It was exciting to leave the memories of Oregon and Washington behind and head back into our favorite state of the trip. But this time, there was no more desert or scorching weather. We were in Northern Idaho — and it was gorgeous!
Stumbling through Dworshak
Leaving Washington (sigh of relief), we headed out of the flat-ish landscape and way up into the mountains. On giant trips like these into the unknown, we always worry about getting enough service to work. Yes, we work! We had been pretty lucky up to this point, but our luck was about to run out... But it definitely made for an unforgettable adventure!
As we got closer to our campground in Dworshak State Park our phones got less and less services. Until finally we were at the entry road to the park, which made us nervous for two reasons:
To this day, I think it was the most nervous I've been towing. The road was so narrow, steep, and curvy that we had to take up the entire road on several occasions to even make one of the turns — and our trailer isn't even that big compared to many of the rigs we see! I'm still not sure how some of our neighbors made it...
With a sigh of relief, we made it to the bottom of the hill, checked into our campsite, and set up camp.
Our cell phones were basically only useful as paperweights. We even asked some of the other campers where we could get service, and they basically laughed at us.
To make things even better, Rose had a job interview the next day over Zoom. At the risk of sounding like a Millennial, we needed to find some sort of cell service or wi-fi — and it wasn't just for Instagram!
We did a bit of research on a map (yes, a real map) and saw there was a town about 45 minutes away. We decided that we'd wake up super early the next morning, head to town, and do some work in the first place we found service.
With our plan set, we went about doing the only thing you really can do when you don't have internet to distract you: drink a few "sodas."
And then drink a few more...
We were feeling pretty happy by the end of the night. It's amazing how much fun you can have when you don't (can't) worry about work.
Once we had some dinner, we set our alarms. And with a big day of adventure ahead of us, we went to bed.
The next morning, we woke up at 5am. The sun wasn't up quite yet, but we had to get to work. Now, after a night of fun like we had the previous day, you don't always feel 100% — especially for anyone who has enough "soda" to fall out of their hammock.
The road to town was 45 minutes of twists and turns down gigantic mountain faces. Needless to say, Rose wasn't really feeling it. It was a rough commute to say the least. But we finally made it to Orofino, Idaho.
Orofino was a small town with a cute downtown area, a town hall, a gas station, and a fish hatchery. That's about it. But it did have service, and that's really what we were after. We made it to town at around 7am, grabbed a breakfast sandwich from the gas station, and parked in the empty fish hatchery parking lot to get some work done.
It's lucky our truck is a mega cab. The back seat had plenty of space to sit comfortably with my laptop and work. We did move around to some picnic tables nearby when we got hot or wanted some fresh air. Honestly, it wasn't a bad workspace at all! And the best part, Rose got the job she interviewed for!
To celebrate Rose's accomplishment, we went into town to explore a bit before heading back up the mountain. There were a few little stores we looked through, but the real star of the show was a hotdog stand called The Dog House. I can't even describe how amazing the hotdogs were, but they really hit the spot. I had one called Chaos (or something like that. I forget the exact name), but it had every topping you can possibly imagine. It came with a fork and knife because there was no way to eat it with your hands.
As we enjoyed our meal, we swapped stories with the owner, who had just recently moved to Orofino from Oregon. She said the rules and general environment in Oregon were getting ridiculous, so they decided to move somewhere a bit more lax and free — which we could sympathize with after our experience in the Pacific Northwest.
With bellies full and our workday complete, we headed back up the mountain to our campsite retreat. For the rest of the day, we walked around the campground and even got in a little canoe ride on the reservoir.
I don't think we had too many "sodas" that night...
In the morning, we packed up, climbed back up and out of the campground, and headed straight North to our next Idaho campground.
Feelings of Farragut
When we met my coworker back in Utah, he told us how amazing northern Idaho was. His wife's family had a cabin in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and they go there every year on vacation. He said how woodsy and mountainous the area is, and the water was so clear. It sounded like the perfect place for us! As it turns out, our last stop in northern Idaho was Farragut State Park, which was about a half hour away from Coeur d'Alene.
On our way to the park, we drove through Coeur d'Alene, and to be fair, it looked like fun. But it was a very bustling tourist town. It reminded me of Deep Creek Lake where I used to vacation with my family back in Maryland. I'm sure it used to be very quaint and pretty, but now it was more overrun with tourists, traffic, and knick-knack stores. Luckily, we still had a little ways to go to get to our campsite.
Farragut State Park was massive! It sat right on Lake Pend Oreille, which is the same lake Coeur d'Alene lives on, but we were up a little farther into the mountains. There were so many people there to check in that we actually had to wait in line down the entrance to the park. The park rangers were directing traffic!
This didn't bode well for our experience, since we saw what Coeur d'Alene looked like. But once we waited in line and finally got to check in, we made it to our site and saw what the park was really about.
Okay, that view wasn't from our site. But we were definitely in the woods, and it wasn't a million degrees. We'll take that as a win!
The campground was pristine. Everything was paved and clean, but it did remind us more of a camping "resort" than a standard campground. We enjoyed walking and skateboarding around the park in the beautiful scenery that is northern Idaho.
Originally, we weren't going to take the canoe out. (There were a lot of rules about launching and invasive species, including several checks during the drives). But once we got there and saw the lake, we couldn't help ourselves!
We first went down to the beach area to "test the water" — quite literally! And much to our shock, the beach was absolutely packed! It was a really cool area. The beach was a peninsula that stretched out into the lake, so people could enjoy the water on both sides. Unfortunately, it was so good that there easily had to be over 200 people crowded on the beaches. We could barely walk, much less hear.
Despite seeing the condition of the beach, we decided to head to the boat launch and get the canoe in the water. At least once we got on the lake we could avoid the hoards.
Naturally, the boat launch was packed, too. So we waited our turn to launch and finally made it into the peaceful water.
The landscape here was absolutely gorgeous. The water was crystal clear and the surrounding mountains were completely lush and green. We canoed down the shoreline a bit and decided to pull off on a secluded beach to enjoy the scenery.
Being so far north and high in the mountains, the water was frigid. We didn't do much swimming besides dipping our toes in the water. Despite the cold water, it was amazing to just sit and enjoy the nature.
We didn't stay in Farragut long, but this leg of the trip just cemented Idaho has our top state of the trip. We had an absolute blast and will definitely be back again someday, but before we knew it, it was time to head to our next campground in Big Sky Country, Montana!
He likes pizza.