8.13.2010

Sibling Assignment #134: The Geography of Coeur d'Alene Lake




I gave the assignment this week. Three simple words: Coeur d'Alene Lake.  You can read Silver Valley Girl's here and Raymond Pert's soon.
I have always wished I could own a big speed boat for a day and travel all the shorelines of Coeur d' Alene Lake in northern Idaho. Perhaps it would take more than a day because it has 109 miles of shoreline. As a child I could never figure out how we traveled down the highway toward St. Maries and ended up at one end of the lake at Harrison, or turned at Wolf Lodge and arrived quickly at Beauty Bay. I took the Danceawanna from the town of Coeur d'Alene across the lake and ended up at Kid Island Bay at Camp Neewahlu and also remember heading to Worley to find Windy Bar. Those 109 miles are filled with names that have always been a part of my memory.
http://www.usgwarchives.org/id/kootenai/postcards/shrest.jpg
Arrow Point, Turner Bay, Blue Creek Bay, The Shady Rest, and the original Tony's are a few.  Squaw Bay, Camp N-Sid-Sen, Camp Easton, Templins, and Rockford Bay still rattle around in my memory. Some of the names were on signs we'd see while traveling to Moscow. Others were names friends would mention in talking about their lake places. We didn't have a lake place , but did visit a float house at Beauty Bay the day I learned to water ski.  TA's family had a tiny Terry trailer that was parked at Arrow Point each summer for vacation. CL went to Arrow Point and seemed to water ski every day of the summer. Arrow Point seemed like a mystical place when I was a child.
The natural beauty of the lake remains. It doesn't matter which mile of the 109 miles of lake shore I drive, a  beautiful photo image of the blue lake is waiting. Somewhere along the way the lake lost the rustic feel beyond the shoreline. People with money discovered places along the lake and put in gated communities . A guy named Duane decided to capitalize on the lake, the shoreline, and the tour boats and has turned the Coeur d'Alene end of the lake into a destination spot. Arrow Point is known more now for Derailers which are served in a  large white bucket with lots of straws. More people visit Worley for the casino or the golf course than the bays that surround it. Now Kid Island Bay is on the map again because Dennis Franz purchased the land.

When I returned to Camp N-Sid-Sen last summer for a writing retreat it was closer to what I remembered places on Coeur d'Alene Lake to be from my youth.  The Chaffee Chapel was there. The  lake shore was untouched by speed boats, mansions, slips for a hundred boats. There were still canoes and orange life jackets.  The same is true at Wolf Lodge Bay. The eagles still have places to feed because there aren't condos, resorts, and boat slips that fill the bay. I think some of the rustic float houses are still at Beauty Bay. Camp Easton, a camp for Boy Scouts, is still in the same spot, but expanded to both sides of the highway close to Turner Bay. I am always guaranteed of seeing One Shot Charlie's in Harrison. 

The Coeur d'Alene and St. Joe Rivers still spill into this massive lake. The native people still own the southern third of the lake.I still yearn for the smell of pine needles, lake water, and campfire smoke. There are still a few places untouched by progress that take me back to that rustic time as I continue to pull out the water stained map and study the geography of Coeur d'Alene Lake.

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  4. I actually worked at Camp Neewahlu the summer of 1981' I was the camp gopher, ran the Boston whaler back and forth, did all the odd jobs. My nickname at the damp was Flash. This brought back old memories of the best summer job I ever had. Thank you ver much.

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