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International Selkirk Loop motor route detailed in new book

OUTDOOR TRAVEL — A photographic journey encircling the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho, eastern Washington and southeastern British Columbia has been compiled into a new book.

“Selkirks Spectacular” (Keokee Books) highlights the International Selkirk Loop, a 280-mile scenic route named by Rand McNally as one of five “Best of the Roads.”

The book features more than 300 images by photographers Jerry Pavia and Tim Cady along with chapters written by Canadian Ross Klatte on the history, geology, communities, natural features, attractions, and the flora and fauna showcase this beautiful corner of the earth.

A book publication party with the authors and photographers is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21, at The Pearl Theater, 7160 Ash St. in Bonners Ferry.

The book captures highlights from Lake Pend Oreille to Kootenay Lake to endangered woodland caribou and ruffed grouse as well as the region's mining and logging legacies.

The book has two front covers, one for the U.S. side and one for the Canada side. Halfway through, readers flip the book over and start again from the other side.

Group leading hikes into choice North Idaho destinations

TRAILS —  A North Idaho conservation organization has been leading group trips to acquaint the public with special backcountry areas this summer.  Some choice Inland Northwest destinations remain on the schedule in August and September.

Experienced leaders with the Idaho Conservation League have stepped up to organize the treks — mostly hikes but also some kayak paddles. The treks have ranged from easy to strenuous.

Visit the website, www.idahoconservation.org, or call (208) 265-9565, for contacting leaders prior to the trip. Assess your abilities accordingly as you check out these offerings. 

Sunday, Aug. 17,  West Fork Lake and Peak – A moderate 6- to 7-mile hike in the Selkirk Mountains, Bonner Ferry Ranger District.

Aug. 31, Snow Lake - A moderately strenuous hike of nearly 10 miles roundtrip in the Selkirk Mountains, Bonners Ferry Ranger District. Option to scramble to West Fork Peak for fantastic views of the Selkirk Crest.

Sept. 6, Chimney Rock – A moderately strenuous 11-mile roundtrip hike from the Pack River to the iconic granite spire of the Selkirk Crest.

Sept. 7, Upper Priest Lake kayak – Paddle up the “Thorofare” to Upper Priest Lake from Beaver Creek Campground area, at least six miles round trip.

Sept. 12, Trout-Big Fisher Lakes – A moderately strenuous 12-mile roundtrip hike to a pair of nifty mountain lakes.

Sept 14, Beehive Lakes scramble – A strenuous 12-mile hike involving trail walking and cross-country scrambling over granite talus slopes between Harrison and Beehive lakes at the head of the Pack River drainage.

Sept. 19-21, Lion’s Head Backpack – Six hardy backpackers will be allowed on this difficult, double overnight involving off-trail bushwhacking and boulder hopping to Lion’s Head Peak, an often seen but rarely visited Selkirk Crest granite icon beyond Priest Lake.

Heat wave leaves Selkirk Mountains lakes ice-free

HIKING — What a difference a week makes this time of year in the Idaho Selkirk Mountains.

Last week I reported ice still covering Beehive and Little Harrison lakes at 6,200 feet elevation up the Pack River drainage in the heart of the Selkirks.

Seeing the late opportunity to make some turns on the snow fields above Beehive Lakes, local skier Mike Brede trekked in on Saturday and found a slightly different scene.  

There was still enough snow to make a run of 975 vertical feet from twin Peaks down to the upper Beehive Lake (see photo, that's the ice-free upper lake at the bottom of the run).

But the ice was gone from Beehive and Little Harrison lakes.

"And the mosquitoes are out now," Brede confirmed.

See more of his photos on Facebook.

Selkirk Mountains lakes still frozen above 6,200 feet

HIKING — Despite the heat wave the moved into the region on Sunday, plenty of snow and ice remained in the high Selkirk Mountains of Idaho.

I joined a group of hikers, drove north of Sandpoint and followed the Upper Pack River Road to the Beehive Lakes trailhead a mile from the end of the road.  (Eight cars were parked at the Harrison Lake TH and our group brought the total to six at Beehive TH).

Within a few hours, we had followed the trail and the short section of cairns over granite slabs just over 3 miles to upper Beehive Lake elev. 6,457 feet and found it frozen with only a little water around the edges showing.

Scrambling up a ridge toward the crest, we looked down on Little Harrison Lake, 6,271 feet elevation (see Harrison Peak in the top right background of the photo above). It, too, was still iced over.

 But the trail into Beehive was snow-free and scrambling was good on the granite slabs and ridges.

The snow is going to go fast in this hot weather, though.  We were able to easily cross Beehive Creek over some cut branches on the way up. But on the way down that creek had swelled from snowmelt and everyone got his feet wet as the water poured over the makeshift woody debris bridge.

Other observations:

  • Excellent conditions for glissading.
  • Moose on the trail.
  • No mosquitoes at Beehive, yet.

Other reports: