Following the river that ran through Bonners Ferry, we quickly found ourselves outside of town and then quickly found ourselves in the country.
This area is truly beautiful and wild country.
Pulling into a parking area, LC drove down a short hill and parked the truck in a wide turn-around in the dirt lot.
Climbing out of the truck I wandered towards the edge of the high bank and looked down towards the river, while the guys dug through gear in the bed of the truck, gathering up all their fishing stuff.
It was mid afternoon, and although we knew that temperatures would begin to drop quickly in a couple of hours, right at that moment it was still very sunny and warm.
We had some time.
Time for LC and Chris to fish, and time for me to take some pictures and explore the area.
Kissing both of my guys on the cheek, I headed back up the hill towards the road, intent on walking down the country road a short way, to see what I could find.
Pictures of the river. I took these while the guys were getting themselves squared away.............
I snapped this quick picture of a young couple sitting on a picnic table and enjoying what was left of the day, before turning right and heading down the paved and winding two lane road..............
This calm and flat water fed directly into the larger river....................
And I snapped this picture while standing on a bridge looking down towards the river and parking area.
LC and Chris were hidden from view but I knew that they were standing on a sandy point at the bottom of the boat ramp.
They had both fished off and on throughout the weekend and I was disappointed for them, that they only thing they had caught was a huge craw fish.
I think that I was more disappointed than THEY were, because their lack of success didn't seem to bother either one of them at all.
In fact, Chris told me that even if they had caught fish, he still would have been bragging about the craw fish when he went back to Calgary.
I continued to stand on the bridge for a few more minutes - looking at the freezing cold water that was incredibly blue.
The water, the sky, the mountains, the trees.
Beautiful. All of it..............
Looking back the way I had come.
I didn't walk very far.
A few miles down the road was a wild life sanctuary, and before stopping to fish we had actually driven all the way to the welcome sign, only to find the place closed.
It didn't really matter.
The time that we all had together was drawing down, and in truth it didn't really matter what we did from this point on. I just wanted him around me. Just wanted to be around him.
What we did didn't matter, and so I was not disappointed to find the wildlife sanctuary closed.
I walked a little way and quickly snapped pictures of water and mountains and colorful trees and endless wonderful scenery, before turning back and heading towards two fishing men................
Back in the parking lot I snapped still more pictures as I made my way down to the point where LC and Chris were fishing.
I could hear their voices. Hear them talking and laughing..............
By the time I got down to the ramp I realized that the voices I had heard were not only those of my guys, but also two older men who were obviously having problems with their boat.
LC and Chris (and then I) stood watching as these two grizzled old men pushed and cajoled and swore under their breath at their old boat.
Eventually they wanted to push it into the water, and unable to do it together Chris offered to help............
As the three of us stood watching these guys floating but not boating, LC told me that one of them owned the boat, had taken it out on its maiden voyage a couple of weeks ago, that it had broken down at Sandpoint, he had gotten it repaired and was now out testing it again.
My first reaction was "who takes an old boat all the way to Sandpoint on its first trip out?"
One paddled with a single-blade paddle for a while, while the other grizzly-man tinkered some more.
Just as I was about to say "they're not going to get it running" - they got it running.
Sputtering to life, the old motor carried them first upstream for 10 minutes, and then downstream for 10 minutes until they bypassed us, continued further up river and eventually disappeared..............
Pleased with the short distraction of grizzled-men-of-questionable-character, the guys went back to fishing and I went back to exploring.
Walking back up the boat ramp, I wandered over to the truck and then down an embankment to take pictures of a tiny inlet................
A Sea-doo, its owner and its way-cute black Lab.
After exploring downtown Bonners Ferry and downtown Sandpoint, with all its colorful yuppie signs and colorful yuppie stores and colorful yuppie people, I think we may have actually run into born-and-bred Northern Idaho residents on our last adventure of the trip.
These two sets of men (I'm guessing) would have no idea what an REI was. What Montrail or The North Face was, or that Columbia was something other than a country in south America.
And that was more than alright..............
Large flocks of noisy geese.
Uh guys............you're a little late..............and south is THAT ------> way............
One lone heron crossing the lake................
Since they didn't catch fish, LC dropped Chris and I off at the grocery store across from the motel, while he continued on to free Jamie from her motel-room-bondage.
We bought potatoes and onions and pork steaks and garlic bread.
Diet Coke and nasty tasting beer (don't they drink NORMAL beer in Canada??)..........
The beer was lousy but the meal was the best meal we had eaten since we got to Bonners Ferry.
My sweet old pup stayed closed to the guys while we all ate, knowing that she would get more dog-treats from them than she would from me.
After eating I sat on a bench by the fire, James sat on the ground by my feet, and I stroked her ears and the top of her head while we both watched LC and Chris continually cut wood and feed the fire.
We all talked and joked and talked some more for many hours.
Away from the fire it was freezing cold.
Beside the fire - beside my girl and my boy and my guy - it was warm..............
By the time the fire was put out and all four of us were back inside the motel room it was freezing cold and we were all exhausted.
Chris and Jamie fell asleep on their bed immediately - Chris with his arms around his dog.
He was the one who had wanted to keep her as soon as she showed up on our doorstep in the country in Tennessee, so many years ago.
We had already adopted a dog and I didn't want another one.
I was the one who eventually capitulated. I had stood strong for a week.
Until that moment one night when I saw her lying on the back porch.
It was the middle of winter, and she was five months old and alone, and she had bunched Chris' jacket into a ball and was using it as a pillow.
That was the first moment she melted my heart.
There had been thousands upon thousands of times over the years when she melted my heart but that was the first time.
As I lay on the bed in Bonners Ferry watching TV, I listened to LC snoring beside me, and then looked across at the other bed and heard Chris snoring while he held sleeping Jamie.
It was all very warm................
The next day we packed the hotel room, quickly ate breakfast, hugged each other, kissed each other, and headed onto the highway in separate directions.
There were so many things I wanted to say to Chris.
Some I had said over the course of the past three days. Some things I didn't say.
But he was deeply loved. And he knew that..............
On the way to Sandpoint a couple of days previous, we had stopped briefly at a Conoco gas station for snacks and drinks.
When the guys came out of the gas station LC told me that the view from the restaurant in back of the building was stunning, and that I would want to take pictures.
Eager to get to the beach and onto the water in my kayak, I told him no, but remembered what he had told me as we began our drive south and this time when we stopped I got out as well.
I didn't expect much.
After all, it was a Conoco station.
How great could it be?
This was not your generic, run-of-the-mill gas station.
It was filled with beautiful works of art, beautiful gifts, beautiful decorations and statues and figures.
And in back of the convenience store component of the gas station was an indoor restaurant and outdoor patio, with breath-taking views of the area.
Alright - LC had been right after all. I did need to see this.............
CDA Lake, taken from an overlook right off the interstate................
Having a place to go - is a home. Having someone to love - is a family. Having both - is a blessing..................Donna Hedges