You are tuning in to the soft, smooth sounds of COHPing After Dark.
This was part of a 2.5-day push on the following Washington & Idaho counties: Stevens, Pend Oreille, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai, Benewah, and Latah.
After South Selkirk Crest, I stopped at a brewery in Bonners Ferry, and then another in Coeur d'Alene to refuel. After topping off the gas tank I headed to Latour Peak using Daniel Coulter's directions. Not only are his directions spot-on and easy to follow, but as he mentioned, you can punch 'em in on the ol' googlemaps and you will be good to go.
I felt no guilt hitting this peak after dark, since other trip reports seem agreed that there is little to be missed here in terms of aesthetics. Also, I found out in hindsight that August 3 is National Summit Day, so I got to start it off with a bang at 1 a.m. atop Latour Peak. Also I strangely like the eerie feeling of being in unfamiliar territory after dark in a state known for its off-the-grid militias.
Daniel Coulter's report is so accurate, right down to the last 3 miles of that "road." I cannot recommend highly enough walking those last 3 miles. Both my jaw and my sphincter muscles nearly atrophied from the constant clenching, and my poor dogs, already exhausted from the day's efforts, were nervously panting in the back. And why wouldn't they be? Surely this had to be the road to hell (which is in our experience NOT AT ALL PAVED). At times the limbs stretched almost all the way across the road, which was already rutted and rocky. It was slow and scratchy and bumpy going.
Finally after about 3 miles I arrived at the ATV road that leads to both the Latour summit and the Benewah county high point. The dogs got to rest in the vehicle again.
I walked the 1/2-mile to the summit of Latour first. There were a few stars out, so I left my headlamp off to enjoy them, although they seemed to be more sparse and did not provide much light at this point in the evening. I do wish I'd used my watch, but at the time I thought the distances would be too nominal to bother. I did not stray from the wheel tracks much, and without much to see, I descended back to the vehicle and continued walking to the Benewah county high point. To warn critters of my presence, I periodically shouted "BALLS" on my walk to the Benewah county high point. This was surprisingly cathartic.
Once at my vehicle I switched on my headlamp as the ATV trail down seemed a bit more wooded. Once I was almost directly east of the county high point (and on the county line), there seemed to be a clearing in the trees I could follow about 100 yards to roughly where the point is. I say "roughly" here confessing that I was using Gaia and walking around the coordinates as best I could in the dark.
Ironically, I suppose, it was almost twice as far to walk to the Benewah county high point, and downhill at that. So it was that I walked back uphill to the vehicle for the drive out. It was about time, too; my teeth had nearly settled back in to their roots.
I am not sure how long the drive up took, but I did check my time down and it took me 30 minutes to drive that awful stretch of road. Most of us could run that distance on that road in under that time. So I am pretty pissed at myself for putting our vehicle through that. And my wife is going to murder me besides. Nevertheless I want to thank Daniel Coulter for introducing "Idaho pinstriping" into my vernacular.
As luck would have it and to avoid a long road hike on a 90+ degree afternoon, I hitched a ride with some four-wheeling locals for a small fee. We also visited the nearby Twin Crags LO site and the Benewah CoHP, as well, the latter being a short hike from where the driver stopped. We didn't stick around any of the sites very long because it was too hot, my riding buddies had other things they wanted to do, and possibly also because what they were doing was probably only quasi-acceptable.
The drive in was kind of miserable, but the hiking was nice and easy. Mirror Lake 100% iced over still, and snow on route to Benewah COHP.
Very warm day, no wind. Hiked with my son Lance after hiking Boundary Co. HP earlier in the day. Lance stayed in the car while I hiked over and bagged the Benewah cohp also
Bagged Latour Peak, Twin Crags, and the Benewah County highpoint in an easy day. Gorgeous weather and beautiful views. Ran across some fresh big feline tracks headed down the hill parallel to our tracks headed up the hill.
Great day with my friend Dean.
A nice easy hike to the top, still some snow patches in places. We hiked up the Benewah Highpoint shortly after. Nice weather and just a little wind.
Slept in my truck at the saddle. Beautiful place. Did Latour first thing in the morning. Mirror Lake about half frozen.
Hiked over to Benewah hp next. Saw a moose and calf on the drive back down.
Easy hike from the saddle. After this I did Benewah County the same afternoon.
Approached from the north by climbing Latour Baldy, up Mount Weissner, and then on to Latour Peak. A long, tiring day.
Bob and I did this one although we ended up hiking ten miles roundtrip to do it as the snow blocked the road. We hiked up to the ridgeline and hiked from there to the peak. Then we hiked over to the high point for neighboring Benewah County, again in the snow for the most part and had an enjoyable day in this neat part of Idaho.
This is the highpoint of my home county, so I have been here many times. One time was June 23, 2002. I rode my dirtbike up the Twin Crags Road from Latour Creek until the snow got too deep. There was one stretch that I could not get through. I hiked north to the top of the ridge, then east to Latour Peak. Mirror Lake was still mostly frozen. I then walked the ridge south to the Benewah COHP, which has a very flat summit. Trees surround the summit, and I figured there was at least 15 feet of snow which blew in all winter and melted very slowly. I have been there in June, July, August, September, and October. In 2006 I found two snow patches on Aug 12, and there was a skiff of fresh snow in mid October. I was told by residents of Cataldo that the trout in Mirror Lake used to bite on anything you'd throw at them. I don't know if this is still the case, as it is frozen for the majority of the year and is very small.