Summer’s End

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Flathead Lake at sunset

We spent August visiting the northern most part of eastern Washington State followed by the Flathead Lake region of Montana.

In Washington we stayed in a small town called Ione.  The North Pend Oreille Scenic Byway follows Hwy 31 from Ione to the Canadian border, hugging the beautiful Pend Oreille River.

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Pend Oreille River

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This area has nesting eagles across the river. We weren’t lucky enough to spot them.

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On the western side of The Pend Oreille lies the Selkirk Mountains.

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Hooknose Mtn. in the center of the photo rises to a height of 7,210 feet.

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There are two dams along the Pend Oreille.  This is The Box Canyon Dam.  Its a “run of the river” dam which means it has no storage capacity in the river.  This dam is owned and operated by the Pend Oreille Public Utility.

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We took a tour of The Boundary Dam, which is almost on the US/Canada border.  It supplies power for Seattle.

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Boundary Dam
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Dam in background
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Turbine Room. Only one turbine was operational because the water level was very low.(See the light on the last turbine)
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Inside the dam

We were escorted by dam personnel in our cars to the top of the dam.

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In this direction, Canada.
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This beautiful recreational lake is on the southern side of the dam.

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Very close to The Boundary Dam is Crawford State Park and Gardner Cave, which is a large limestone cavern.  Rangers provide daily tours through the cave.  Its a beautiful cave but unfortunately the State of Washington was slow to provide protected access and most of the formations were broken off before the rangers began giving tours.  In spite of this its a must-see place in the area.

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These formations are known as soda straws because they are hollow.

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This looks like a giant, prehistoric fish swimming down to Bruce

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This cave is easy to navigate for almost everybody.
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We were told the green areas are droppings from pack rats which live in the cave.

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Dripping water is still at work, elongating these formations.

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Next we headed to Lakeside, Montana for a few weeks.  We went back into Glacier National Park, (which I covered in an earlier post) and enjoyed driving around Flathead Lake and Kalispell.

By the time we left Montana in early September the fires that always plague the area in late summer were making for more smokey than clear days.  We left Montana after Labor Day and headed back to Oregon to meet up with friends.  These are a few reminders I have of Flathead Lake.

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The marina
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Late summer asters
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Seagulls bracing themselves against the wind
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Sunset after a thunder storm
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So much like Lake Tahoe in size and beauty but so much more affordable.

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Montana truly is Big Sky Country