Floating the North Fork of the Coeur d'alene River is the ticket for a pleasant afternoon with friends and family. Off the beaten tourist track in the summer, the Coeur d'Alene River attracts hoards of locals with their flotillas of fun. It's a party on the river! Young and old, in tubes, kayaks, pontoons, and all manner of rafts, hooked together and gently floating with the slow moving current. Literally, from babies to seniors and even dogs in life jackets, towing floating coolers with their picnic lunch and cold drinks. Meandering down the river. Once in a while someone breaks into song. Or a baby cries, briefly. A dog barks, a duck quacks. Mostly, the sounds are laughter and conversation. And everyone you pass, or who passes you, is smiling.
My sister Kerri turned us on to river floating. When my sister Ronna came for a visit with her family, a bunch of our extended family spent a day of fun on the river. We headed out on I-90 east of Coeur d'Alene to Exit 43 (Kingston). Once exiting the interstate, head north for about 1.5 miles on Coeur d'Alene River Road. There, our first stop was The Snake Pit for a hearty breakfast to tide us over for a day of fun in the sun. (UPDATE July 2012 - The Snake Pit is currently for sale, contact me for more information.)
Now if you haven't yet experienced The Snake Pit, it's worth an excursion out there just for that experience. A local landmark for over 100 years, it's something you don't want to miss!
Just a bit further north, past The Snake Pit, you'll come to a little store where you can pay $5 and park all day. This is the perfect, grassy spot to come out of the river when day is done. Of course, your caravan of river floaters will leave one car there and then continue up the river about 4 or 5 miles to find a good spot to put in. Be careful wherever you park, there was a story in the paper a couple weeks ago about many cars being towed from along the river. One family came out of the water, their car was towed, the sun was setting, they didn't have a cell phone, cash, or any clue what to do. Apparently, it's important that your parked car tire doesn't touch even a smidge of the road...
Once you find your upriver parking spot, it's a group effort to inflate the flotilla. Kerri has all manner of tubes, inflatable lounge chairs, rafts and to the amazement of EVERY passerby, a huge Coleman Party Island! It was the mother ship of our flotilla, and somehow we managed NOT to get a photo of it! Most of our photos were taken FROM the mother ship, shaped like a huge blue donut about 10 feet across, with a hole in the middle for dangling our toes, a back rest encircling it, and enough room for 6 or 7 people to comfortably float, lounge, eat, take photos and direct the other members of the flotilla.
Once we were inflated, we waited our turn to launch. Kerri, floating veteran that she is, has collected nylon dog leashes that we used to clip the floatibles together into a giant flotilla. We had a wonderful time. The river was full of happy people that day. We stopped a couple of times when the water was deep, to swim. For one long stretch my nephew snorkeled behind the flotilla. And when it was very shallow, the neices and nephews played frisbee down the river while we bobbed along at a snails pace.
The sights and scenery along the river are incredible. It's a pleasant way to connect with nature and those you love, and it's right in our backyard! One more tip from the veteran river floaters is that it gets quite chilly along the river when the sun sinks behind the tall pines that line the river in late afternoon. The best time to launch is late morning. Four or five hours later you'll be 4 or 5 miles down the river to your car before the shady river starts to chill you to the bone!
If you decide to take a float down the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, keep your eyes open for our giant blue party island. You can't miss it!
Janna Rankin Scharf provides a superior level of real estate services to home buyers and sellers in Coeur d'Alene and Kootenai County, Idaho. Visit www.JannaScharf.com to search for homes in the Coeur d'Alene MLS for anywhere in spectacular North Idaho.
No matter how grand or modest your real estate dreams may be, you can turn to me in confidence. Give me a call today and let me know what I can do to be of service to you!
Janna Rankin Scharf, AB, GRI, CSP, CNS, CLHMS 208.651.9700