Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summer Daze

It's starting to smell a lot like Autumn. This is how it starts each year. No colors in the trees yet, but the smell of harvest is in the air. We've had a whirlwind summer season of road and trail building, tree planting, tree thinning/pruning, weed fighting, wildlife habitat development and enough basic land sculpting to give us
an awesome three season boondocking spot for as long as we feel like doing this fulltime RV thing.

We even had enough visitors that we "forced ourselves" to take time out from the satisfying tasks of forest management to actually explore the forests, streams and lakes that surround our property in Far North Idaho and British Columbia.

While most of the west is in drought, water just gushes out of the earth here. These falls on the Kootenay river look almost exactly the same today as they did in the late 1700's when they were first painted in water colors by early fur trappers/explorers. Google David Thompson for some interesting history.

All of these are nearby hikes where you can still be alone on the trail in the middle of summer.

Even the cows have it good up here.

Water in the mountains, water in the valleys, and still low humidity.

British Columbia is about 10 miles away. We didn't even scratch the surface of what there is to see within an easy day drive. What we did see reminded us of New Zealand (without the long flight).

There's plenty of wildlife. This guy likes a birch snag by our rig. He helps with the gophers.

They really like to twist their heads all the way around.

I don't know how long some of these deer will be around during hunting season based on how they like to stand and pose for us. That's OK though, there are way too many of them and they taste great!

Hiding in an alder grove protecting her brood.

Most people don't get as excited about trees as we do. If you're into forestry, Northern Idaho is to trees the way Napa Valley is to wine grapes. There isn't a better place to grow a huge diversity of tree species faster anywhere in the US. 

This white pine is about 400 years old. It's the state tree of Idaho, but there aren't very many left. A fungus called blister rust was introduced here from Europe in the early 1900's and wiped out the population. New blister rust resistant trees have been bred and the tree is being reintroduced. It's a beautiful tree, and we're planting hundreds on our place.

There are several spots in the national forest where you can find ancient cedar trees. Cedars and redwoods are genetically related. While redwoods grow larger, these cedars are older than any of the redwoods in CA. They are slower growing and much more disease resistant than redwoods. At this size they are too large to even be cut in a mill.

The largest hop farm in the US is right across the valley from us. The Clydesdales visited the hop farm this summer.

These are some big horses.

The hops trellising looks small from up above.

But the trellis system is about 25 feet high. A little bigger than the vineyards we were used to.

It wouldn't be summer without the dogs. They're getting old, but they were ready for action all season long.

The original coal miner's daughter from West Hazleton, PA, Susan's mom came for a visit in August.

We took her on a tour of the miles of old farm/logging roads on the property

A little relaxation after a long day of exploring.

And a side trip to Sandpoint and Lake Pend Oreille.

And Priest Lake, the jewel of Northern Idaho, even on a cloudy day. Roads going up the western and eastern sides of the lake actually dead end in wilderness about 20 miles south of the Canadian border. We found a nice private boondocking spot by the lake for next year.

The days are getting shorter and the sun is setting more to the south each day. It's almost time to start chasing it south again.

But before we start heading south in October, we're taking a post-Labor Day trip to the Montana side...Glacier National Park. Sunny days in the 60's and 70's are the perfect hiking weather for us and an excellent reason to skip the ugliness of the domestic/world news and the Internet for 10-14 days. We've scoped out some high potential boondocking spots in the national forest right next to the park. At least one of those will undoubtedly be a winner. We're way too spoiled to ever stay in another campground (even after Labor Day).


  1. Looks absolutely beautiful! You guys are definitely living the dream!!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Retirement is closer every day. In the meantime, drink lots of great wine.

  2. Jeesh. Your post got my nomadic and exploring genetic nature to start planning a trek to the far north next summer. So little time. Too much to explore.