Monday, October 19, 2009

7th State: MT - Flathead Lake (Oct. 19, 2009)

Can’t believe I’m going to try for two paddles in two states within two days… but Montana is so close… and that lake, Flathead, looks so inviting.

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Beautiful Area… and I’m sure to return here.  There was an island off shore called Wild Horse Island.  I wanted to paddle around it.  There was one closer in nick-named “Boy Scout Island” and I only made it out to the northern tip of that island before having to turn around.  The water between the two islands was getting really rough and I only had enough time to get back to shore before dark.
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Upper land is Wild Horse Island and closer one is “boy scout” island.  Can’t think of it’s real name right now.

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The water was so clear… amazing.

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The sky was so grey.  I have to paddle all the way back to that farthest land coming out from the left and the wind is picking up.

2009_11_00_Wenatchee-zion 111 A loon?

I understand that the Indians used to take their horses out there to prevent anyone from taking them.  There are suppose to still be horses there, but I could not spot any through binoculars.  I will return when weather is more favorable and will also see if I can obtain permission to camp one night on the Wild Horse Island… so the paddle could be broken up into two segments/days.

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I feel the ice in the air… and the snow is chasing me.  I must head south.  I headed south on I90 to Missoula expecting mail there.  I waited a couple days but could wait no longer.  Had to go south with out my mail.  Nice sunset one of those nights though.

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Soon I was headed back into ID again… and explored the Driggs/Victor areas but didn’t recognize anything from when I was there on a mountaineering course in 1977.  Note the buffalo on top of that corner building.

2009_11_00_Wenatchee-zion 185 Tetons, from West side.

Crossed over into WY near the Grand Teton and took these photos.  The snow was chasing me and had caught a few people as I saw snow on their cars.  Motivated me to keep going south.

2009_11_00_Wenatchee-zion 199 The Grand.
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On, SwankieWheels… on southward.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

6th State: ID - Priest Lakes (Oct. 18, 2009)

October 18, 2009
Left Wenatchee, WA and passed through the mountains, across the amber waves of grain and finally arriving at the small little town of Waterville on top of the mesa East of the Columbia River Valley.  20091014-wenatchee-I 019
I imagined that if I were to live closer to my younger grandchildren, this might be the place for me.  Away from the pollution of the valley. Very interesting little town.  Loved the brick work on this church.
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Then leaving Eastern Washington State on Route 2 eastward through Coulee City (sure wanted to stop there and paddle).
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Then on past Spokane, then north on Rt. 2 to Newport, WA and finally I crossed into the upper panhandle of Idaho.  A guy at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival had told me about a great paddle between Upper Priest Lake and Lower Priest Lake… a throughway of 2.5 miles one way.  20091014-wenatchee-I 009
I then went north on Rt. 57 to the Lower Priest Lake.  Snow is chasing me.  I need to get my ID paddle in and head south.
There is no development along this waterway and no power boats allowed.  Pure wilderness.
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Heading out from Lower Priest Lake, aiming toward that light spot on the shoreline… then north through the throughway.
2009_10_19_MT 053 Fantastic.

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Up ahead a little ways was a loud noise, I thought (in my mind’s eye) it was a couple bear fighting in the water.  I didn’t know which way to go, retreat, rush ahead to get the shot, stand still (the current had different ideas.  Before I could sort out what to do, a moose family came walking through the tall grasses along the right shore… only about 20 foot from me.  By then I had managed to get my video camera out… and did get some good footage.  Now I just have to learn how to upload it here.

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This is the opening at the north end of the throughway… that’s Upper Priest Lake. Well, that fellow at the Port Townsend Boat Show was certainly right about this being a great paddle.  But now I only have about two hours of daylight left and want to get back to the van and get loaded up and head out.

I have felt that snow was chasing me… so I needed to get this paddle in and head south.

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2009_10_19_MT 042Took me about 30 minutes to load up and as I headed down the road, it began to rain on me, or was that sleet?

Following Rt. 200 toward Missoula along the Clark Fork River, beautiful.
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The Great Glacial Lake Missoula  ice rose four times higher than the Seattle 605ft Space Needle.  Ice was 3,500ft deep to the lake’s bedrock filling Lake Pend Oreille.  Only mountains with peaks taller than 4,500 foot would have been visible from the top of the glacier. 2009_10_19_MT 037
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Heading toward Montana now to try to get that paddle in before snow catches me.  But some funny things seen along the way:

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And not to forget the “dwellers”…

2009_10_19_MT 023  Snow is chasing me.

Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.