Archives for posts with tag: lake coeur d’alene

Harrison, Idaho, suffered a devastating fire in July of 1917. Before the fire, Harrison was a typical frontier lumber town with dirt streets, wooden sidewalks, and western-style false front buildings packed closely together. Wood everywhere, combined with sparks from steam engines, created the perfect condition for fires, which occurred frequently. The one on the morning of July 21st proved to change the face of the town forever.

100 Year Fire of 2017, Harrison, Idaho

Harrison Fire of 1917. Photo courtesy Museum of North Idaho.

A Spokane Chronicle article of July 21, 1917 said:

Harrison is credited with a population of 1000 people in the last Polk directory. There were Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist churches, a bank, hotel, hospital, three sawmills, one shingle mill, electric light plant, water works and weekly newspaper.

Among the business firms listed are:

  • John Atler, shoemaker
  • Alex Beaver, proprietor Harrison hotel
  • Wayne S. Bridgeman, hardware
  • Arthur W. Burleigh, grocer
  • A.B. Cathcart, harness shop
  • Chinn Brothers, grocers
  • Coeur d’Alene & St. Joe Transportation company, J.W. Kooney, agent
  • Mrs. Alice F. Cope, confectioner
  • Corskie Brothers, druggists
  • William F. Davis, barber
  • Fred W. Dodier, physician
  • Duluth Lumber company, David E. Lakin, manager
  • Export Lumber company, E.E. Goodwin, superintendent
  • Dr. John M. Finney
  • First bank, A.A. Crane, president
  • W.H. Hagar, cashier
  • James M. Finch, barber
  • Dr. Fred A. Ford, dentist
  • Walter C and Lucius U. Fuller, billiard parlor, tobacco and sporting goods
  • G.F. Gilbert & Co., feed
  • Grant Lumber company, W.E. Grant, president, R.H. Grant, secretary
  • Winston B. Hagar, insurance
  • E.P. Harris, barber
  • Harrison Box company, Judson W. Cook, manager
  • Harrison Commercial club, Daniel Shanahan, president, J.W. Cooney, secretary
  • Harrison Drug company, W.M. Davis, manager
  • Harrison hospital, Fred W. Didier, superintendent
  • Harrison hotel, Alex Beaver, proprietor
  • Harrison laundry, Chris Sandven, proprietor
  • Harrison Mercantile company, D.E. Brown, manager
  • Harrison Searchlight, Samuel M. Logan, publisher
  • Harrison Shingle company, James M. Brown, manager
  • Harrison water works
  • Interstate Utilities company, Charles Ingram, manager
  • R.S. Jensen, furniture
  • A.I. Joliff, jeweler
  • Edwin R. Jones, general contractor and boatbuilder
  • James Jones, restaurant
  • Marian A. Kiger, lawyer
  • James W. Kooney, agent Northern Pacific railway and Great Northern Pacific express
  • Mrs. Bertha Lamb, confectionery
  • Jonathon Lamb, blacksmith
  • Marler & Brass meats
  • Lawrence B. Moyer, agent, O.-W. R. & N. Co. and Western Union
  • Nitkey Brothers, billiards
  • Walter Paulsen, grocer
  • John Petro, confectionery
  • Princess theater, Fred D. McCain, Manager
  • Jesse W. Ramage, restaurant
  • Red Collar S. S. Line, Joseph W. Kooney, agent
  • E.C. Ribstein, hardware
  • M.W. Frost, U.S. commissioner
  • Russell & Pugh Lumber company, W.B. Russell, president, J.J. Pugh, secretary, sawmill and electric light plant
  • Daniel Shanahan, tailor
  • Essler W. Wheeler, undertaker
  • Wilson & Amacher (William A. Wilson, Fritz Amacher), meats
  • Dr. William Youngberg, dentist



Migrating bald eagles from Canada winter along the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene from November to March. Peak viewing time is between Christmas and early January.

Adult bald eagles have a white head and tail that contrasts with their dark bodies, and the younger ones are mostly brown. The wings of full grown eagles span up to eight feet. The females are about a third larger than the males. Their average lifespan is estimated at 30 years.

The eagles are drawn to the rugged hills, dense evergreen stands, and abundant spawning kokanee around Wolf Lodge Bay and Beauty Bay and the east side of the lake. Some people view and photograph them from Coeur’dAlene Drive between I-90 and the lake’s north shore.

I used to see a lot of eagle viewers packed into the parking area at the boat ramp on Hwy. 97. But since the state started charging a fee, more people tend to squeeze into pullouts along the two-lane road or head south to Mineral Ridge parking area at Beauty Bay, which is still free. If you drive there, watch out for bird watchers walking and stopping along the highway.

The thrill of seeing bald eagles is not limited to the north end of the lake. I have seen them on the ice when cross country skiing between Harrison and Chatcolet on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.

For luxurious eagle viewing, rent a room at the Lakeview Lodge in Harrison and see them through the sliding glass doors from the warmth of your room,  or step out on the deck. Your hosts will even provide binoculars.

eagles, eagle watching, lake coeur d'alene

Eagles were removed from the list of endangered and threatened species in 2007. Now, they are a protected species and it is illegal to molest or disturb them in any way. If you happen to find an eagle feather on the ice, leave it there. Possessing one can incur a fine up to $25,000!

cycle group at pedal pushers bike shop in harrison idaho

Cycle group at Pedal Pushers Bike Shop in Harrison. Old Masonic Hall building in background is now an artists studio.


Fancy trikes at Harrison Trading Post, Harrison, Idaho, summer 2014.

Tin Cup outdoor tables, downtown Harrison

Relaxing at an outdoor table at the Tin Cup downtown in Harrison, Idaho, July 2014



Beach, boat docks, and Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, south Lake Coeur d’Alene, Harrison, Idaho, summer 2014

June 2014

Teri & Rusty Riberich of Harrison Idaho Water Adventures have added the Jetovator to their arsenal of water toys and equipment for rent on Lake Coeur d’Alene this summer.  In addition, they will bring the Jetovator to events and private parties between the Columbia River in Washington and Flathead Lake in Montana.


The Jetovator comes to Lake Coeur d’Alene

The Jetovator is essentially a bike that attaches to a high-output personal water craft (PWC) with a 40-foot hose. It has the capability of flying up to 30 feet in the air and diving down 10 feet below the water.

Water thrust from the PWC propels the Jetovator into the air. The rider can redirect the thrust of two nozzles to maneuver the Jetovator in all directions. The ride can be mild or wild, depending on skill levels.

So, if the idea of balancing atop a gyrating hose sounds thrilling to you, you now have a convenient opportunity to experience the Jetovator in the Inland Northwest.

The rental comes with a thirty-minute training session, twenty minutes of flight time, safety equipment, and a trained PWC operator who controls the thrust of water through the hose. They can also cut the throttle in the event that either the Jetovator or PWC get too close to any object in the water.

In addition to providing equipment rental, Harrison Idaho Water Adventures is the authorized Jetovator retail distributors in this area.

Call (208) 582-0177 to bring the Hose to your waterside party.

Teri and Rusty Riberich bring the Jetovator to the Inland Northwest


Here is the summer line-up for free live music on Saturday afternoons in the Harrison City Park.

The entertainment starts with a country music performance by Beargrass June 7.

Rampage will provide a rock, blues and country mix, June 14 during Pig in the Park  and Harrison Craft and Trade  Fair.

The Kristi Kelli Band plays classic rock/country June 21.

JamShack, formerly known as the Jam Band will get your feet moving  with rock variety, June 28.

Performances are between 2 and 5 pm. It’s okay to dance.

The Harrison Summer Concert Series and other acts around the south end of Lake Coeur d’Alene are posted at

Harrison Idaho Free Summer Concerts2014 Summer Concert Series Flyer

kayaking, kayak, lake coeur d'alene

Getting out on the south end of lake early spring.


Ray Roberson of RBF

Inland NW award winning musician, Ray Roberson,

I first heard Ray Roberson perform on The Idaho, a tour boat that ran out of Heyburn State Park on the south end of Lake Coeur d’Alene. I was working at the Gazette Record, covering smART, the annual art show at Cherry Creek boaters park on the St. Joe River. The Idaho  picked us up there and Ray sounded great as he serenaded us while we cruised up the highest navigable river in the world, to the head of navigation at St. Joe City. I had only been at The Gazette for a few months, and I was thinking it was a pretty sweet job.

Unfortunately, both The Idaho and the weekend art show at Cherry Creek are history. The State Parks Dept. could not afford to keep running the cruises.The smART show isn’t gone, it’s just moved and shortened to one day. This year it will be at Aqua Park in St. Maries on Sept. 29th.

Roberson, BZ and Flores play in Harrison city park this weekend.

BZ, Flores, Roberson formed Roberson, BZ, and Flores in 2009.

Ray joined up with BZ and Flores in 2009 and has been going strong ever since, entertaining audiences throughout the Pacific Northwest. It’s difficult to hang a label on this trio. True, RBF has been twice voted the Inland Empire Blues Society’s Best Acoustic “Blues” act, and Roberson is the two-time winner of the Society’s award for “Best Blues Slide Guitar”, but the band goes way beyond the blues.

When asked, fans will tell you they play Roots-Americana-Rock-a-Bluesy music, or a variety thereof.  One thing is certain, they perform in their own style with passion.

RBF is comprised of Ray Roberson on guitars and vocals, Neil “BZ” Beese on standup bass, and “Miah” Flores on drums.  Each member is an accomplished musician in their own right.  Together they’re an original trio that gives every ounce to every show and keeps you asking for more.

The band performs this Saturday in Harrison as part of the Summer Music in the Park series. The post on Harrison’s chamber website only lists Ray, but I called and checked, and he says all three of them will be there for your listening pleasure.

Heyburn State Park

Heyburn State Park has 2,332 acres of water including this marsh.

Heyburn State Park is a beautiful destination to visit on the south end of Lake Coeur d’Alene. It’s less than a one hour drive on back roads from Spokane’s South Hill. There are three campgrounds in the park, vacation cottages, camping cabins, and miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails.

With 5,744 acres of land — much of it forested — and 2,332 acres of water, there is plenty to discover.

I brought my bicycle and parked at the Chatcolet Trailhead along the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. Idaho residents will want to get the annual parking pass for $10 at any state vehicle licensing office. Out of state visitors can get a $40 annual pass that is good for parking at all Idaho state parks.

Lots of Trails to Choose From

I usually ride the rail trail over Chatcolet Bridge toward Harrison, but this time I headed the other direction toward the vicinity of the Indian Cliffs Trailhead. This is one of two Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes trailheads in the park. Two great hiking trails start at Indian Cliffs Trailhead as well. The three-mile one requires a steep climb but the view is worth it.

The bike trail toward Indian Cliffs hugs the lake here with a path that leads down to the water every so often. You can see Rocky Point across the lake, which is also part of the park. There is a marina there, and a park with a playground, nice sandy swimming beach, and picnic area, as well as some interpretive signs that talk about how the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) helped develop this park back in the 1930s.

Camping Cabin at Heyburn State Park

Camping Cabin at Heyburn State Park, Idaho

After riding a short way I could see a cluster of rustic camping cabins in the trees. These year-round “12’x12′ cabins are alternately called “sleeper cabins.” They have power with which to run the microwave, heater or air conditioner, but there is no running water inside. There is a public restroom a few steps away and a water spigot. You can cook dinner on the grill outside while enjoying the fire pit from the porch swing.

On the other side of the bike trail, across from these cabins, I followed a path that leads into the woods and Plummer Point. I found a flush toilet in a tiny building and a water spigot on the way to a picnic area that overlooks the beach.

The Civilian Conservation Corps Built Heyburn State Park

Old Stove at Plummer Point.

An old stove at Heyburn Park

I spent some time admiring the architecture of the picnic shelter and the old oven, which I guessed were built by Company 1995 of the CCC, dispatched to the park in 1934 as part of the New Deal. The company of 150 to 200 young men was sheltered in the park for six years, where they lived somewhat of a regimented existence under the watchful eye of military officers. They wore Army surplus uniforms and slept in barracks, where they were required to pass inspections.

The company spent their days building roads, trails, bridges, picnic areas and campgrounds; clearing brush, developing beaches, laying water lines, installing toilets, and stringing power lines. For their construction labor, the boys were paid $30 a month, $25 of which was sent home to their families.

The lake at Plummer Point.

The lake at Plummer Point.

The men were allowed to take the train to St. Maries or Plummer one weekend a month to spend their remaining $5. The Union Pacific and Milwaukee railroads ran through the park on a regular basis in those days, and there was a small depot in the park near the Pedee Creek trestle, where they boarded the train.

When they weren’t working, the young men could attend classes in camp, taught by volunteer instructors. In this way, they were able to learn reading, writing, typing, photography, first aid, cooking, blacksmithing, welding, mechanics, and woodworking in their spare time.

I saw some more small buildings through the trees so took the trail to see what they were. The trail led to the Plummer Point parking area and some more restrooms. I followed the road from there, as it led back to Chatcolet Rd., the main drive through the park. It connected slightly south of the Indian Cliffs Trailhead, so I just kept going south toward the Plummer Creek Marsh Interpretive Area.

Kiosk at Plummer Marsh, Heyburn State Park

Kiosk at Plummer Marsh

Lots of Wildlife in the Park

If you enjoy hiking through trees and wildflowers, and looking for wildlife, Plummer Creek Marsh Interpretive Area is a fine place to lose yourself for a while. The Lakeshore trail winds from the parking area through the woods and down to the water.

The interpretive kiosk left of the parking area explains that you are in the Pacific Flyway for migrating birds. The panels enumerate the types of birds to look for and the best times of year to view them.

From October until the lake freezes over, up to 10,000 waterfowl use the park as a waypoint.

You can also learn something about the mammals that make their homes in this marsh. The kiosk overlooks wooden plank walkways that you can get to by following the trails down to the water to get closer to the action.

Plummer Marsh, Heyburn State Park

The kiosk overlooks plank walkways in Plummer Marsh

Another trail leads to a viewing blind where you can sit and quietly observe the marsh. A pair of binoculars or camera with a telephoto lens comes in handy here. Personally, I prefer the camera so I can take pictures of my favorite wildflowers while I’m wandering. Honeysuckle, wild roses, and thimble berries were some of the flowers I found in bloom along the trail at the Plummer Marsh Interpretive Area.

I lived in the Inland Northwest for more than 25 years and never heard of Heyburn State Park until moving to Idaho. But I’m glad I know about it now!

Honeysuckle at Heyburn State Park

Honeysuckle in bloom in early June at Heyburn State Park

St Joe Riverfront B&B

A pond greets guests at St. Joe Riverfront B&B

The St. Joe Riverfront B&B is a premier accommodation on the St. Joe River one mile west of St. Maries, Idaho. I had the pleasure of a tour and getting to know the owner, Val, yesterday. She, and husband, Cary, built the place 10 years ago. Learning more about them reinforced my notion that the true gems of Idaho are not garnets but the people who live here.

We talked non-stop the whole time while touring and taking pictures, so let me toss out  some snapshot impressions of things that stick in my mind about this place. First of all, I am putting together the 2013 Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes Unofficial Guidebook, which includes a section on the Bitteroot Loop, so my focus right now is  accommodations for cyclists riding the loop.

Obvious Stop on the Last Leg of the Bitteroot Loop

This place is an easy two-mile trip from downtown St. Maries, and to me it looks like the ideal spot to rejuvenate and reward yourself after cycling some 175 miles on the Bitterroot Loop. I’m thinking it is a perfect match with the new water shuttle service being launched by Rusty and Teri Riberich of HI Water Adventures this summer. (The service is so new it has not made it to their website of this writing).

You see, after cycling most of the loop on a network of non-motorized rail trails linked by back country multi-use roads, the rider emerges a bit dusty and tired in St. Maries. From here the cycle tourist is faced with a winding 12-mile stretch of highway and narrow to non-existent shoulders on the way back to Heyburn State Park. The road is used by commuters and commercial vehicles, trucks pulling campers, and rural drivers who are not used to seeing cycles on the road or accustomed to sharing it with anybody going slower than them. To my knowledge, seasoned riders take this road back to Heyburn State Park without incident, but a number of local lodgings offer courtesy shuttles to accommodate people who don’t want to chance ruining an otherwise serene cycle trip with a road mishap.

Charter a Boat to the Rail Trail from the Back Door

St Joe Riverfront B&B, St Maries ID

B&B right on the river. Photo courtesy of St. Joe Riverfront B&B

Now, there is the option of resting up in a beautiful B&B, feasting on a delicious breakfast, then stepping onto a boat from HI Water Adventures and enjoying the rest of the Bitterroot Loop in style from the water. What a wonderful way to cap off an already memorable vacation. After riding along the lakes and rivers of the Bitterroot Loop for most of the journey, it’s an extra treat to enjoy a bit of relaxing sight seeing from the water. Back on Lake Coeur d’Alene, your captain can take you to Chatcolet Trailhead, or up to Harrison, even to Coeur d’Alene if that is your desired destination.

Let the River Renew Your Spirit

Cozy rooms with river views

Cozy rooms with river views

I suspect it will be hard to leave the St. Joe Riverfront B&B after just one night. The ambiance falls into what I think of as Northwest rustic chic. The space is expansive yet comfortable, classy and homey, and being right on the river, incredibly scenic. If you stay here, your focus is bound to be the river — whether watching it through the floor to ceiling windows, from one of the decks, lounging on the grassy lawn that goes down to the riverbank, or experiencing it up close by getting in the water and playing in it. Yes, your hosts will arrange to have watercraft on hand if you’d like to spend some time roving the river on a jet ski or boat.

Fresh Food from the Garden

St. Joe Riverfront B&B, St. Maries, Idaho

Breakfast nook overlooking the St. Joe River

The other thing bound to impress you here is the breakfast part of B&B. Think about French toast stuffed with strawberries from the garden and huckleberries Val and Cary pick in the hills south of their place. The veggies in the frittatas are also fresh from the garden and blueberries come from the neighbor next door. Stay in fall and you can feast on pumpkin-nut muffins made from pumpkins harvested right outside. But wait, it gets better. Cary smokes the cheese that goes into the hollandaise sauce on the eggs Benedict.

Val and Cary started a successful travel agency in Spokane and ran it for 25 years. When they built the B&B ten years ago, they brought the business with them to Idaho. As lifelong travel agents, they are world travelers who love to learn about the foods of various areas they visit. They have taken cooking classes in a variety of countries and enjoy sharing what they gleaned from those experiences. I suspect they have an assemblage of intriguing travel stories to share as well.

To share their love of food, they offer interactive culinary weekends around a theme, such as Thai, Italian, Chinese or Cajun. Small groups of fellow foodies converge for a weekend of cooking and feasting. For example, coming up:

  • Soused Shrimp with Italian Herbs
  • Vietnamese Shrimp Salad
  • Poached Pears
  • Challah

Solve a Murder Mystery

Ponder who did it at during a Murder Mystery weekend.

Ponder who did it at during a Murder Mystery getaway.

They also put on Murder Mystery Nights at this B&B, which can turn an overnight getaway into a daring interactive experience. The package includes four-course dinner, lively murder mystery game, and breakfast the following morning.

The cooking classes and mystery nights are ordinarily scheduled during the slower seasons of fall through late winter, when the B&B is not already full of guests. That said, these events can also be part of a corporate or group retreat, and your hosts will be happy to discuss your needs and accommodate them when possible.

Val is committed to exploring the Greater South Lake Coeur d’Alene area and experiencing what the Bitterroot Loop offers, in order to enrich the experience of her guests who travel to this beautiful region of the North Idaho Panhandle.

Keep up with the latest news from St. Joe Riverfront B&B by checking the blog.

Bring on the Slop Jar Delta Funk


Nick Vigarino Returns to Bobbi’s on Idaho’s Bitterroot Loop May 2.

Blues artist Nick Vigarino will return to North Idaho’s Bitterroot Loop to perform at Bobbi’s famous rez bar, May 2, 9 p.m. to midnight, with drummer Larry Dennis and Al Rowe on bass. Vigarino has previously entertained on the Bitterroot Loop at One Shot Charlie’s in Harrison and at the Wallace Blues Festival.

Hey, if you were at the One Shot’s performance, check this fun video to see if you were among the crowd.

“He’s been compared to Ry Cooder and Leo Kottke…his style is a fusion of the Chicago and the Delta blues…. hip-hopped up with an amplified acoustic bottleneck, wailing against a very funky bump-and-grind rhythm section. The sum of the whole is nothing less than marvelous. A must hear.” – Victory Music Review

A former steelworker in Ohio, Nick Vigarino traded his blue collar for the blues years ago and hasn’t turned back. The beat up guitar he first played only had one string. That’s where he started learning slide technique in the tradition of seminal blues greats from the 30s, who played on homemade one-string diddley bos. These days his slide technique is described as incendiary.

“Nick Vigarino is where country blues meets the year 2000” – Long John Baldry

Nick Vigarino hosted numerous radio blues shows through the years. As a result, he amassed a cassette collection of radio interviews with numerous greats now in blues heaven. If you are interested in helping to digitize and preserve this classic collection of interviews contact Nick at

What is slop jar delta funk?

Nick Vigarino, Temptation Road

Temptation Road CD Cover

Improvised instruments were part of the early blues scene. During his radio interviews, blues legends

described how band members would scour their neighborhoods for parts and pieces that could be turned into makeshift instruments. One tale out of Helena, Arkansas, described percussionists using old pickle jars and cracker barrels — anything they could find to keep a beat on. One solution was a barrel used by a butcher to catch hog slop. That was a good one because, like a drum set, it produced a variety of tones.   “They called it a slop jar,” Vigarino explains. “I use a lot of old open tuning for slide guitar, hence the Delta tunings. And I’m always accused of being funky.”

“Wear comfortable shoes. Dancing is not exactly mandatory, but you might want to check for a pulse if this doesn’t do it for you.” – Anacortes American

Nick is an internationally known musician, most recently awarded Best Slide Blues Guitar by the Boston Blues Society in 2012. This year the Washington Blues Society nominated him for its Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was founding president of the Washington Blues Society back in 1988. That’s when the only blues associations on the west coast were in San Francisco and Portland. Last year the Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival in Mexico named him Most Recognized Participant. Nick says one of the highlights of his career came in 2011 when he had the honor of performing at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis as a finalist in the International Blues Challenge.


Nick Vigarino’s original music captures the expressive passion of the blues masters. Here are his albums:

  • Victims of Cool, Nick Vigarino – Merrimack Records, Seattle, Wa
  • The Ghost of Time, The Ghost of Time – Nick Vigarino & Kathi McDonald – Merrimack Records, Seattle, Wa
  • Temptation Road, Nick Vigarino – Meantown Music, Stanwood, Wa

Complete artist information including compilations, covers, and television appearances.

Official Website

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