Welcome to North Idaho

To live in a place other people dream of visiting is incredible. Through the lens of my camera OnLocation North Idaho will bring you a slice of life as we know it in the Idaho panhandle. Enjoy!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Floating on the Flood Waters

The Cedars Floating Restaurant has been floating at the mouth of the Spokane River at Lake Coeur d'Alene for decades. After being closed for the past week due to high waters that submerged the suspension walkway from Blackwell Island, The Cedars re-opened today. The waters are just an inch or so below the walkway and part of the parking lot is still underwater but it was a treat to sit in the sunshine on the floating deck and watch the fast moving waters flow by.


It's a record breaking ski season in North Idaho and I'm not talking being pulled behind a boat! Silver Mountain Resort, home of the world's longest gondola in Kellogg, will be open for skiing this Saturday and Sunday. Since Sunday is June 1, it will mark the latest downhill skiing season for the mountain once known as Jackass Ski Bowl. Shush.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Swimming in Melted Snow

The two-plus mile swim leg of the Coeur d'Alene Ironman competition was a bit dicey in 2007. Choppy, cold water on Lake Coeur d'Alene got the best of some athletes. In 2008 another challenge is presenting itself...the flood waters of recent days. The flood waters are caused by melting snow so the lake temperature is a brisk 49 degrees. Ironman officials are looking for temperatures of at least the mid-50s for the safety of the swimmers. Less than four weeks until the June 22 event so we'll need to see some serious sunshine here in North Idaho. Soon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Wearing of the White

It's now officially after Memorial Day so break out the white shoes. The Fashion Police give us the green light!


The fourth Tuesday in May is the date of Idaho's primary elections every two years. The polls are open until 8 p.m. VOTE!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Water Hazard

Disc golf is a popular year 'round sport in North Idaho, with several scenic courses from Schweitzer Mountain to Fort Sherman Park to enjoy. This golfer seemed a bit perplexed on Memorial Day at the Corbin Park course when he came upon the 11th "hole". The 4' tall basket was submerged by the high waters of the Spokane River.
For a list and descriptions of North Idaho disc golf courses click on the logo above for the link to fyinorthidaho.com.

We Honor Them

Memorial Day dawned sunny in North Idaho, ideal for the numerous veterans-hosted memorial services at area cemetaries and public monuments. The black marble Killed in Action monument at the Ronald D. Rankin Veterans Memorial Plaza at the Kootenai County Courthouse honors local servicemen who died in combat from the Spanish American War through Vietnam.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


The 31st running of the Coeur d'Alene Marathon in the middle of the Memorial Day weekend drew 340 competitors in a 26.2 mile course around some of the most scenic North Idaho views. 1,156 runners went the half-marathon route and another 204 ran a 5k. That's 1,700 people from all over the country who came to run, sweat, cramp and hopefully cross the finish line at Riverstone. Bragging rights and a medallion were earned by all.

Marathoners aren't traditionally flamboyant, preferring function over fashion but these psychedelic running shoes spotted at the finish line having the timing chip removed, proved that old hippies are alive and well and still capable of athletic achievement. Far out.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Watching the River

Lake Coeur d'Alene crested on Friday and on Saturday hundreds of mostly local people visited Falls Park in Post Falls to marvel at the Spokane River flowing at 37,800 cubic feet per second over the Post Falls dam. So just how fast and furious is the water with the spill gates wide open? Compare to May 2007 when the rate of flow was 9,684 cubic feet per second. Or the normal summer flow of 3,144 cfps in June and 1,028 cfps in July.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Signs of Summer

It's a soggy start to the first three-day weekend of the summer season in North Idaho. The tourism industry is the cornerstone of the Coeur d'Alene area and the uncommon flooding from the record-breaking winter snowfall will take a toll on many local businesses. But by the time Ironman comes to town and the 4th of July rolls around, we'll all be frolicking at the lake in the bright sunshine.The entrance to Coeur d'Alene's lakeside city park at Independence Point shows the flooded beach, sidewalk and parking lot as the three-day Memorial Day weekend starts.
At Blackwell Island RV Park on the Spokane River, this sign seems a bit unnecessary under the current conditions.
The no wake zone for boaters now extends to most North Idaho lakes and rivers, if boaters are foolhardy enough to risk hitting the submerged deadhead logs and debris that the floodwaters have deposited in the lake.The Memorial Day boat show on the Coeur d'Alene Resort marina's boardwalk is dampened by portions of submerged walkways.
The Cedars is an iconic Lake Coeur d'Alene eatery, unique as a floating restaurant. This week The Cedars closed because the suspension bridge walkway down to the restaurant is now horizontal and partially submerged.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sanders Beach Sandbags

On the east side of Tubbs Hill, Lake Coeur d'Alene's Sanders Beach shoreline is rising up the seawall. At the nearby 11th Street Marina, Hanna and Associates parking lot is filling with floodwaters but the sandbags are at the ready.

A Day at the Lake

The flood conditions will make Memorial Day a watery weekend with limited opportunities to camp, boat and enjoy the beaches but North Idahoans are a resilient bunch. Coeur d'Alene's city beach and river road at North Idaho College have become a tourist attraction of sorts. Flood watching of familiar places will likely be added to the list of things to do this weekend.
The steps down to the beach in front of the Gumprect home on West Lakeshore Drive have disappeared.The Independence Point lot is minus a few rows of parking.
The boardwalk bridge at the Coeur d'Alene Resort Marina is submerged past the steps. The opening for boats to enter the lake is shrinking.
The NIC beach volleyball net looks more ready for a game of water polo. Scroll down to the May 4 post to see what this beach looked like a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How high will it go?

Here's Coeur d'Alene's city beach in April and at flood stage today. The photo below is what we hope it will look like again real soon!

Down by the River

The flooding continues on the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, and on most other North Idaho lakes and rivers this week. One of our favorite summer activities is floating the Coeur d'Alene River and camping at Albert's Landing at the one-way bridge. On May 15 the top photo shows the shrinking riverbank at the campground. By May 19 the bank and campground had disappeared under the muddy flood waters. The last photo shows our regular campsite, which in the summer is at least 50yards from the river.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Here's where it starts...

I've been "onlocation" in Montana and North Dakota since last Thursday evening but on the way out of town and again this afternoon as we returned we took the scenic route to view some of the Silver Valley flooding on the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River. Today we stopped at Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation area at the Montana/Idaho border. These views of just how much snow is still on the mountains in mid-May gives some perspective to how much flooding is still yet to come. And note that the photo of me standing barefoot in the water in front of a bank of snow is actual snow depth, not snow that's been piled high by a snow plow. Also note that I'd been traveling by car for about 18 hours and was holding my pants up out of the really cold water ... hence the high fashion look and odd posing. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wide Load

A giant pipe is transported around the corner at Independence Point on Sherman Avenue to detour around the aging I-90 underpasses through Coeur d'Alene.

Hot Weather, Cold Water

The first really warm temperatures of the season, nearing 90 degrees, will bring people out to area lakes and rivers, many of which in North Idaho are nearing flood stage. And that water is still just plain cold and running fast and high. This photo is of the Spokane River below the dam at Post Falls at Corbin Park.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A rite of spring...

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano or the running of the bulls in Pamplona, an annual ritual of celebration occurs this time of year in our office when the new edition of The Guide to North Idaho is sent off to the printer. That it coincided with my birthday this year was just a bonus!

Sawing Logs

North Idaho's history is rich in timber and mining, two industries which have felt the econominc hits in recent years. Since 1958 the DeArmond Stud Mill, on the mouth of the Spokane River at Lake Coeur d'Alene, was a mainstay of the logging industry. This week the mill will cease operations. Although there are still several mills operating in Kootenai County, including Stimson's Hauser mill, Potlatch and Idaho Veneer in Post Falls and Merritt Brothers in Athol and the Riley Creek mill in Chilco, it's still sad for us to see the old way of life disappear. This forklift moves one of the final loads of lumber at DeArmond a few weeks ago.

Monday, May 12, 2008


North Idaho loves classic cars and the season of the hot rod has started. Last weekend's Depot Days car show in Wallace is followed by this weekend's Lost in the '50s in Sandpoint. More than shiney old cars are on tap, there's Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and Little Peggy March to get everyone in the flashback mode. In June, it's Coeur d'Alene's Car d'Lane and July is the month of the River City Rod Run in Post Falls. Vaaarrroooom!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Battle of the Titans

When Duane Hagadone completes construction of his new 22,000 sq. ft. home at Casco Bay on Lake Coeur d'Alene in 2009, he will own the second largest house in North Idaho's Kootenai County. The largest house, you ask? The Puryear compound on the Spokane River in Post Falls, which is 30,000+ square feet.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Moving Day

For 76 years this 4,400 sq. ft. log house was a fixture on the beautiful shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene's Casco Bay. Built from larch and Douglas fir in 1932, for over three decades it belonged to Coeur d'Alene businessman Duane Hagadone. Now the home has been sold to Kootenai County Sheriff Rocky Watson to make room for Hagadone to construct a new 22,000 sq. ft. home on the Casco Bay site. Watson is having the log house barged to his Cougar Bay lakefront property this week. The photo above shows the house as it was last summer, and below in two pieces atop barges in Cougar Bay. To give some perspective to the scale of moving a home this size on water, the larger section shown in the second photo weighs about 85 tons and the last photo shows the smaller 45-ton section. As soon as the lake levels rise the sections will be hoisted up out of the lake onto a new foundation where it will be reassembled. The Watsons plan to have the home listed on the historic register.

Sing a song of sixpence ...

... a pocket full of rye, four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
This eagle-eyed blackbird looks for lunch on the riverbank.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Day at the River

These Canada goslings braved the water by the shoreline to practice swimming before resting on a log boom to watch the Spokane River roll by. I'll go "on location" with the babies over the next several weeks to document their progress.

Monday, May 5, 2008

And we thought it would never arrive!

But it's finally Cinco de Mayo! Ole!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sweet Dreams Louise

Louise Shadduck was many things in her 92 years, descended from Coeur d'Alene pioneers, she was a North Idaho icon. When she was named Idaho's State Secretary of the Department of Commerce in 1958, no other woman in the country had held that position. Louise authored books on Idaho history and received accolades and honors throughout a career that spanned politics and news reporting. She made a wonderful life in North Idaho and she made our lives richer for having known her.
RIP Louise ... 1915-2008

I've taken photographs of many beautiful things in my time, including this photo of Louise in Oct. 2007.

Spring Spike

There's nothing like a spirited game of beach volleyball on Lake Coeur d'Alene to kick off the warm weather of spring, as these young men discovered this weekend.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Mother Goose

North Idaho is home to flocks of Canada Geese, the plentiful lakes and rivers providing the perfect habitat for raising a family. The first hatchlings of spring stay close to "mom" on the Spokane River near North Idaho College this week.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Derby Day

North Idaho is a long way from Kentucky's Churchill Downs, although for many years the Rathdrum Prairie was one of the largest producers of Kentucky Bluegrass seed. On the first Saturday in May the run for the roses is the big ticket at the Greyhound Park Events Center in Post Falls. Formerly a greyhound racing venue, in recent years it's become the site of the annual Julyamsh Pow Wow and a favorite off-track paramutual wagering location. So if you want to put a couple of bucks on one of the twenty contenders in the first jewel of horseracing's Triple Crown, the Greyhound Park is right off of I-90 at the Pleasantview Exit.