6 Priest Lake, Idaho • www.priestlake.org in hauling all the stuff, finding a campsite and setting up camp. Little did we know that sometimes the island was full, and we had to wheedle our way into a choice campsite by asking the present occupants when they were planning to leave and would they be amenable to letting us have first dibs on their site when they left? We would agree on a time, and the peaceful transfer of occupancy would take place. Many blissful summer weeks were spent at our favorite campsite on North Cove of Kalispell Island. At night tall pine silhouettes were reflected on the moonlit forest floor giving a new meaning to Cat Stevens’ song “Moonshadow.” The crystal clear water reflected gold flecks off the rocky lake bottom like glitter had been spread by fairies. Sunsets were glorious, and sudden storms could be just as spectacular in their majesty and power. Then the kids began to leave home for college, marriage, and all the other things grown kids do, and it became harder and harder to get everyone together for a week. We had been setting aside a little money for travel when we retired, and one day it dawned on us that we knew of no other place on this planet we would rather be than Priest Lake. So one beautiful, sunny Memorial Day we set out with the goal of finding a small cottage on the lake where we could have a spot to call our own. To our dismay, there were no cabins available that year. But our realtor told us that there was one cabin with a contract, but he heard the potential buyer was having difficulty arranging financing. After some cajoling, our realtor agreed to walk us through the cabin anyway. It was love at first sight, exactly what we wanted. We waited anxiously until hearing back from the realtor the next day. He advised the cabin was available and to make an offer. The rest is history. We got the place, and have never regretted it for one moment. It has become a place where so many family memories are being made. Every summer, all four of our kids, their kids and spouses gather for a week of eating, cousin togetherness, reconnecting, berry picking, hiking, geo-caching, fishing, playing in the water, and general merriment. The natural beauty and majesty of this place is magical and has brought us so much happiness. We now divide our time year round between Spokane and Priest Lake. We love the four season climate where each season has its own special quality and eloquence. The pristine nature of this area provides serenity and peace. We believe that the Priest Lake experience is unique to each individual, there to be discovered and treasured by any and all willing to leave their hearts on the shore. Our eight year old granddaughter wrote a story for school which she ended by saying, ”I love my big family at Priest Lake. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. (Maya Angelou) You will find rainbows at Priest Lake.” Touching the Rainbow by Becky Palmer A former colleague of mine used to say, “If God didn’t retire at Priest Lake, she at least spent her summers there.” So true, pristine and breathtakingly beautiful, this exquisite lake is truly one of God’s masterpieces, the place we have chosen to retire. My husband and I have been coming to this pristine lake for twenty-seven years, but find we are relative newbies. Many of the wonderful people we have gotten to know here have generations of history tied to the lake. Many had grandparents and great grandparents who built the original cottages and have handed them down to their offspring. As for us, we were the parents of four young, rambunctious children who loved being outdoors. SummersinSpokanecanbeprettyhotandoppressive, especially in a house with no air conditioning. Avid campers, we read an article in the Spokesman Review about boat camping on Kalispell Island, a National Forest Campground on Priest Lake. We attached our 19 foot Sunrunner to the back of our Ford station wagon, loaded up the kids, water, food, a huge tent, blow up mattresses, sleeping bags, some good wine, the ski biscuit, a couple of neighbor kids and were on our way. After about three trips from the boat launch to the island we were successful Over the years we’ve had themes and projects involving how we can use our rocks. One year we left themasgeo-cachetreasuresatPL,locationsforothers to discover! One year we all painted fish that now are glued on the frame of a fish picture! Everyone paints items from the lake, like our cabins, boats, animals, trees, and memories like a special event (birthdays, parties, births, the year of the bees, new pets, trips, adventures, food, etc.). We have several snakes of rocks on the ground at the back door, and we have a kids’ basket and an adult basket full of artistic rocks. (Sometimes an adult rock is deemed unworthy of the adult basket and is relegated to the kids’ basket!) We even have some 3-D creations like a piece of huckleberry pie with a rock of ice cream on top! What has been fun is to give each person who paints a rock each summer a “Rock Star Award” which, of course, is a painted rock - a different color for each year. As soon as the kids get to the cabin each summer, they pour out all the rocks to find theirs and to look at all the others! The rock painting over ten years has been a source of memories, exploration, intergenerational fun, creativity and great joy for our family and friends. It is easy and simple!