August 28th ~ Sandpoint, Idaho
*Up and on the road by 9:00ish, we had a little bit of a drive to get from Riley Recreation Area to Schweitzer Mountain.
Our plan was to take the chairlift to the top of the mountain and then hike the Nature Trail 2.5 miles back down. (I’m sure that this was a typo, as it seemed more like 25 miles to me.) We were the first ones on the lift when they opened at 11:00.
Ever since the heavy rainstorm a couple of days earlier, the air quality has been greatly improved and we were fortunate to have some impressive views from the top. We had some clouds to contend with, but that was so much better than all the smoke.
The hike down was not a piece of cake with numerous rocks on the pathway, but I was still thankful to be going downhill instead of making the climb UP that many others had chosen.
Sample of some of the views along the hike:
It was a little late in the season, but we still found patches of huckleberries and ate what we picked along the way.
Nice treat for sure!
A group hiking up the trail warned us that a mother black bear with two cubs had been spotted just below us so we kept our eyes open. We did not ever spot them, but we cautioned other hikers that we met to be aware.
We found a rocky perch to eat our picnic lunch and soaked up the view.
There were still plenty of wildflowers in bloom that made the hike more enjoyable.
Our wristband pass for the chairlift was valid for the entire day, so at Mark’s suggestion we rode back up to the top once again, visited the ski chalet and then rode the chairlift back down to the bottom.
The experience riding back down turned out to be my favorite part of the entire day.
We figured we deserved a good dinner as a treat after burning off some calories so headed to one of the best rated restaurants in town – Baxters on Cedar. We were the first ones in, in fact an hour before they started serving dinner, so had the place to ourselves for happy hour. We all enjoyed our meal, except that Mark’s steak was overcooked. They treated us to a complimentary (and delicious) slice of Key Lime pie as an apology. Nice customer service and our server was excellent.
Sandpoint has an art program with murals painted about town.
Coming Next: Cruise on Lake Pend Oreille and blueberry picking
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we got to experience riding the chair lift in both directions. I would highly recommend doing it! Although my quads were very sore the next day, I survived the hike just fine and was grateful to have one more shared experience with my little sister.