Weekend Canoe Trip

8:14 p.m. on August 13, 2014 (EDT)
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Nothing terribly exotic here, just a simple relaxing weekend on a lake.

It's been simply much to warm up here lately, even hitting 80 degrees at home!
The smoke from wildfires in western Washington and Oregon have been clouding the skies, so we simply got up and left for a weekend at Idaho's Priest Lake, one of my favorite hangouts.

We spent a great deal of time on this trip traveling up Caribou creek and upper Priest river that feed into the lake. Up we'd go either paddling, lining the boat upstream with the bow and stern painters, simply walking upstream hauling the boat, portaging around obstacles, ducking under low overhanging logs and hauling the boat over logs in the water.
There are many log jams across these stream which thankfully limit travel to all but the most determined. After a few portages it starts to feel like real wilderness.

Heidi standing on an unsupported log bobbing just below the surface after getting out of the boat to haul it over this obstruction. - Boy, does she have good balance! The water is cold and very deep, with a decent current here.


Dragging the boat upstream through shallow fast moving water, or just through the shallows of the lake. For a canoe trip, we spent lots of time walking!



It's always nice to be on clean water you can drink!



A well outfitted canoe, with bow and stern painters affixed to the boat, coiled and held in place with bungee cords permanently mounted to bow and stern decks, and with foam padding glued to the boat for kneeling on in rougher water. The padding in the middle if for when I solo paddle the boat, and kneel just forward of the center thwart and paddle the boat stern forward.


Lets see - On this trip we found wild spearmint, queens cup ( not yet ripe), lots of huckleberries, and wild scallions.





But what the heck is this?


We packed rather lightly for this two night trip, using our lightweight backpacking gear. Everything fit into one Duluth packsack.
Eer, we forgot to bring a trekking pole to hold up the front of our tent though, so we had to improvise!


Exploring in the forest on the east side of the lake we finally found a hidden spring I've been trying to find for decades. If you paddle very silently along the shore you can sometimes hear the trickle of water in this certain area. I've hiked all over a talus slope just to the left of this spot looking for the spring, but never found it, because it is hidden in thick woods to the side of the talus slop that apparently is its source. This is some good water!



I was a very refreshing trip but oh how I wish that motorized boats would be prevented from using this lake. The motor boats can play on the much bigger lower lake, and this smaller lake should be left quiet. It is terribly annoying to have to put up with the constant drone of engines and stink of exhaust, but the motor boats also throw heavy wakes that erode the shores and stir up the clear waters. This lake is now infected with trefoil from motor boats, and wild life is never seen on the shores where motor boats are using it. Very late in the year or very early in the season when no motor boats venture forth here one can see moose, deer, bear, beaver, blue herons, sometimes even a loon up here. But all that goes away when the motor boats arrive.

For decades I and others have wished this, but to no avail. At least the banks haven't been logged or developed.

On the way back to civilization we stopped for a meal at Nordmans, the first outpost of civilization. A trip like this really sharpens yer appetite and makes you appreciate the things civilization has to offer a little more!


6:36 a.m. on August 20, 2014 (EDT)
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Nice report Bob! Thanks

11:52 a.m. on August 20, 2014 (EDT)
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Nice report, Bob. A beautiful area. You don't see many canoes built by Stowe out here, certainly not since they folded. Their Mansfields were a nice shape.

5:05 p.m. on August 20, 2014 (EDT)
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Great trip Bob...I actually prefer the paddle over the trekking pole when paddling:-) I was wondering...what are the small dark patches on your quilt?

6:02 p.m. on August 20, 2014 (EDT)
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Nice growth of Allium schoenoprasum or wild chives. I love finding them in the north to cook with or make salads with the flowers.

8:11 p.m. on August 20, 2014 (EDT)
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Small dark patches on the quilt?

ARGH! Spiders everywhere!

Wait, I had to look to make sure we hadn't spilled anything on the quilt or something prior to taking that photo!

It's just the ties that go through the quilt to hold it together. The quilt isn't sewn through anywhere. Lets see -

I can't find any decent photos of that quilt, but this is me making ties in a similar quilt  -


That's a much thinner quilt there, so I got the yarn tied around the scissors I'm using. Don't want to pull the knot tight and make a cold spot in the quilt, so you need a loop the thickness of the batting.  

Hmm, maybe someone needs to invent a paddle attachment for trekking poles?

Anybody ever see anything like that weird berry I found? I still have no idea what it is.


That Mansfield is a replacement Stowe sent me when a the gel coat on a Stowe Prospector I bought delaminated.

Stuff just peeled right off the new boat. I wrote them a mournful letter, complete with photos, and after some time they called me to ask "Where you want the boat shipped to?"


They sent me a brand new boat! Shipped it to where I worked. It wasn't a Prospector, but you can't complain about a free boat.

The prospector I ground down, put on a layer of glass cloth, and painted red. It weighed about 90 pounds, and looked like an old abused wood canvas boat!

For many years that was my dedicated whitewater boat, and I kept the Mansfield for flatwater.

I've actually done the Bowron circuit in that Mansfield 16 footer!   




5:04 p.m. on August 21, 2014 (EDT)
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Bob, those berries and the leaves look like cascara( Rhamnus purshiana) which is a variety of buckthorn. It is fairly limited in range to the PNW.

10:25 a.m. on August 23, 2014 (EDT)
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We used to collect cascara bark to make money for school. We sold it to a pharmaceutical company.

I lived on the WA/ID border a long time ago. The lakes in the Panhandle of Idaho are absolutely wonderfull. Priest Lake and especially Pend O'reille are two of the best. Ponderay feels a lot like the inland version of the San Juan Islands.

I have always wanted to paddle the length of Roosevelt Res which is the Columbia River backed up behind Grand Coulee Dam for about 180 miles.

4:08 p.m. on August 23, 2014 (EDT)
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Thanks Bob...I thought that's what the dark spots might be due to their distribution.

10:31 p.m. on August 24, 2014 (EDT)
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great video. I have never been to Idaho and this canoe trip makes me want to go

June 25, 2018
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