Today I hit lake Pend Oreille in the north part of Idaho. I came here on part of a scooter rally, another hobby of mine, and brought the kayak with me, so I could have a little fun on the large lake near Bayview, ID. I didn't realize it, but to bring your 'yak on the Tsawwassen/Swartz bay ferry with a minivan costs and extra $20 each way. Apparently I'm and oversized vehicle even at just under 2.6m. This time, I was driving on the freeway and the roof rack seemed to hold up alright at 70mph. I even had some pretty crazy side winds to fight on the way down. I went down to the lake on Friday to see if I could paddle, but then I realized that this lake has a rather unique weather system that includes shit tons of wind.


I looked out over the lake and it was choppy with the wind registering just over 15 knots on the meter. I sort of wanted to enjoy the place rather than fight it for a few hours, so I called it - it was a no go for Friday. I went and had fun up at the camp with all kinds of Vespa related antics and awoke the next morning to a cloudless sky and little wind.


Without wasting my time, I got my butt down to the launch and put in dockside. Having the dock was a nice touch, I could just jump in without getting my feet wet. I met up with a few technical divers going out to explore the underwater sights. One of them pointed at the opposite shore and told me it got to nearly 200 feet deep. Locals in Bayview indicated it was as deep as 1100 feet in places and that the US navy used it for submarine training. I was a bit more interested in the topside, though.


I sort of made this trip up as I went, but I got some hints from the friendly park ranger at Farragut state park, who supplied me with a simplified map of the sights. I started by paddling southwest toward a small, protected bay. The wind started to come up again as I paddled out and it was blowing about 8 knots by the time I got to the bay entrance. The boat didn't seem to care much, though. Even with little chop here and there, it just cut right through. There's a good chance that there's too little fetch to get it really rocking until storm conditions come through. You can see lots of old wooden structures sthat have been mangled by continuous gales over the years.


The little bay was a sight to behold. Huge fjord-like cliffs to either side and the morning sun just peering over the mountaintops. The quiet of the place was only broken by fighting eagles. Deer watched over the water from shore and a few boaters were prepping their slick, fiberglass boats for a day on the lake. I jumped onto shore for a little me time.


After a little scenery hypnosis, I hopped back into the kayak and started my way up the opposite shore. Here the cliffs descended into the water with underwater fingers that went down to the deep. The treeline stopped about 20 feet from the water line. The birds were out: bald and golden eagles, hawks, crows, ravens. There was a total absence of gulls, though. I saw tremendous amounts of fish around my boat. Next time I'm bringing a fishing rod. I passed a few enthusiastic canoeists flying solo by sitting in the stern and paddling on both sides. One guy's bow was completely out of the water.


The sun was starting to get hot, so I headed over to Bayview from the cliffs. There are a whole lots of boats using this lake all day long, so the crossing from the cliffs to the point just before Bayview was a bit busy. The wind was up to 15knots now and the water was getting a bit disturbed, but nothing like the ocean at 15knots of wind - the only nuisance is that it wanted to have my paddle. I tried feathering the paddle, but it really made no appreciable difference.


I paddled into Bayview and met a few kayakers heading out in small rec boats. They looked like they were having a great time as they rounded the point into a stiff headwind. Bayview was another neat place to see. you can tell a lot of outside retirement and government money has gone into the docks here. Everything looked super modern from the docks to the boats themselves. They offered all kinds of facilities for boaters right on the waterfront. I thought I'd go down later and take some pictures from land, too. I was getting pretty hungry, so I called it and started back toward the launch.


I rounded the point at Bayview and the wind was now hurtling through at a 20 knot average. I had to fight to get back into the dock and I could see the smiles on sailboater's faces from the dock. A whole bunch of people were coming into shore and the water was getting choppy again. Pend Oreille lake is a neat place overall, I'd definitely like to explore more of it over time. The lake runs all the way up to sand point, which is nearly 40 miles down the road. On a side note: having the starter fail on your van during vacation sucks! Thanks to this dude named Jeff from some border town, I was back up and running in about 4 hours. At least the gas station I waited at had all kinds of nutritions foods like corn dogs, churros and pizza pockets.

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