Northwest Adventures

Hiking and camping trips in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho

Country road near Ritzville, WA
spring of 2020

Turnbull NWR – Stubblefield Lake Loop, January 14, 2021

You can see the video of this hike on our YouTube channel here.

Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is one of our favorite places to visit in our area. We often find ourselves there enjoying a picnic lunch, taking a quick walk on one of the shorter trails, or just driving the 5-mile auto loop to see if we can spot any wildlife.

The Pine Lake Loop Trail is a short, easy, paved walk that we have done many times and have always wanted to extend that 1.25 mile trip by hiking the Stubblefield Lake Loop. Today was the day!

With the sun peeking in and out and the temperatures ranging in the mid to low 30s we found the trail enjoyable to walk and were thankful for the little up-hill areas to get our heart rate up, keeping us warm and comfortable.

Shari and I determined that in our excitement and rush to get out and complete this easy 6 mile loop we both read the map sideways, leading us to turn at a point where we shouldn’t have and reaching a dead end! No worries though as we weren’t lost, just off trail a bit at the exact half way point. We back-tracked and got in the whole 6 miles but we will go back to follow the correct trail.

Hog Lake Loop Trail, January 11, 2021

You can see the video of this hike on our YouTube channel here.

There are a lot of trails in our immediate area that are best explored in the “off” season due to possible rattlesnake and tick activity. This is one of them.

The day we decided to walk this 1.9 mile loop trail the weather was threatening rain and the temps were in the high 30s – perfect for a snake- and tick-free experience!

The trail was easy to walk and there were several side trails that led to points overlooking the lake and waterfall. Taking these extra steps brought our total mileage for the day to 3.2 miles.

Bayley joined us and enjoyed her off-leash exploring time!

Day hike in Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, October 15, 2020

You can see the video of this hike on our YouTube channel here.

It was a beautiful fall day in Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge and we had a great time hiking the Bluebird Trail.

Kris recently got a new backpack, a Hyperlite Mouintain Gear 3400 Junction, for the upcoming continuation of our AT thru hike and we decided to take a short day hike to try it out. The style of this pack is quite different from her original Gregory Amber 60 so there will need to be some adjustments made in how it is packed and worn, but Kris gave this trial run a big “thumbs up”!

Bayley joined us for this easy 4 mile walk and she wore her backpack as well. This was the longest she’s had it on and she did great! She is an awesome trail dog!

Camping and Hiking with Shari’s Folks, October 6 – 8, 2020

You can see the video of this trip on our YouTube channel here.

 After our one night camping trip to this area last week (the Idaho Panhandle National Forest)  we wanted to bring Shari’s folks, Jerry and Paula, here to enjoy the beautiful scenery and to take Shari’s dad on a short hike up the first leg of the Coal Creek Trail (we did the Graham and Coal Creek Loop in early August). 

We arrived early in the day and set up camp at a great spot right on the Coeur d’Alene river. Jerry and Paula have a converted Ford Transit van and pull a “support” trailer that houses their kitchen and bathroom. We have our Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 3 and a “support” Suburban! 

Bayley had some company on this trip with her cousins Red and Daisy joining us. This was Red’s first big outing and she did really well playing in the water off leash and hanging around with us at night as we enjoyed the campfire.

Our mini hike with Jerry was a lot of fun. Bayley joined us for this little walk and it was the first time she hiked with her backpack. She seemed to be comfortable with it. She also did great on trail, walking a little ahead of us and always turning around to make sure she wasn’t going too far.

After our hike we explored the area a bit and found the Prichard Tavern where we grabbed a burger (which was delicious!) before heading back to tell Paula all about our day.

Camping in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, September 30 to October 1, 2020

You can see our video of this camping trip on our YouTube channel here.

We loved the area around the Graham and Coal Creek Loop trail when we went hiking in August so much that we decided to go back for an overnight camping trip. Our original plan was to camp at the same spot we were in last time, the Coal Creek trailhead, but with it being about five weeks later in the season, and there having been a recent rain, we found the site to be dark, damp, and cold. Another option was to check out the Graham Creek trailhead for a spot as that area is a bit more open and not right on the creek. 

A quick drive down the road and we found the trailhead area already had one occupant – a large “A class” motorhome. While this camping area offered a large enough space for the both of us to enjoy privacy, and we really don’t mind having neighbors, we wanted to look for something a little more secluded. We had passed a few areas between the two trailheads that looked like they might be good options so we left the A class neighbor site as a backup and headed out to explore.

With a quick turn onto a dirt road we soon found a dispersed camping area right on the Coeur d’Alene river with over two dozen spots to set up our tent with no neighbors in sight! We picked a spot, took a quick walk around to check out other possibilities, and determined our original location would be just fine!

Our afternoon and evening was spent playing with Bayley in the river, gathering some left behind wood and making a fire, getting in some hard core card games, and watching the cliff face on the opposite side of the river change colors with the setting sun.

This area is so beautiful and peaceful. We are already planning our next trip here – maybe we can convince Shari’s folks to come along!

Graham and Coal Creek Loop, August 4 to 7, 2020

You can check out our videos of this trip on our YouTube channel here.

Our friend Susan was here for a visit so we decided to go on a hike! Our destination was the Graham and Coal Creek Loop in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. We left on August 4th from the Coal Creek trailhead and spent two days hiking the 12 mile loop. The terrain, while stunningly beautiful at times, was challenging! There were many areas of loose rock, talus fields to navigate, and one incredibly long and steep climb – then descent! – near the end of day one!

There weren’t many spots to set up camp and we hiked a little further than any of us wanted to before we found the (almost) perfect location to pitch our tents. I say almost perfect because we had a hard time squeezing our 3 person and Susan’s 2 person Big Agnes Copper Spur tents in. We did it though and had a great night’s sleep right next to the stream.

The next day was a little easier on the feet and legs and we determined that our next overnight trip to the area would have us start at the Graham Creek trailhead, hike the six miles in to the camp spot, then hike back out the same way the next day. This would allow us to avoid the climb/descent and still give us a good solid two days of hiking.

Once back in civilization, we decided that we weren’t done having fun yet so we set up camp at the Coal Creek trailhead and Susan spent one more night there with us before leaving to finish her cross country trip. Shari and I stayed one extra night after that before heading home.

In all, we spent four days adventuring – two days hiking, one night on trail, three nights camping at the trailhead. This is definitely an area we will be back to explore!

Hike on!

Want to help fuel our adventures?
Buying us a coffee is an easy way to support our work.
%d bloggers like this: