Trekking Tales: International Selkirk Loop: Part 2

About then the conundrum: “I wonder where we’ll be when we get to where we know where we are,” was born

As our travels in the states around the International Selkirk Loop in August continued, abrupt changes of direction continued throughout our seven-day trip. I drove, Mary navigated and John agreed to all decisions in amiable fashion. Getting to the shore of many lakes we passed was fraught with difficulty: private land with large homes and beautiful green lawns surround them. Fortunately, State Parks provided scenic picnic sights.

On the main road towards Newport on the border between Idaho and Washington State, a road sign saying “Hoodoo Loop” had us detouring. We found neither hoodoos nor Newport. Instead we ended up in Priest River – which was where we wanted to be anyway, to drive north to Priest Lake. About then the conundrum: “I wonder where we’ll be when we get to where we know where we are,” was born.

Going into Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge took us to another winding, dusty, gravel road. We saw a chipmunk and one duck! Just beyond, at a Forestry Campsite on Starvation Lake, we ate lunch. We weren’t the only ones not starving: ducks and coots floated and dived; a young osprey called from its nest of sticks high in a dead tree at one end of the lake; a frog watched proceedings from within the lily pads. Across from us, small boats were tied to docks below comfortable homes on large rural properties.

Our inexpensive entertainment included several museums. At the Bird Aviation Museum in Sagle, ID, we met Dr. Forrest Bird, who used his knowledge of aviation to invent ventilators that replaced the ugly iron lung. Ninety-plus years young, he still flies helicopters and fixed-wing planes, some of which are in the museum, filled with fuel and ready to go out through the huge doors and into the sky. In a log cabin on the west side of Priest Lake, ID that once housed rangers, exhibits are tucked into each small room, including historical photographs, flora and fauna of the area, and memorabilia. We spent more hours at Stevens County Historical Museum in Colville, WA, poring over the contents of both the museum and on a tour of Keller House, built in 1910, and which contains many original furnishings.

At Gardner Caves near Metalline Falls, the park ranger took us down and down, beside stalactites and stalagmites of glorious sizes and shapes. An equally knowledgeable guide at nearby Boundary Dam Power Station took us back underground to see Seattle Power and Light producing electricity from water held back at a narrow part of Pend Oreille River.

To attend “Gold Fever Follies” in Rossland, B.C., we crossed back into Canada at Nelway near Salmo. Again following the Pend Oreille River, we bumped along a rocky road to the border crossing near Trail. Downtown Rossland was being dug up – totally, even under some of the historic structures. We looked at the scene in dismay, but managed to find, and access, the ice cream shop. The play’s the thing we’re here for, so off we went. In the old Miners’ Union building, lively and talented young actors and actresses danced and sang their way through a humorous play written especially for this summer’s shows.


Our time was running down. The Selkirk Loop has lots more on the B.C. side, familiar to the three of us, so we had concentrated on finding new territory in the USA. Leaving Mary at her home in Creston, John and I actually followed it again as we drove along the east side of Kootenay Lake, took the ferry across the lake, and arrived to spend a few precious days with friends in our old hometown of Kaslo. It was all good.