The past week, my parents were in town visiting and we spent the week exploring and showing them our favorite places in the area. We’d usually leave fairly early in the morning and get back kinda late, always exhausted. As a result, I haven’t been able to post some detailed updates on the awesome places that we’ve been. I’ll try to summarize the week here.

WWII era bomberSaturday, July 23: Picked my parents up from the Lewiston airport. Turns out, there was some kind of airplane festival going on so we decided to have a look. There were planes out on the tarmack for people to check out, mostly navy planes, but still neat to see them up close. It was hot and out in the open, so we didn’t stay long. We had lunch in Lewiston before making the scenic drive back to our house.

Sunday: We started out the morning hiking the Potlatch River Trail near Little Boulder Creek in Helmer. It’s the little 5.5 mile loop behind us. We did the whole loop and it was much easier than the last time when there was still snow on the trail. We spent the afternoon in Moscow taking care of some shopping  and other errands to prepare for the rest of the week.

 

Walking Among Giants. This is a great place to bring the family. It’s a short walk from the parking area to the “mine” where $10 gets you the privilage to sift through dirt and sand looking for the prized star garnet. Emerald Creek is one of two places in the world to find star garnets, the other being a place in India. We came home with some nice garnet pieces and later in the week, took them to the local rock shop to have them looked at. Turns out, we had a couple of star garnets, one of which was nice enough to cut into a pendant. After rock hunting, I took everyone to the Hobo Cedar Grove to walk among the awesome forest and big trees.

Tuesday: We went to Spokane to shop and explore the city. After dropping a friend off at the airport, we headed to Manito Park where the botanical gardens are and finally got to see them in full bloom. Then we headed ot REI where Erin traded in her hiking boots for another pair that should hopefully be more comfortable. Surprisingly, I was good on this trip and didn’t buy anything. Then we went downtown to check it out. I was interested in Huppins, the local camera and electronics shop. I was disappointed to find they were more of a TV and stereo dealer than a camera shop. Looks like the nearest pro photography store might be in Seattle. We had dinner at Anthony’s, overlooking the falls and finished the evening with a walk through Riverside Park. Did I mention that we saw a moose on the way into the city?

BeargrassWednesday: We had one “big” hike planned for the week, and for this trip, we kept it local and headed up to Freezeout Saddle. My initial goal was to hike to Lookout Mountain, but we ran into snow on the road that forced us to turn around and hike Grandmother Mountain instead. Last year, we hiked up there in early September and the area was showing signs of Autumn. Now, in late July, the area was showing signs of early Spring with tons of wildflowers in bloom including Beargrass! But what really surprised us was the ammount of snow up there so late in the season. I would expect a few patches here and there in some cool shady areas, but we were climbing over some good-sized mounds on the trail. The last push for the summit was nearly entirely on a snowfield under the trees. As a result, we stopped at Grandmother and did not continue to Grandfather Mountain on this trip. Nevertheless, that area is beautiful and quite awesome and a great place to go to beat the heat. I’m reminded that there’s such a short window to enjoy the high country between the time the snow melts enough to get up there and it becomes blocked off again by the next winter’s arrival.

Me by the Giant Western Red CedarThursday: We can’t have visitors without taking them to Elk River. It’s such a neat place and so close that it’s impossible to pass up. We started at the Elk River Falls, hiking our usual route backward by starting at the lower falls and ending at the upper, giving the dogs a chance to swim in the pool below the upper falls before hiking back to the car. Then we stopped in the town itself to get some of their famous Huckleberry ice cream. Finally, we headed out to the giant cedar to show my dad… well… the giant cedar. Unfortunately, the road to the Morris Creek Cedar Grove has been closed all season for construction, so it looks like we’ll have to wait until next year to check it out.

Friday: We took a down day, spent the morning at home, and the afternoon in Moscow walking around town since most of the shops were closed on Sunday when we were in. We had one last nice dinner at Nectar and then headed to Lewiston where my parents were spending the night to catch a 5:30 am flight the next morning. And thus concludes a week of exploring the sights of the Moscow area.

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