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!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Moose Tracks

Inbetween shoveling and plowing and being inconvenienced by all of this snow, it's not difficult to see the quiet beauty in North Idaho's winter landscape if we slow down long enough to look around. A solitary set of moose tracks through a snowy field at Mica Bay south of Coeur d'Alene defines what I love best about my Idaho home.

Monday, December 29, 2008

4-Legged Fun

Dogs have a way of finding the fun in any situation, including record snowfall. Lucy didn't let a few feet of snow in the yard dampen her enthusiasm for playing frisbee, even if it meant tunneling through the snow.

The US Mail

While most North Idahoans stay snuggled up inside on this snowy day, the postman has chained up his tires and braved the backroads to bring the mail ... thanks to the neighbor boys for making sure the mailboxes are accessible. Now if we could just get the mail carriers to hold the junk mail and bills and only deliver good news and checks, it would be a perfect world!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Up on the rooftop ...

Many North Idaho residents are OnLocation on their roof tops this weekend, removing snow accumulations that have become heavy with the thaw the past few days. This fellow shovels snow from the roof of a Fernan Village home.
Coeur d'Alene Press, www.cdapress.com
The 9.9 inches of snowfall Saturday broke the record of 7 inches for the date set in 1937, said climatologist Cliff Harris, with 11 to 13 inches in the northern part of the county. That brings the season total to 80.1 inches, and the December total of 77.9 inches close to the monthly record of 82.4 inches set in January 1969.
"We only need four and a half inches to break the record, and we have 9 inches coming between Sunday and Wednesday night," said Harris.
Saturday was the first time since Dec. 12 that temperatures went above freezing, hitting the mid-30s by early evening. Another bank of cold air, with temperatures in the high 20s, means the old record will likely fall by Monday. Then the biggest storm since the Dec. 18 record snowfall will hit, bringing another 8 to 14 inches of snow.

Friday, December 26, 2008

12 Days Reflected

There may be only five more days of December and the year 2008 but the 12 Days of Christmas continue at the North Pole on Lake Coeur d'Alene. The Coeur d'Alene Resort's Journey to the North Pole (Casco Bay) continues through the month so we took the family OnLocation aboard Coeur d'Alene Cruises the day after Christmas. Santa and Mrs. Claus were doing their post-holiday straightening up of the workshop. The light show on the shoreline included a unique rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas, the lights reflecting in the wintery water as the snow began to fall again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sweet Traditions

Decorating sugar cookies with frosting made from powdered sugar and food coloring and sprinkling candies on top is a tradition shared with my children. This year was no exception as the youngest daughter braved the winter roads to travel home to North Idaho from Utah. We made angels and bells and trees and candy cane shaped cookies. Making a mess and making memories. Even though my little girl is a 32-year-old married woman, the decorating of cookies took us back in time this Christmas eve.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On Donner and Blitzen

A pair of deer in Fernan Village are looking forward to a visit from their cousin Rudolph on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Waiting for Santa

The snow-covered Mudgy and Millie statue seems to be looking toward the horizon at Independence Point in Coeur d'Alene ... waiting for the sound of sleighbells in the sky. The statue is one of several in a new public art project in the Lake City. http://mudgyandmillie.com/

Trail or Snow Tunnel?

The Centennial Trail runs through Coeur d'Alene City Park next to Lake Coeur d'Alene. On these cold and snowy North Idaho winter days, not many walkers or runners are out and about.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Partridge in a Pear Tree!

In the winter months I move the birdfeeders to the back deck so I can enjoy the community of visitors. About three dozen resident house sparrows have been sharing the bounty this past week. Among the new faces (beaks) we've seen ... mourning doves, juncos, finches, chickadees, speckled starlings and a regular winter visitor, the flickertail woodpecker who along with the starlings prefers the suet cakes. We've seen everything but a partridge in a pear tree but we are visited regularly by a dozen or so quail!

Snowy steps

The steps leading down to the water on Lake Coeur d'Alene at Independence Point are filled with beachgoers in the summer months. December finds them empty and covered in a blanket of white.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Perfect Winter Day

From the same vantage point that the photograph of the floating green was made, this view of the point at Tubbs Hill on Lake Coeur d'Alene in the sunshine captured what I love about winter in North Idaho. On those days that the sun shines on the white powder snow, as it clings to the branches in a forest of green, I bask in my good fortune to live where I'm surrounded by such incredible beauty.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Floating in Fog

Air temperatures at zero created beautiful fog on Lake Coeur d'Alene on Saturday. The Coeur d'Alene Resort's floating golf green and floating boardwalk took on a mystical appearance in the morning sun.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Governor of Idaho-ho-ho!

OnLocation North Idaho received a card in the mail today from Idaho Governor Butch Otter. We appreciate the governor spending a lot of time here in the Idaho Panhandle, including during the snow storm on Wednesday when he was in Rathdrum for the Capitol for a Day program. The inside of the Christmas card includes A Cowboy's Christmas Prayer poem.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

School closures were the norm after the record setting snowfall overnight, including the Lakeland School District. District 272 covers over 350 square miles with 50 bus routes, many in rural areas such as Rathdrum, Bayview, Spirit Lake, Athol and Hauser Lake. Most school districts in North Idaho were closed today and will be now until the first week of January 2009.

No Snow Day for Some

By mid-afternoon with no end in sight to the falling snow, many government offices were closed in North Idaho, including Post Falls City Hall. But there, as in other cities, maintenance staff, public works employees, law enforcement and emergency services personnel will be on the job throughout the night plowing roads, assisting the traveling public and keeping us safe. By tomorrow it should be back to business as usual.

Slow going

This morning a neighbor navigated Powderhorn Street in northwest Post Falls before the city snow plows made an appearance. Somewhere between 20 and 30 inches of new snow has fallen in the past 24 hours in North Idaho, breaking records. We'll definately be doing more than dreaming of a white Christmas next week!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let it snow!

This neighborhood Santa shows the snow that began falling in North Idaho today and will continue with several more inches overnight. City streets, highways and I-90 have been tricky to travel with a layer of ice now covered in snow. Be careful out there. 24 hours later Santa is completely covered in snow!

Icy coat

On the icy shoreline of Lake Coeur d'Alene this moss-covered rock is encased in ice.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Above the tree tops

Martin Fabrication on Railroad Avenue in Post Falls has a unique way to display their Christmas tree ... hoisted with a lift about 50' in the air!

On the hunt

The really cold temperatures haven't slowed the bald eagles' need to hunt on the chilly waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene. This eagle comes in for the grab of a kokanee salmon in the afternoon sun. It takes extra effort to get airborn again with the fish on board.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Brrrr it's cold out there

But these arctic systems create beauty, too.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Icy Welcome

The water features at the I-90 exits/entrances to Post Falls on Spokane Street are dressed for the season in ice. Temperatures in North Idaho will continue to fall below zero in the coming week so bundle up!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Memory of Winter 2007/08

With our first real winter storm arriving in mid-December this year, about a month later than it did in 2007, North Idahoans have had a bit of a respite. Last winter came early and was still dropping snow in early April. By May the floods came and delayed boat launch openings and frolicking at the lake until the 4th of July. It makes it easier to put this current and more typical winter into perspective. This photo of snow depth at Lookout Pass was taken on May 19, 2008.

Frosty's on his way

Frosty the Snowman's belated arrival in North Idaho will be on the Arctic Express! For the next three or four days we'll see several inches of new snow and frigid, even below zero temperatures. As these icicles on my front porch in January show, winter weather provides much beauty but it's also the time to take precautions. The Kootenai County Office of Emergency Management site has info on winter storms and what you can do to be prepared, at home and on the road. http://oem.kcgov.us/

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ruling the Roost

Here's an insider's tip for your eagle watching trip to Higgens Point. Look for a black truck with STAYWET plates and this guy toting a giant camera/lens. It's renowned local diving instructor and eagle photographer extraordinaire Tom Michalski. He shoots out there nearly every day and loves to talk photography, eagles and life on the lake. Ask to see his albums of eagle shots ... they're incredible!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Still dropping!

In Coeur d'Alene today gas prices are lower than I recall seeing them for years. It's anyone's guess how low they'll continue to drop.

Soaring population of eagles

This eagle snatches up a salmon which he then took back to a tree top perch for lunch last week. The number of migrating bald eagles on Lake Coeur d'Alene is growing. This week's US Bureau of Land Management wildlife survey counted 127 eagles in the Higgens Point/Wolf Lodge Bay area on Monday, up from 88 last week and 59 the week after Thanksgiving. A record 156 eagles were counted in December 2004. The highest counts usually occur the week before Christmas. *see posts below for more photos and directions to Higgens Point viewing area.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Where has the year gone?

The 24' wide pine wreath on the parking garage entrance to the Coeur d'Alene Resort is locally made and weighs nearly three tons. It's hard to believe there's only about three weeks left in 2008 and we've yet to see snow!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


A pair of young deer enjoy the view from the first hole at Avondale Golf Course in Hayden Lake.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home

There's an entire subdivision of gingerbread houses in downtown Coeur d'Alene this weekend, prompting the Gingerbread Walk through local businesses. Both children and adults created the sweet treats. At the Resort Plaza Shoppes several dozen are on display. It's fun to see the unique "ingredients" used in the decor, such as frosted mini shredded wheat roofing and pretzels taking the place of a white picket fence.