My mom came to visit last week, so Hillary and I took Thursday off from work and we went driving all over north Idaho.
The first stop was Bonner's Ferry, which is a sleepy little town about 45 minutes north of Sandpoint. It's kind of an odd town -- there are three or four blocks of shops in the "downtown" part, and the streets don't really seem to go on very far beyond that. I was kind of wondering where the residents live.
Across the highway is the worst casino I've ever been in. All they had were slot machines and a couple of weird bingo machine things. I understand not having table games in such a remote location (though it is the closest casino to the Canadian border), but not even video poker? Yuck. I threw a couple of dollars into a Men in Black slot machine (which, admittedly, was kinda cool for the nostalgia factor) and we got out of there pretty fast.
Just west of the town is a large wildlife preserve. There's a walking trail up to their "waterfall", which is really just a little stream that occasionally goes down some small rocks. My mom had wanted to see a waterfall when she came to Idaho, and she demanded more satisfaction.
After a quick trip along the preserve's driving trail, we continued up the highway toward Canada. Less than a mile from the border, we turned onto a bumpy dirt road that wound its way up into the mountains. I'm normally not one to be intimidated by precarious spots, but this was an unpaved, gravelly road with nothing between the car and a 100+ foot plunge down the side of the mountain. Fun!
We parked at the top of the mountain and headed up the mile-long walking trail to Copper Falls. We were expecting another disappointing view (especially since late summer isn't the best time to catch a waterfall in Idaho), and boy, were we surprised.
I don't know how well the picture conveys it, but Copper Falls is huge. It's at least a 100-foot waterfall, and we could see grooves in the rock from the massive flow in the spring after the snow melts. We'll have to go back in March or April -- it's definitely worth the two-hour drive.