The six hour drive to Coeur D’Alene began along the coast with the temperature at 54, before turning inland before Seattle into green woods, an easy climb across the Cascades into suddenly a desert, the temperature 90, with wide vistas, dry greener than the dry deserts of the South, across the river and reservoir, and as suddenly into farmland with irrigated fields labeled, field corn, sweet corn, timothy, alfalfa, peppermint, peas, beans, and potatoes, more and more potatoes, greater variety that I expected in Potato Land then through Spokane, into Idaho and Coeur D’Alene, near Lake Pend Oreille , and home to a naval base? I was as surprised, as you must be, to learn that the Navy tests new equipment on the 90,000 acre, 25 mile long, 1-3 mile long lake, clear and calm. Locals pulled my leg, saying that the bottom of the lake had never been found, but on-line it max’s out at 1150 feet. I read an article, Exploring the Depths, by Nick Rotunno in the Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls Press, Feb 17, 2011 about an exploration of the depths. Surprisingly, native species of fish have colonized the depths, where nothing grows. No sign of Nessie’s cousin, however.
In the morning, I went over to Tubbs Hill, a public park, on the Lake. A short, easy hike, on uneven ground, about 2.4 miles around the hill on the main trial, perhaps 100 feet up, the uphill trail goes another 300 feet. It is very popular, with families, runners, slow walkers, and more serious hikers – we recognize each other.
I met Tony, an ex-Marine on disability, walking the loop twice a day as therapy. He kept up with me, saying the challenge was good for him. He had spent time at Camp Pendleton and Oceanside, where I have spent the last three winters. I updated him on the changes to his old grounds. I couldn’t help but think of all the servicemen and women on the day after Memorial Day.
After Tubbs Hill, Gross Donuts caught my attention. (I have had a life-long weakness for donuts, surpassed only by that for coffee.) Gross Donuts appears to put fruit filling in everything, bear claws included, but then it was afternoon, perhaps other varieties had sold out. How strange. I prefer the light fluffy bear claw where sweetness comes from the claw itself.
This post has been corrected, correction in italics, the name of the lake.