Lake Pend Oreille

There are two spots I particularly love on lake Pend Oreille. One is just past the Montana border as you drive west on Highway 200, and the lake opens before your eyes, stretching past marshes and open expanses to the mountains.

The second is Mineral Point, where the water is clear and the beaches rocky. On a windy day, the waves are big enough to scare you, just a little, if you jump from the cliffs and attempt to swim to shore without hitting any unseen jagged edges. There is a trail above the water, and somehow the feel of the place is like the feel of I hike I once took near St. Tropez in the south of France. The air smells less spiced, less exotic with olive trees and hot-weather plants, but there are pines, sharp with resin, and sweet-wafting grasses, and the gentle crash of the waves on the beach below.

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