Saturday, July 18, 2020
Nez Perce Creek to Threemile Creek
22 miles cruised today; 288 miles for the trip
It’s already warming up by the time I climb out into the cockpit. A small group of geese are grazing at the edge of our pond. Out near the entrance, the scene is dominated by a large houseboat which landed last night, after we’d gone below. They have all sorts of inflatables on their top deck, including at least 2 inflated palm trees. Nice look.
We take our time with breakfast, enjoying the serenity of the place: mourning doves calling, Lewis’s woodpeckers busily catching bugs on the fly, a curious but misguided hummingbird who thinks our red striped American flag somehow must dispense nectar. Around 9:45 I raise the anchor and we slowly motor out. We wave at the houseboat crew, which looks to be 3 middle aged couples. No kids are to be seen, which makes their inflatable menagerie seem odd. They actually have 3 palm trees, an inflated swan, several large floatie things hanging over the side (no more room for them on deck), an inflated rattlesnake on the sunshade, but the piece de resistance is the large inflated unicorn which they’ve installed out in front, like a fantasy land figurehead. At $5000 for a week’s houseboat rental, I guess they can be as silly as they want.
Once out on the big water I detect ripples on the water, and I see that my wind indicator is pointing out of the east, thus putting this 5 mph air on our beam. It’s not much, but I declare it a sailing breeze. We valiantly turn into the wind, I raise the main, pay out the jib, and off we go, down lake at between 2 and 3 mph. During this leisurely run, Sandy does a much-needed handwash of tee shirts and solar shirts, since we’re both completely out of such items which could pass the smell test. I hand our laundry out on the lifelines to dry. Since we plan a short run today, we can afford to take our time and play sailors for a change. We stick it out for better than 2 hours, getting a free ride for about 6 miles down lake before the wind completely dies. Time once again to fire up the engine and make miles.
You wouldn’t need a calendar to know that this is Saturday. Boating traffic is the heaviest yet encountered, with boats and jet skis zipping around, enjoying the perfect mid summer weather. As we near Canteen Creek, our planned destination, I soon realize that we’ll need to rethink things. A large group of Colville tribal members have set up group camp on a little flat at the cove entrance. A short way in, half a dozen boats of all types are bobbing around. Kids are climbing a rock on shore and leaping into the water. The party is on, and everyone seems to be having a great time. However, it’s not the type of scene we’ve grown accustomed to on this lake, so after a swing in to admire the little waterfall, we head right back out. I study the map and cross back and forth a couple of times, inspecting coves for a suitable place to spend the night. None measure up. Last on the list is Threemile Creek, and I can’t believe our good fortune. It’s perfect. Long enough to get us well off the main lake, wide enough to allow us to anchor and swing, and best yet, the only other boat here is a small power boat with a couple who are fishing. I drop anchor in 35 feet of water, relieved to have a good place to spend the remainder of the day. There’s enough time for a cooling swim, a bit of book reading while drying off, a dinghy ride ashore for an hour’s walk on the nearby dirt road, a quickly prepared pulled pork sandwich dinner, and a bit of dinghy trolling just before dark. Once again, we’ve packed the maximum into a day on Lake Roosevelt.