As a lover of all things analog, from watches to tube amplifiers to cars, whenever I come across the opportunity to partake in someone else’s joy of analogicity (is that a word?), there shall I be in the midst.
Yesterday I found myself way up yonder in northern Idaho. The panhandle as it were. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t just wandering around the sandy surround of the desert Southwest and suddenly happened upon northern Idaho unexpectedly. That would be quite the “whoah dude!” experience though.
Why am I here in this place you may ask? Because at home in Phoenix it is consistently hovering at about 110 degrees during the day. Instead of hunkering down and sweating it out we busted a move and ran to the cooler climes of more northerly latitudes. Latitudes with tall pine trees in a land with huge lakes and few people. Although the Idahoans, when you cross paths with them are amongst the sweetest I’ve met. Good on you, Idahoans!
Lakes. Right. Yes, I do like water. Although you wouldn’t know it by where I live. Many places in the desert marked as rivers on the map or with “River” in the name are nothing but a dried up wash that becomes active only at certain times of the year during heavy rain. Not exactly desirable for lazy river tubing, fly fishing and pontoon boating. Sometimes they only flow, and flow heavily for a few hours.
But up here in the north woods, there’s big lakes. How big? Big. Yes, I know that’s not a very helpful description, so let me put it into perspective. Right outside of Sandpoint here in Idaho is a very very large lake with an interesting name called Pend Oreille, that’s pronounced “pond-eray”. And let me tell you, it ain’t no pond.
This lake is the 8th largest by volume (as opposed to surface area) in the US. The only lakes holding more water in the “Lower 48” are the great lakes and Lake Tahoe. Tahoe, being in a volcanic cone is extraordinarily deep at a maximum depth of 1,645 feet. So don’t drop your sunglasses while you are out wakeboarding.
Pend Oreille or “ear pendant” has a maximum depth of 1,152 feet. That’s still pretty friggin’ deep. To give you an idea lets compare it to the Great Lakes. Lake Erie has a maximum depth of 210 feet, Lake Ontario bottoms out at 393 feet, Lake Huron at 750 feet, Lake Michigan at 925 feet, and finally the big daddy, Lake Superior (third largest fresh-water lake in the world, and largest in the US) is the only one with a depth greater at 1,332 feet. So we’re talking a very deep lake that hardly anyone has ever heard of, and even fewer can pronounce here in the woods of north Idaho. Fifth deepest in the US in fact.
It’s so deep (while also having so few currents) that the US Navy saw fit to put a submarine base on the southern tip of it, with the current stated purpose of testing sonar equipment. Previously it was stated to have been for sub training. Yes, this lake has a mini-submarine fleet. And they’re doing God-knows-what down there, but I suspect it is more than just collecting all of the lost sunglasses on the lake bottom. Perhaps not, but I have a good imagination.
Here’s a photo of one, taken from Wikipedia:
While it’s an astoundingly large volume of water, it comes with a bit less impressive surface area of 148 square miles. It’s still huge by any measure, but comes in at 38 in the nation by surface area that it occupies. As for dimensions, depending on who you ask you’ll get a different answer as to how long it is. If you ask me, I’ll split the difference and say about 55 miles long. Which is pretty long for a lake, if you ask me.
So there, that should satisfy your burning desire to know something about the lake I’m sitting in front of right now. Like I said, it’s big. If you want to know more, look it up in your spare time.
As it turns out, today on the huge lake there is a gathering of wooden boats which ply these waters, moored right here on the dock in Sandpoint. Quite different than the submarines which can be found here, there are boats here that go back into the 1930’s and perhaps earlier. I wasn’t really paying close attention to dates and I’m not any kind of an expert on wooden boats, but I did manage to keep myself and the dog out of the water. The newest one that I saw and noted was a 2009 model (below) and it is every bit as gorgeous as the rest of them, perhaps more so in some ways. But really, they were all beauties.
And there was one set of analog wheels parked right next to the dock. Can you identify the year, make and model?
As if you hadn’t noticed, I like analog and I like gorgeous and I like lakes. Thus it stands to reason that I would find myself at the intersection of these three things. So I took a few photos for you, mainly to prove that I truly was there in the midst. I hope you enjoy the photos. By the way, you can find out more about the boat show here: http://www.sandpoint.org/boatfestival/