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The Hawk's Nest

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Hiking at Farragut

Most of the time when I write this column I tend to simply talk about things on my mind. Some people even call this style "creative writing" as opposed to research, which requires much more effort and often isn’t as much fun. In fact, it is one of my favorite things.

On the beautiful sunny day when I sat down to this mission I must admit I had some other favorite things on my mind: outdoor photography and hiking. It became very clear very quickly this story needed to include some research.

First I got the help of my research associate, my wife. I grabbed my camera and tripod while she packed some snacks and we were off researching.

We only had part of a day but wanted a bit of a challenge anyway. We choose a hike we haven’t done for several years. It is the Highline Trail in Farragut State Park. While it isn’t the most difficult or longest trail it is a good afternoon trek and not just a "walk in a park."

By the time we were on our way the blue sky had turned gray and my hopes for sunny panoramic pictures with high contrast dimmed. But low contrast light would be good for tight, detailed shots. I knew I would still try a couple big views just because they got in front of me.

In the process of our research we had to scramble up a rock garden with wild roses, Dew Berry bushes, ferns and flowers. The trail wound around moss-covered rocks, huge Cedars, Tamaracks, several kinds of pines and fir Trees. Spring smells of damp soil, young lupine, and other flowers were included in the deep breathing the exercise was causing.

At the first viewpoint, looking north and east, it became obvious why we were doing the research. Pend Orielle Lake’s Idelwile Bay lay smooth over a thousand feet below us. Cape Horn’s nearly perfect cone was beyond the bay, the park and Scenic Bay. Farther east, Packsaddle Mountain reached up to sixty-four hundred feet.

A few more steps and we had a view to the west and south. The landscape stretched from Cedar Mountain to Mount Spokane with the Rathdrum Prairie in between. From the first viewpoint to the second is a rocky crest that one would not expect while on a walk in a park.

After soaking up as much of the views as we could it was time to head down the other side of the ridge. Winding down around huge granite chunks the size of small cars we picked and chose our steps carefully while marveling at stones around us. The smell of lichen blended with the sounds of rocks rattling underfoot. At the bottom of the cliff is a meandering forest trail that loops back to where we began.

We took a few hundred pictures, had a slight burn in our leg muscles and vowed to do more research like this again soon.

After about a 3-hour hike, or research, I was back at the computer doing another one of my favorite things.


Ernie Hawks’ website is here.

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Author info

Ernie Hawks Ernie Hawks is a former theater director who has branched into the creative fields of writing and photography. He lives in a cabin in Athol with his lovely wife Linda, and feeds the birds in his spare time.

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