Saturday, November 18, 2017

Lake Pend Oreille Keelboat Sailing

The wind gods delivered today, as per the National Weather Service prediction.  Steve called me last week to extend me a sailing invitation aboard his steed on spectacular Lake Pend Oreille, but I was off in MT, probably sailing.  So when I called to offer thanks for the invite, we settled on today, trusting our faithful government servants.

Such an outing provides an unnecessary excuse for a motorcycle ride, so I fire up the Wee, and gleefully head for the back roads that snake over the northern flank of Mount Spokane, and hence onto the Rathdrum Prairie, and then into Farragut State Park.  Once home to thousands of WWII Naval recruits doing basic training, it's now open meadows and timberland on the southernmost shores of the lake. Today the navy's only presence is a submarine base, for research or training is my best guess.  The lake is 2000' deep in spots (making it good for subs), being a huge mountain valley filled with the coldest, cleanest, bluest water you can imagine. With plenty of mountain above lake level to please any mariner.

We cavort in ever increasing breeze, til we have to reef(partially furl) the genoa, and play the main in the puffs.  Tacking upwind eventually takes us to the very southern tip of the lake, Buttonhook Bay, shaped exactly so.  Nothin' to do but spin her around for a romp downwind, and out into the main body of the lake.   Where the wind gets fluky, big ups and downs, massive shifts in wind direction.  Entertaining!  Steve graciously grants me the helm for the entire trip, and serve admirably as crew, responding to my every command with a smile.

The afternoon winds down, and we return our worthy craft to her slip.  I remount the two wheeler, and return whence I've come, making one stop at a small lake I dimly recalled.  Ah, to lie on the forest floor, gazing up, listening to the breeze in the trees.  Next to water, even better! With that refreshing break, I resume the cruise, and get home just after my lovely bride.  Another full day!

Author... Dave Farmer of Spokane

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