Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Clark Fork, Idaho

Since my dad is here visiting, we have been having a wonderful time together.  My dad had put in a special order to the "Man Upstairs" for cooler weather.  Apparently he must have some special connection there, because it has definitely been cooler since the moment Dad arrived.  He landed on the ground, and shortly after a huge thunderstorm hit, and it really hasn't stopped raining since.  I think we've had maybe two days of partial sun since he's been here. 

However, this past Sunday, the sun put on her best attire and kicked the clouds far away into the horizon, and we were so very thankful for that beautiful day of sunshine! So, we decided to take a little road trip, and headed for the Scotchman Peak Mountains in Clark Fork, Idaho.  This is a road trip I've been wanting to take  for a while, but it seems we would always end up somewhere else along the way, instead of here.  But today, we set Clark Fork as our destination, and we arrived! 

As you travel on Highway 200 east of Sandpoint, the beautiful scenery is like eating pieces of sweet candy at every bend in the road.  The views of the pristine blue waters of Lake Pend O'Reille set the stage against the backdrop of the Cabinet Mountains

We stopped at a look out point along the drive  The view was incredible.  I could only imagine how wonderful it would be to be able to see this view every single day.  I hope the people who live in this area appreciate the beauty of the area they live in.   Incredible!

There was a train meandering along its way as we stood and drank in the views before us.

The smell of this native flower was intoxicating, a mixture of lilac and apples.  I do not know what this white flowering bush is, but I intend to find out.  I brought home a sample of the bush with me to take to a local nursery on my next trip to town to find out.  I NEED some of this in my yard.  The whole area around the bush literally smelled like lilac apple pie, and it was beyond heavenly!

 There were a few sailboats out on the lake catching the breeze.  What a life!

 Another picture of this amazing wild bush against the backdrop of the skies, mountain, water, and clouds.

Uh oh... someone was having a very bad day.  They had started out their day with great anticipation only to find themselves with mechanical failure.  They were being towed in to shore.  Not a fun ending to the day's adventures they had planned, I'm sure!

We traveled on down Highway 200 craning our necks as we drove.  The skies were fully of fluffy white clouds that added to the beauty and splendor around us. 

We arrived in Clark Fork and found it a very quiet, one Main street quaint little town.  There was a grocery store, a couple of gas stations and a few other stores in town. 

I forgot to take a picture of the actual town of Clark Fork. Well ... okay... I didn't forget to take a picture, it is just that the driver of our vehicle refused to stop and let me out to do the touristy thing of snapping pictures of Main Street... that said driver being my dearly beloved husband who despairs of the value of so many pictures being taken.... 

So, I did a little homework once I got home, and found this picture to show you the quaint Main Street of Clark Fork. 

And because I don't have my pilot's license... there is no way I'd be able to take a picture like this, so here is an aerial picture of the town of Clark Fork.

And just in case you want to take your own road trip someday to the town of Clark Fork, I thought I'd share this picture with you, just for your records.  Should come in handy, I'm sure.

We left the city limits of Clark Fork and headed out of town to find Johnson Creek.  We were pointed in the general direction by two girls who were strolling along the road, as we stopped to ask them where a nice scenic drive in Clark Fork was.  They pointed us over to the Johnson Creek area.

Indeed, what a lovely little spot it was.  It is a Sportsman's Access park with bathroom facilities only.  There were several families camped out there on its banks, enjoying the beauty of the area.  
We continued on the road past Johnson Creek, and it took us on a winding trail way up into the mountains.  Before long, some amazing vistas were laid out before our eyes.

We probably only climbed about 1000 feet or so into the mountain, but it was high enough to afford some pretty amazing views of the Clark Fork area.  For a minute there, I bet you thought I somehow jumped into an airplane and secured these pictures.... ha!

The road up the mountain was a well built gravel road, and it just seemed to go on and on and on and on.... You get the picture.  And then there are innumerable little mountain roads just with a crude number written on a scrap of wood, or, no sign at all, indicating that the roads up here could lose even the best woodsman in no time. We decided to turn around before we got lost ourselves.

And we got out and just took in the majestic views spread panoramically out before us.

Finally, we descended back down the mountainous drive to the low lands and valley below.

This scene of a red barn against the backdrop of the mountains caught my eye, and I asked the driver, my sweet husband to stop once again... he did oblige this time, although I did hear a large sigh as I jumped out the door to get the perfect angle for this picture.  Aren't you glad I did? 

Then we made a stop in town, and for the life of me, I don't know why, but I left the camera in the car.  I thought we were just making a pit stop, and a quick potty break. 

How was I to know that the biggest ice cream cone of my life awaited us inside? 

I am not kidding about this.  I really wished I had taken a picture.  I ordered a one-scoop ice cream in a cup.  I promise that this one scoop was nearly a pint of ice cream, and that is no joke or tall tale.  My son thought he was in desperate need of a good dose of ice cream, and ordered two scoops.  Those two scoops just about did him in.  He never did finish them, although to his credit, an hour later, he was still eating that ice cream as it melted.  NO JOKE! 

So, if you want the most amazing local homemade ice cream cone of your life, you need to stop by the Monarch Market in Clark Fork, ID for the largest, tastiest and cheapest ice cream you'll ever eat.  One scoop of ice cream is only $1.99, and two scoops $2.99 in a large waffle cone to boot... how's that for a pretty amazing deal and way to top off a pretty great day already!

All four of us could have eaten that one scoop of ice cream (which was really like about six normal scoops) and had plenty... that is just how big these cones are!  Wow... Monarch Market knows how to do ice cream right!

After we had our fill of ice cream, and we were all in brain freeze mode, we started out towards the Scotchman Peaks on the Lightening Creek Road.  It wasn't hard for me to see why this creek was named Lightning Creek...

 It was moving at a fast and furious pace, thundering down the mountainside filling the air with its cool song of joy.  The ripples of water over the rocks, and the cool breeze wafting off the creek was music to our ears, beautiful peaceful, joy filled laughter of a creek full of water, and dancing to the song of the mountains.

Large smooth rocks lined this creek bed, having been smoothed out after years of pounding racing water covering them.

 Then there were the streams racing down out of the mountains, down, down, down to meet up with the creek to join the noisy song of joy. 

The wildflowers were singing too.  The abundance of daisies, and lupins among others were flinging wide their joy to the world amidst the fields of green. 

We came to a sign in the road pointing to a trail along Porcupine Creek.  So, we turned down this road, and hiked down a bit to the Porcupine Creek.  It was a lazy little creek meandering its way to Lightening Creek.  As we followed Porcupine Creek over to the Lightning Creek, a view of the Scotchman Peaks still covered in snow awaited us.

We had to dip our hands into the water, just to see.  It was cold, quite cold!  It wasn't as frigid as some water I've dipped into, but you could only leave your hand in the water for about 1 minute or so, before the cold drove you away.  No, I wouldn't want to spend any amount of time in these waters, but simply watching the way the water splashed over the rocks was enough for me!

 Someday we would love to come back and camp somewhere along this creek.  We met some four-wheel riders as we were down at the creek.  There was a lovely trail they had taken called the Porcupine Creek Trail, and it looked very inviting, and someday we hope to come back and do some more exploring in this area. 

I don't know what kind of flowers these are, but they were all over the mountainous region we were in. I've never seen them anywhere else.  I will have to do some research to find out what these white flowers are.  They are very stately and majestic, and usually only occurring in groups of three.

As it was getting close to dusk, we were descending back down the mountain, and my Dad spotted this momma deer back in the forest with her two baby fawns.  I'm sorry that this picture isn't that great of quality, but they were moving fast.  But, if you look closely, you can see the momma to the left and her two fawns behind her. 

It was a wonderful day of exploring with some beautiful sights, smells, and views.  I was so thankful that the weather cooperated for us.  Monday morning we woke up to rain, rain, and more rain!  Seems like there was just a break in the clouds for Sunday, and oh how thankful we were that the clouds had parted for today! 

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