This lake (pronounced Lake Pon-der-ray) is the second largest lake in Idaho and a popular destination. It’s near the Washington border, north of Couer d’Alene and south of Sandpoint. We’d planned to stop somewhere in Montana after we left Yellowstone, but it was raining and/or snowing most of our drive. So we just appreciated the gorgeous scenery, slept in a rest stop somewhere along the way, and kept on going to Idaho.
Farragut State Park
By the time we got to Idaho, the weather had calmed down and warmed up. We found this place on the south tip of the lake, and it was lovely. A huge state park with five different campgrounds, three of which were open. We drove through the dry campground, but the sites were uncomfortably wooded and tight. So we sprung for a hook-up site in Gilmore campground, and it was well worth it. We had an entire loop to ourselves, and in the other loop there were only three campers. We got a huge open site with trees for a hammock, grass for the fur kids to roll in, and all the quiet and privacy we could ask for. After the crowds in Yellowstone, this was a welcome retreat.
None of the campgrounds are right on the lake, but our first day we drove to the day use area and walked down to the lake. There wasn’t a soul around, only hundreds of prairie dogs popping up in the open fields. Bailey fetched balls in the lake at the boat launch, her form of heaven, and Gypsy paced on the shore. She simply doesn’t understand this thing called swimming. Every time Bailey swam out into the deep water, Gypsy meowed and looked and us to go save her.
Kate took advantage of the water spigot to wash our poor car, which was practically crusted in dirt from being towed through snow and rain. We took a bike ride through the empty roads of the park. We were having such a lovely time we decided to stay another night. If it weren’t so spendy ($38/night) we would have stayed longer. It was warm enough to cook and eat outside, and we had a campfire both nights: something we hadn’t done since Texas.
After dinner the second night, we took the fur kids on a long walk all the way down to the lake. I wished I’d brought my camera when we got to the shore. It was a beautiful little cove, Beaver Bay, with boat docks on one side, a little beach on the other. It was a long steep hike back, and after a coyote passed in front of us, Kate carried Gypsy for a stretch. But it’s impressive that we can take the cat on hikes that are two miles long.
This is a very cute little town on the northern shore of the lake, and when we left Farragut, we stopped here to get out and walk around. We leashed up both the kids and walked along the main drag. But we’d failed to recognize that quaint as it is, the main street still a highway. The traffic and trucks were just too much for Gypsy. She takes a lot in stride, but she is not an urban cat. We walked down by the lake, but there a crow took offense to her and wouldn’t leave her alone. There was nothing we could do but get back to Bessie as quickly as possible. Fortunately we found an alley that was clean and quiet and beautifully painted by high school art students as part of a downtown restoration project.