Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy Trails ~ The White Pine Scenic Byway

I'm settling in to my current life.  School, family life in a three generation household, pets, groceries and are the five days a week routine.  I have been walking everyday to build up endurance and make sure that I am surrounded by beauty and nature.

When the weekend comes, I am ready for some adventure.  

Something magical happen when I slide in behind the wheel and take off for parts unknown.  On this day I headed out with a general destination in mind.  I love most the the feeling of freedom when I am totally open to discover what ever the place has to offer.

With a fall nip in the air we headed East along I-90 into Idaho.  We headed further west into the mountains hoping to see the fall colors as they were beginning to change.
( )

 As we turn off of I-90 south onto the White Pine Scenic Byway we are surrounded by majestic mountains on all sides and travel in deep valleys carved by rivers and lakes.  

The road winds among mountain meadows where farmers and ranchers have made there mark with in the scenic mountains.

Around each bend of the road is one scenic vista after another.   It is an all day trip with many stops to soak up the scenery.   We had our lunch at this scenic river stop. 

There is a 72 mile Rails-To-Trails bike trail along much of the route we are traveling. (For More information on this scenic bike trail - ) The Trail of the Coeur 'Alenes, is a non-motorized asphalt bike trail that crosses the picturesque Panhandle of North Idaho.   With multiple trailheads it is an ideal place for families to get out in nature and bike portions of the trail at a  pace that suits the individuals.

How can you not love the gorgeous scenery along the Coeur d'Alene River?

At the far end of Couer' dAlene Lake, connected by 2 rivers  and several lakes is the town of St Maries, Idaho.

A wonderful city park has many Historical Markers that tell the story of the early logging efforts and local history.  (There happens to be a local pizza parlour across the street if you are in need of food.)

The townsite was selected by Joseph Fisher, just southwest of the confluence of the two rivers, to provide a good place for a sawmill, first built in 1889. The rivers and lake systems provided rapid transportation systems for floating logs to the mills and utilizing steamboats to transport finish products to markets. From the city, the St. Joe River flows west, through several lakes and into the south end of Lake Coeur d'Alene.

A statue of John Mullan sits prominently in the center of the Park.  With the labor of 200 hired men and soldiers, and more than two years of toil, Mullan blazed a 611-mile trail through dense forests, over mountains, and across marshlands and raging rivers. When completed in 1862, the Mullan Military Road became the first wagon road to traverse the Rocky Mountains into the Inland Northwest, opening the Northwest to further settlement.  The original Mullan Road passed eight miles north from the this marker.

Willamette Donkey Steam Engine

The Donkey Steam Engine (powered by wood or coal) was used by loggers to move logs to the river banks and then down the rivers and lakes and then moved to markets.

It is said, "Logging made this town."
                    It is still true today.

We followed the River on down to the Lakes at the south end of Coeur d'Alene Lake.  

The Highlight of the trip was the water foul along the river and Chatcolet lake shore.
I have never seen nor heard so many birds all in one place in their natural element.
  I have enclosed but a few of the best pics.  


The birds went on along for miles and miles along the shoreline.  We stopped at vista after vista for more pictures.


Two Lakes open up from the St Joe River,  Chatcolet and Round Lakes.  Several campgrounds in the area had us snooping for future camping possibilities.   

The Coeur d'Alene Bike Trail, which we left many miles back at lunch, followed  the lake edge to the end of the Lake where 3 lakes converge.  The old train trestle which spanned from the East side of Coeur d'Alene  Lake crosses to the west side of the Lake where it joins LAKE Chatcolet and Round Lake. 

Today the bikers cross over the expanse of the lake and up and over the trestle to the west side of the lake and on to the end of the trail at Plummer, Idaho.
It is quite a site and a real thrill to ride the expanse across the lake.

As usual, No tree or stump to go unconquered.

The beauty and serenity of the White Pine Scenic Byway is such that I could travel its roads and see something different each time.  New experiences can happen in familiar places if we but open our eyes and hearts.  White Pine Scenic Byway, I shall see you again.

I pause and wait for the sunset.

With the beautiful sunsets reflection, I pause for a time of personal reflection.

While I'm not exactly where I planned to be at this point in my life
journey, I'm discovering that my happiness is not dependent upon my life being as planned.  Rather, my happiness seems more about finding peace, gratitude and adventure in each day.  I am finding living deliberately and embracing the blessings in each day brings me this happiness.  I don't know what tomorrow will bring.  I'm unwilling to postpone living today.  Today I can't live the full time life I planned for but I remain ready for that day and I'm living the life of adventure full time today.

~ Happy Trails ~


  1. Thank you for this lovely journey! It's on our bucket list now!

  2. Thank you again for reminding me of home. I mapped all along the St Joe, lived in work centers in St Maries

    1. There is such a comfort in spending time in the place that feels like home. Welcoming and comforting at the same time.

  3. You are still having some beautiful adventures each time you leave you home with family. What a gorgeous place you have seen on this adventure. I long to see these places and I will as soon as I work out all the bugs of truck camping.

    We do find out inner peace if we just look for it and you have found it. I' m very happy for you.

    1. Hope you are able to see this one day.... I know I long to see it over and over again.

  4. Beautiful photos of a stunning place! Thanks for taking me along - at least via your camera. :)

  5. What a wonderful trip. Thanks for documenting with those gorgeous pictures.
    And the journey is everything. Destinations don't matter that much, except maybe to get you pointed in the right direction.Thanks for the post.

    1. Ah yes, it is the openness to the wonder in the moment that make the most sense to me. Rushing through doesn't always allow for the drinking in of these moments.

  6. Wonderful pictures of a place I have never seen. Your wonderful narrative sounds relaxed and content. Your attitude is a joy to those around you I know. They are lucky to be on your journey with you.

  7. Howdy klb,
    That was a wonderful experience and we thank you kindly for it... My wish is that some day I'll see it with my eyes, personally...
    We have a young cousin going to college up there in IDAHO and hope she learns of this scenic wonderland... Hope y'all have a HAPPY DAY !!!!

  8. Yup, we've got to roll with the punches. I'll bet there are a lot of us that aren't where we planned to be at this point in our lives, but you know, sometimes it's for the best.

    Beautiful pictures - what a gorgeous area! I especially love the water birds. Although I'm enjoying all the birds here in the desert, I still like water birds best. :)

    1. The birds were a wonderful surprise. In this case they were not very welcoming.... my presence drove them away from me with every moment of my being with them. I hope to enjoy every moment of the life I do have rather than wishing for the life I planned.

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