Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wolf Lodge Campground and Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway

Last night's rest stop was fantastic.....very little traffic, no large truck engines, it really turned out to be a good free spot.  We got up and left around 7:30 just to stop at the next rest area up the road to eat breakfast.  This next rest area was Sprague Lake Rest Area on I-90. 

The sights of Central-Eastern Washington are not something that most would call "eye catching".  Few green areas, fewer areas with trees, and it was dry and fairly warm. 
 Above is a typical view of a few buildings associated with a ranch, while below is the more typical look of the area.

The Sprauge Rest Area was ok, although the dogs were looking for some green grass to run on.

A flock of ducks went right over my head, heading in a south-eastern direction.  I am sure this place will be full of ducks in another 6 weeks or so.  You can barely see them below in the upper left corner as they pass over a portion of Sprague Lake.
As we got closer to Spokane, we started to see trees, and green grass, and more water.

We stopped for fuel just inside the Idaho boarder, and made it to the Wolf Lodge Campground shortly after noon.  It is not a large RV park, and it allows tent camping, but most of it is RVs.  The sites are, like most, pretty close together, but the views around the park are pretty easy on the eyes.
 Above is the view in front and to the left (east), below is the view in front and to the right (west)

 Above is the view to the left, the little white building is the office and splits the park in half, while below is the view to the right...tent campers are at the end.  As the day went on, the park got more and more RVs coming in, which I thought was a bit strange since it was a Monday.  It is a nice mix of small families and couples like ourselves, with a few single individuals as well.
Since we got here so early, we decided to take a ride south along Lake Coeur d’Alene Scenic Byway, from I-90 along Idaho Highway 97.  We got down to Harrison before we turned back, and we had two side trips just off Highway 97 too in our quest for seeing some wildlife.
 Lake Coeur d'Alene is a natural lake which also had a dam, and runs about 25 miles long and up to 3 miles wide.  The lake has many bays within it, and one large slough.  There are also many smaller lakes to the east of the Lake, all formed formed by the Missoula Floods, around 12,000 to 15,000 years ago.  Below are a few shots of the lake.

It is a little hard to photograph because there are few turnouts, and many trees line the road which goes around the lake making it hard to photograph while the car is moving.

We also saw a few deer, but only captured this one.
As we got close to Harrison, there was a sign for Wildlife Viewing, so we turned down East Thompson Lake Road, which turned into a well packed gravel road fairly quickly.  The wildlife viewing was for waterfowl, which during the fall and spring is pretty outstanding.  We continued until the road turned paved as it got close to Lake Thompson, and we followed it to the right and ended up on the paved East Blue Lake headed back to highway 97.   

As we got close to 97, we saw a few Blue Heron, and we got one photo of one flying off in the distance.  You can just make it out in the top-middle of the picture below, it nearly blends in with the trees.

We also saw some large nest up in the power poles, which Marcia recognized as Osprey Nests.  We also saw some Osprey and Eagles just sitting on top of poles looking out for prey.

An Osprey sits on the pole looking out (above), while down the road a bit another Osprey was in this nest (below), and it was not alone because I saw at least one other head pop up at one point.
 Below we think this was a Bald Eagle because it looked like only its head was White, and not its chest as the Osprey were.
After we turned around at Harrison, we did see two more deer up in field, but it was so far away they can barely be seen.

About 1/2 way back to the motor home, I decided to turn on "Elk Road", which I took for three miles....there were lots of meadows, but no deer, elk or moose....but again, I did see another bunny rabbit, which I got a terrible picture of, but you can make it out that it is a rabbit.  

I think we are going to like it around Coeur d'Alene, and we are going to try and track down some large wildlife...but I know that we will see much of the large wildlife over the next few weeks as we head from here to Glacier National Park, and then to Yellowstone.  But for now, we are going to enjoy this beautiful area.

Which leads me to this thought to ponder.....earlier in the day we saw this....a fairly baron, desolate piece of earth.

...later in the day we see this....a lovely view, flush greenery, nice deep blue lake.
They are not that far in distance apart from each other, perhaps 100 miles, yet they look worlds apart.  Both are part of God's creation, both are equally important.  There is a lesson there somewhere....

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