Leigh Lake
Jun 27, 2020, 9:40 AM
Jun 28, 2020, 6:00 PM
1 guest, 0 comments, 400 views, 0 likes
Thirty four years ago, I made my first paddle trip to Leigh Lake, because so little shore line is accessible. I estimate that I’ve paddled Leigh well over 60 times. Of all the trips I’ve lead for the Spokane Mountaineers and friends, this one trip is my most favorite. This trip has a three person limit, besides me. We will meet at the Super 1 in Athol at 8:45 am, and leave at 9 sharp, on the 27th. Our first stop will be at the Clark Fork Pantry. They make excellent peanut butter cookies, among other delights. Then it’s on to Ross Creek Cedars for a two hour walk among giant Western Red Cedars, some as old as 1500 years. Up near the top of the loop, we will head up Trail #142 away from the loop, to enjoy the cedars without the crowds. A cool new feature at the Cedars parking area, is the thousands of trail cairns people have built on the creek bed. The next stop on this sight seeing tour is Kootenai Falls. We will spend about 1.5 hours here before heading to Libby. In Libby, we will have dinner at Henry’s. It’s like going back into the 50’s. After dinner, there is a Roseaurs near by to pick up last minute supplies. Then it’s off to the “campsite” or the trailhead for the night. Wake up time will be at 6:30am so we can be on the trail by 8am. The hike to Leigh Lake is only 1.65 miles, but gains 900 verts. About 2/3 the way in, is our first stop at Leigh Creek Falls. After splashing ice cold water on the face, the next 200 vertical feet, is the crux of the hike. It’s steep but well protected, and once above, the walk out to the lake is a very scenic 1/4 of a mile. We will inflate the rafts, organize our gear and load the rafts for the paddle. The number one thing all paddlers need to know, is if during the inflating and loading stage, you can not let loose of your raft. A small gust of wind can blow it into the bushes and pop it. You will be responsible to replace the raft. Once in the water, the paddle is as comfortable as sitting on your recliner, watching an IMAX movie. As we paddle only one side of the raft, it spins, giving you a 360° IMAX movie effect. Spinning is addictive, however. Lunch will be on the SE side of the lake, up in the “amphitheater”. For those who wish to explore this incredible area, there’s a nice walk up further into the amphitheater. The views from within the amphitheater are well worth the effort to get there. Soon we will all meet up at the rafts, for the paddle back to the put in-take out spot. After deflating the rafts, and packing up, the hike out is easy and very scenic. THINGS I WILL SUPPLY: Rafts, kayak paddles, PFD’s, two air pumps, dry bags, map, and all the fun you can have. THINGS YOU MUST HAVE WITH YOU: 13 essentials, breakfast, lunch-trail snacks-libations, hiking poles, sun protections ( lotion, hat, clothing), sturdy boots, clothing for all weather conditions. If you have any of the gear needed, please feel free to bring your own equipment. The longer the paddles the better. The paddle portion may be postponed if the winds are up too high. And if the weather shows high winds the days before, I may postpone it for a week, for better conditions. Please call me at 208.659.8183 with your interest in attending. If by chance you need to cancel, please call me as soon as possible so I can pick another from the waiting list. For more images of past trips to Leigh Lake, log, go to Cabinet Mountain Wilderness, then to Leigh Lake.