The road to the Couer d'Alene Campground wasn't as wide as I recall but it was still close to washboard free, impressive for a gravel road. The view was still awesome with a deeply remote feeling to it. Past the campground up to the end of the road has been improved (looks like recently--this summer) so I could go 25 mph instead of creeping at 10 or 15 mph over giant potholes. The last mile is still rough but nothing a sedan can't make it through.
|Palmer Creek as it gushes downstream|
|View of the valley on a rainy day from a spot almost to the first mine|
|This is the jumble of rocks that met us at the end of the trail, just above the mining tailings. Disappointment!|
|The trail past the first mine turns into a minimal path along the side of the mountain|
|We were startled to discover a second mine along that path|
|The mine doesn't look very deep (40 feet or so--as far as we could see without flashlights), but old wooden structures are still evident|
After checking out the mine I noticed (again!) a trail that continued upward, this one even more faint than the last. We pressed on. I was determined to get to the top of this mountain rather than go all the way down to the stream crossing and follow the trail up along the waterfall. Well, it was a little hairy.
|A messy, wet near-vertical scramble up the mountain sans trail above the second mine|
The trail soon petered out and there was loose talus that we slipped and slid on. The climb was pretty darn close to vertical. Each time we grabbed a rock to pull ourselves up on, it would come loose. So I am totally not recommending that route up. It wasn't far--15 or so minutes from the second mine until we reached the top.
Ah, but it was worth it! The view from the top was amazing! If we'd stopped on our scramble we'd have seen it too, but to me it was more beautiful for being on flatter solid ground.
|View from on top--comfortable walking with view of craggy mountain peaks|
|Only 4 years ago there would have been a lot more glacier to view|
|A beautiful alpine lake|
|Amazing plethora of crowberries|
|Palmer Creek waterfall|
|The trail down by the waterfall|
What a gorgeous area! And as we were leaving we saw another trail going up a different mountain and said, "We have to come back. There's another trail to explore!"