

Interested to know more about our “Ride Home”?  Read the road blogs for: Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE and Day 5 HERE.

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