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Idaho! Backpack Program

August 24, 2013

Idaho – Wednesday, August 14

I had stayed in Washington last night because it was dark when I finished my walking, and I wanted to drive into Idaho in the daylight. Plus, it was more reasonable cost-wise! And I had forgotten to buy the Washington postcards for my family – and they’re hard to find in just “regular” stores! But I ran a couple errands, found some postcards, and drove into Idaho a little after noon – State #44!

About 5 miles after I crossed the state line, I came to the town of Post Falls. I figured it was a good place to start my Idaho walking, but first I looked into donation possibilities, and saw that the Post Falls Food Pantry had a backpack program, and with school getting ready to start up, I wanted to make a donation to that program. I called to find out if it would be best if I went shopping for some of the food, or if a financial donation would be better, and they said they could stretch the dollars farther than I could up at a big food bank, so they would certainly appreciate a check! I found the food pantry, and they were open for business, and helping some people get their food. I met Sherry (I think I have that right!) and she showed me around. Everything is wonderfully organized, and they had carts of food ready for people to pick up – in addition to non-perishable food, families also get fresh produce, and baked goods from stores. They’re able to come in once a week. And there is a huge need for the backpacks that are sent home with school kids on the weekends – I’m pretty sure I heard that close to 60% of the children in the area qualify for the extra help, and a lot of volunteers come in to help get the weekly backpack bags ready. It was fun to hear about their programs and see the whole place – it’s bigger than it first looks!

Then it was time to do some walking. I found some trails near a beautiful lake, and lots of people were out swimming and boating. There was an especially pretty little cove, and one of the big pine trees even had a long rope tied to it so the kids could swing out over the water and drop in. It was such a nice summery afternoon – kids on bikes and skateboards, bikes flung down in haste to get to the water, families on the beach and even some dogs in the water. At one point by the lake, Tula decided so quickly to take a dip that I couldn’t even get her leash off! And she jumped in at a steep spot and of course gave no thought as to how she was going to get out again, so that was a bit awkward, but she made it! Altogether on the lake paths and part of the Black Bay trail, I covered a little over 4 miles.

Then I left Post Falls and headed up to Sandpoint, a town located at the north end of a 43 mile long lake. There was a farmer’s market going on in a park in town, and it was fun to wander around that, and through the rest of town. The Coldwater Creek flagship store is in Sandpoint, and I popped in after I put Tula back in the car, but it pretty much looked like any other Coldwater Creek store – except they had a wine bar upstairs. There was a bike trail along one of the rivers in town, so I walked a couple miles along that, and then finished off the walking for the day at the beach area – which was a big peninsula sort of shape with numerous sandy beaches, lifeguard chairs, sailboats coming in, a lake tour boat, and playgrounds. There was a walking path around the whole area, and it was just kind of a perfect summer snapshot!

I had kept my eyes open for campgrounds on my way up here, and had seen a couple, so I backtracked to one of the state rec areas, but its campground was full. This is a very popular place for people to visit in the summer. So I decided to just go to Plan B, which was to stay at a Travel America campground about 6 miles south of town – it wasn’t particularly pretty or interesting, and kind of close by the road, but that’s all I needed and they actually had good wi-fi service. So it turned out to be just fine.

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