Today’s subject is another travel post as we have a Japanese foreign exchange student with us and wanted to show her the sights. Yesterday we (daughter, her friend, I, and my friend) drove up to Schweitzer Mountain, just outside of Sandpoint, Idaho.
Apparently, an old Swiss man (Schweitzer in German) lived at the bottom of the mountain. One day his house was searched as part of a criminal investigation and several bodies were found; cat bodies that is. Apparently this Schweitzer snatched cats from the area because he enjoyed a hearty bowl of cat stew. Ewwww – ICK! Anyway, that’s the story behind the name.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort is a year-around resort; skiing in winter, hiking or bike riding in the summer. We were able to take a chair lift to the top and what a sight! Schweitzer is in the Selkirk mountain range, but from the top you can also see the Cabinet and Bitterroot mountains. And three states (Idaho, Montana, Washington) and Canada to the north.
The road up to the mountain is not for those inclined to experience motion sickness. Hairpin turns are everywhere and there are twists and turns for several miles. Thankfully I was driving so did not get the yucks, but one of the girls was slightly affected. Her solution was to just close her eyes and try to sleep. It worked as she survived the drive both up and down the mountain road.
While riding the ski lift up we saw lots of long white-topped flowers. The tops kind of looked like an upside down ice cream cone. Found out that the plants are called bear grass and bloom in 5-7 year cycles.
From the top, Lake Pend Oreille stands out to the southeast. This is a 65 mile long lake and the 5th deepest lake in the U.S.A. The southern tip is home to Farragut State Park, which used to be Farragut Naval Training Station during World War II (the 2nd largest naval training station in the world). In the summer of 1971, Farragut hosted the Universal Life Church picnic, Idaho’s Woodstock-like festival. Music was nothing to write home about, but tons of fun anyway (of what I remember anyway — yes, I was there).
Apparently during the winter, at least one person skies down to Colburn Lake and stomps out a message–such as “I love you”–on the snow- and ice-covered lake. What a surprise to that special person who views it from the top of the mountain.
One visual we enjoyed was the view of Long Bridge. A 1.87 mile long bridge (hence the name) from Sagle, Idaho to Sandpoint, Idaho. Every August, there is the Long Bridge Swim where people swim from Sagle to Sandpoint (a 1.76 mile swim). My daughter did this one year with a 1:05:01 time. Visitors stand on the bridge and cheer the swimmers on. Started in 1995, this year, they expect over 800 swimmers.
The ride down the lift was a bit more exhilarating than riding up. You almost feel as if you’re going to slide right out of the lift seat and plummet down to the bear grass below. For someone like me who is afraid of heights, it took some serious concentration to not freak out. Would hate to embarrass my daughter.
So after a wonderful day trip to Schweitzer, we stopped for ice cream before driving home. I had a huckleberry milk shake that was the best! What else could one ask for: a pleasant day with wonderful company, and a huckleberry milk shake!