Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Adventures at Priest Lake

While my Dad was here, one Saturday we went up to Priest Lake to spend the day.  Priest Lake is probably one of our most favorite places to visit.  The mountains surrounding the pristine water simply astound you every time you see them. 

It almost looked like a shooting star across the sky, but... it was just an airplane... but I loved the contrast in this picture with the shadowed trees, and blazing trail left by the airplane flying overhead.

The clear blue water sparkled invitingly... you could almost be fooled that it might just be warm enough to swim in! 

Can you see the snow on those distant mountains... yes... don't let the gorgeous water fool ya... it's still COLD!

But, even though the water is cold as an ice bath, there were plenty of people out there soaking up the sun's rays, and a few brave souls were actually in the water... including us!  Yes, we were some of the crazy ones who got into the water.  My husband and I slowly... slowly... slowly walked out into the water, and finally he took the plunge, and then I did.  Whew! It was cold, but not as ice-biting cold as it seemed at first.  Once we were fully wet, it wasn't too bad... but I couldn't help looking at the snow still on the mountains, and thinking how that snow and ice water was still draining into Priest Lake!

Back at our picnic site, the fire was being prepared by my dad and my son.  They decided they wanted nothing to do with getting cold and wet, and decided they would rather be in charge of getting the food ready... I had no problem with that plan, it sounded great to me!

Dad kicked back enjoying the beautiful day...

So, after we had climbed out of the cold water, and warmed up around the BBQ pit, and enjoyed the great hamburgers, the sun had already started to dip down into the horizon, and we still had plans to take Dad up to the Granite Falls before dark.  So, we began to pack up, and as we did, I noticed that most people out here were doing the same.  After the sun had dipped over the horizon, even though it was only 5:00  in the afternoon, the place that had been packed earlier in the day, was now almost vacant. 

So, we packed up and cleaned up our little picnic area, and headed due north into grizzly bear country!

Although Dad kept an eagle's eye out for any sign of bear, we didn't see any.  We drove about ten miles down a gravel road and arrived first at Huff Lake.

This is a lake that supports all kinds of rare plant species.  We have seen moose here before too.  It is truly an incredibly beautiful place. It is so still and quiet out here.

The lake is very marshy, and has all kinds of very unique and rare plants growing in it.  There is a boardwalk built so you can walk out towards the middle of the lake.

 Some of the plants growing here around the lake.

There was no sign of our moose friend here tonight, even though we arrived several hours before sunset, which is usually when she comes out, or so we've been told by the locals.

And so, even though we did not see any moose while we were at Huff Lake this time, I will share some pictures with you of a moose at this lake that we saw here last August. 

Last August my husband and I had discovered this lake after taking a drive one afternoon, and not knowing where the road would take us. We ended up here at Huff Lake. We had been about ready to leave when we heard a very LOUD cracking noise in the trees across the lake.   It wasn't long until we saw what was making that very loud noise.

She was as surprised to see us, as we were to see her!

At first she wasn't sure if she should worry about us or not.  We were very quiet, and finally, she went about the business of getting something to eat and drink, and commenced to not even give us any more of her time or attention.

After a while, she tired of the spot she was at, and began to slowly walk around the lake, in our direction.  We continued to wait and watch her quietly.  When she began to get close enough to our side of the lake, we decided it was time to leave her in peace and not wait around to see what she might do if she got close enough to us! Some locals to Priest Lake showed up and watched the moose with us, and told us that she generally comes out around 7:00 to the lake for a drink.  But, we've been back several times since, and haven't seen her again... so... no doubt she's moved on and found somewhere else to hang out.  But it sure was exciting to be able to see this magnificent creature so close, and in such a beautiful setting.

But, back to our present adventure... unfortunately this time at Huff Lake, we did not see our Ms. Moose... she was nowhere to be found. 

So, we headed on down the gravel road to the Granite Falls.  By this time, the sun was beginning to set, but there was still enough daylight to enjoy the Falls.

This is an absolute wonder and amazement to see how the water has carved out the rocks, and created such an amazing waterfall. 

It was a cool and wonderful ending to the lovely day spent out at Priest Lake.  If you are ever out at Priest Lake, and would like to explore the area a little more, I highly recommend taking the time to drive out to Granite Falls, and stopping at Huff Lake along the way... you'll be glad you did!  Make sure you get there in enough time to take the hike up into the Roosevelt Cedars... unfortunately every time we've been out here, it has gotten dark before we've been able to take the hike.  It is on our "to do" list of things to do at some point very soon.  We've been told the Roosevelt Cedars are absolutely astounding and amazing trees.

And someday soon, we plan to hike up there to see those cedars... and when we do... I'll be sure to share the journey with you!

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