This has been one amazing summer. I keep calling every trip (see Colorado, parts 1 and 2, California, and Crater Lake) my “last hoorah” before grad school. But this trip to Priest Lake, Idaho was the “official last hoorah” of summer, since I started school about 11 hours after we got home.
We were super privileged to spend the 4th of July weekend with some friends at Camp Cheryl Moody on the amazing shores of Priest Lake. Now, my only previous Idaho experience took place on our journey across America four years ago. And I have to say, southern Idaho was not the most thrilling place in the world. But take me to that Idaho panhandle any day! Is it safe to call this America’s best kept secret? I think so. It’s gorgeous.
To give you a little Idaho geography lesson (which I definitely needed myself, as I know very little of the country east of Oregon and west of the Mississippi), Priest Lake is in northern Idaho, bordered by the Selkirk Mountain Range. I’ve never really experienced mountain lakes big enough for motorized boats (we tend to have tiny mountain lakes in Oregon, like the one we visited last 4th of July), so this was pretty amazing.
Brent, Jess, Eric, and I set out for a little hike in the Selkirk Mountains, hoping to make it to the base of Chimney Rock. I wimped out when we got to an area of snowy mountainside, having failed to bring my hiking boots on this trip (my running shoes have zero traction on snow). Watching the folks in front of us slip and slide on the trail didn’t offer much encouragement, so we ended up taking the less terrifying route to Mount Roothaan, which was just lovely.
The chimney-shaped mountain in the middle of the photo below was our original destination. But the views from this spot weren’t too shabby. I had no idea Idaho could look like this.
I’d like to give a shoutout to Jess as MVP of this hike, coming prepared with an emergency blanket (and literally anything else you could ever need on a hike) that we all wrapped up in during lunch when the clouds and wind proved to be way colder than anticipated. What a great day for nature, Jess.
I shouldn’t forget to mention the drive to and from the trailhead, which proved to be an adventure of its own. We could see Chimney Rock from the house on the lake, but it took about an hour and a half to actually get there, thanks to the crazy roads. Shoutout to Cheryl Moody for letting us borrow her SUV, as our little cars would have bit the dust on that bumpy, winding, mountain road.
Back at Priest Lake, we had the most relaxing weekend playing on all of the water toys at Camp Cheryl Moody! Paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, and, best of all, water bikes. I had never seen such a ridiculously hilarious water toy in my life, but it was pretty awesome. It’s just like riding a bike, but on water. I’d like to use this in my next triathlon, please.
Eric and Jess both brought their drones on the trip, so we have plenty of photos and videos of life on the lake. Don’t mind me photobombing this drone shot on my water bike. Coolest kid on the water, for sure.
I’m generally 100% against selfies, but this moment on our paddle boards was too great to pass up. (By the way, I’m rocking my USA Cowbucker in all of these photos. You can get your own here, if you’d like.)
Thanks so much to Cheryl for being the world’s greatest hostess for our weekend at the lake! Here’s to you, Idaho. Who knew you looked so good?