A revival: It’s camping season in North Idaho!

maremma sheepdog at chatcolet lake

My goal for the rest of this year is to do a better job of planting in this field, rather than letting it go fallow.

I’ve had a few a-ha moments in the last year or so.

One that drove me to quit my full-time job as the marketing manager at a tech comzzzzzzz … wake up! Right?

One that drove me to pursue a business in dog photography.

My camera plus dogs … how perfect can that be?

And one that made me realize why I hadn’t been writing.

I was too full.

Too full of grief for Shep, even after so many years of him being gone. (It will be five years this August.)

The pain stunted my desire to adventure with Bella.

It harnessed my motivation to craft words around the few escapes we would take.

It hurt so bad. It still hurts.

But I’m finding ways to still that pain, having my dog photography clients tell me their stories, writing those stories, accompanying the words with (pretty good?) images of their dogs.

And by going out on more adventures.

Bella deserves that.

So do I.

Our annual camping trip to Idaho

I say “to Idaho” like it’s a big deal.

It isn’t.

Idaho is just right over there. Not even 10 minutes away.

Our favorite state-operated campground is a nod south, just about 45 minutes. It took me that long to get from my place to a friend’s house for dinner when I lived in Calgary.

It’s the Chatcolet campground in Heyburn State Park. We even have our favorite tent site, parked right next to the trail that leads down the hill to Chatcolet Lake. It’s the very tippy bottom tip of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

A long bridge spans across the lake, carrying pedestrians, runners, and bicyclists travelling the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.

maremma sheepdog at chatcolet lake

Bella on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes

She loves camping, she hates camping

Honestly, I can never tell.

Bella loves to get in the truck and go … anywhere.

And she seems to enjoy being outdoors.

But she sure does love to be inside.

Which is weird. Because her breed is intended to be outside with her flock all the time.

This girl is mad spoiled, though.

So, I think she gets pretty conflicted about her identity when we force her to sleep outside.

happy maremma sheepdog in grass

maremma sheepdog in grass

The images above were taken within seconds of each other.

Maybe she just doesn’t like having her picture taken all the time?

Too bad. Life is tough when you’re the kid of a professional dog photographer.

I will, however, give her a moment to hide in the truck tent when the thunder rolls. (Phone image!)

maremma sheepdog in tent

Out and about at Chatcolet

Every camping trip starts off with two things:

Bud Light Chelada



Of course, a third thing, my camera.

I am rarely without my camera anymore, always looking for an opportunity to practise and get better.

When we go camping, though, it’s a chance to train my lens on something other than dogs. (Oooh, but I have another recent adventure to tell you about soon, too!)

I look for wildflowers, tree blossoms, scenery, anything.

This year, I snuck away for something a little different than usual.

Last year, I went out with my friend Mike Busby for my first try at getting the Milky Way. (I was sure I had blogged about it and now that I look back, I kick myself because I didn’t.)

This night, I was on my own.

OK, not really, I met two friends on the bridge and, thank goodness, because a pack of sketchy teens rolled up and we stared them all down with our mighty tripods.

OK, not really. They saw us, sneered a bit, turned around and walked away.

I think we were in their spot for either makeout sessions or beer drinking.

Little did they know I was packing a couple spare cold ones. Hey, it’s a long hike back up the hill to the campground!

Anyway, my night under the stars was OK. I was a little too tired and tipsy to stay for the whole showing of the galactic core but I think I did all right.

milky way at chatcolet north idaho

You can at least see the core starting to peek out, I think.

It leaves me wanting another crack at it, setting a night up with a coffee rather than a coffee-flavored stout. (Thank you, Cavatica from Fort George Brewing!)

It also leaves me wanting a newer, sturdier tripod. I had no idea I came home with star trail images, because the post under the ballhead of my tripod swung loose.

star trails at chatcolet in north idaho

I posted that on Facebook and friends said they thought it was an ultrasound.

Ummmmmm … no.


Anyhow, maybe there will be a starry night soon.

I guarantee you there will be more dusty, dirt road adventures.

Stay tuned!

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  1. […] went camping at our favorite spot in North Idaho last weekend, and I got the sweetest little image of Bella enduring her weekend […]

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