I moved back to Spokane for the trees. Well, not only for the trees-family, housing, overall quality of life all factored in-but I never realized how important trees were to my daily peace of mind until a lived for a few years in Denver. The Mile-High City is tree deficient. Denver is built on high desert, has no naturally occurring trees and a big chunk of the ones planted in the last 100 years are dropping like flies to Dutch Elm Disease.
Call me a tree-hugger if you like, but I think trees make or break our outdoor experience in our region. Trees make loads of oxygen, provide habitat, and keep me from having to own an air conditioner in the summer.
City trees are especially crucial because they provide these benefits right where people live. Cutting down big, old, irreplaceable city trees is always justified by weak excuses: too hard to build around it; roots are messing with basement; sick of raking leaves; need to make the street bigger; it was going to die anyway.
The last two excuses are currently being invoked by the City of Spokane to take out some two-dozen trees on Bernard Street. Before you dismiss this as just a small South Hill problem, look out your window. Any street trees out there? Is your street in need of widening? If so I know some city traffic engineers that will be happy to remove your trees free of charge. In fact, Freya and Lincoln street trees could be next. But don’t worry, they’ll be replaced with some saplings that will provide you some shade in the year 2056.
These trees are being sacrificed in the name of “traffic flow.” Not to create anything useful, like new bike lanes-which we could really use-but just to make the streets wider. It makes you wonder who decides this stuff? Do they actually live near where these trees will be cut down, or are they just concerned with getting traffic out of town as fast as possible?
If our economic future depends on being a medium-sized metro area that offers a great quality of life, then we had better protect that quality. A big ‘ol maple tree with a galaxy of leaves adds a lot more to my day than a few more extra feet of asphalt.
Jon B. Snyder
Send your letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or OTM, PO Box 559, Spokane WA 99210 or visit our discussion forum at www.outtheremonthly.com/otmbb
Editorial, Magazine Article |
Northwest Bestsellers at Local Record Stores
- Seaweed Jack The Captain (self-released)
- Burns Like Hellfire One For The Losers (SELF-Released)
- Scatterbox Sudden Movements (Click Pop)
- Decembrists Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars)
- Brian Crain A Traditional Christmas (Crain Records)
- Billy Storlie Home Dub (SELF-Released)
- Wolf Parade Apologies to the Queen Mary (SUB POP)
- Nealie Neal/Various Artists Funk It Raw (Self-Relased)
- Lucid Digging Through (Self-Released)
- Coretta scott Scream And Shout (Rise)
This list of Northwest artists and Artists on Northwest labels is compiled from sales reports from 4000 Holes, Boo Radley’s, The Long Ear, and Unified Groove Merchants.
Magazine Article |
If we pool our collective Ryan Adams purchases of 2005, we might just come up with one really fantastic album. Here’s to takin’ your time in ’06, Mr. Adams. Everybody’s waiting to hear that one album of which we all know you’re capable. In the meantime, we’ll still be buying the rest of it, and, hey, in the future we might even be talked into purchasing a live disc if it’s packed with all that great onstage banter-you were a kick in the pants at the Sandpoint Festival this summer.
Sun, Sun, Sun
What do you do when your position in one of indie rock’s most popular bands starts to feel a little stale? If you’re Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett, you try something new. Going strong since 2003, Sennett’s The Elected creates delightful pop drawing on influences from its native SoCal; from life on the road, to Hollywoodesque breakups to beachside bumming. Sennett’s crackly, boyish delivery keeps the album’s charm in tact, easily winning over its listeners along the way.
The Weed Tree
One listen to this Philadelphia band will tell you that they’re steeped in British folk. On the Weed Tree, Espers work their magic on a rather disparate batch of covers, hanging each in their stylistic foliage. They infuse the Irish folk staple “Black Is the Color” with an extra dash of melancholy, and give Blue Oyster Cult’s “Flaming Telepaths” an extended psychedelic treatment. RIYL: traveling minstrels, cavorting around the maypole, lamenting the sorrows of love in exquisite harmonies.
Interpol-y, stellastarr*-y and Grandaddy-y, therefore Cure-y, Smiths-y and Echo and the Bunnymen-y, but overall less exciting-y, more boring-y and in general not worth your time-y.
Friends of Dean Martinez
Dean Martinez has some pretty chill friends. They’re more likely to give you a shot of realism than a shot of tequila, and will never get in fights at a party. They’d prefer to put the film you’re watching on mute, and then provide the drama through guitars, moogs and drums. They are inescapably atmospheric; imagine a kinder, gentler Mogwai with a southwestern flare. What they lack in direction they atone for with exquisite musicianship. Do you like friends like these? I do-on my stereo at least.
Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
This vocal pairing strikes me as a match cooked up in some sonic heaven-erstwhile Belle & Sebastian song-waif Campbell and former Screaming Trees growler Lanegan compliment each other beautifully. With its road-weary, love-lorn covers-Hank Williams’ “Ramblin’ Man” and the traditional “St. James Infirmary”-it’s thematically and stylistically very similar to Lanegan’s excellent solo work. Although slight (with only four modest songs), this EP should whet your appetite for the full-length disc, due to hit stores in February.
Oh You’re So Silent Jens
Jens Lekman is a big star in his native Sweden, and has earned accolades comparing his quirky songs to acts like Belle & Sebastian and Morrissey. This 17-track album serves as an excellent introduction to his corpus, culling material from EPs he has released over the past three years. Lekman sings in a gentle, almost lounge-ish tenor, filling his songs with keyboards, strings and samples. Although given to maudlin sentiment, he is a highly gifted and clever lyricist. Lekman’s melodies don’t always sell themselves, but his charming mix of wit and melancholia does.
I Am Me
Get ready for some serious shockin’-this sophomore disc is just not as good as its predecessor. Yes, investments in both were made, and yes, countless rock out sessions were spent with classics like “Autobiography” and “Pieces of Me,” and, yes, serious expectations were in place for their follow-up. But, dismay of dismays, besides lead off track “Boyfriend,” this one just…doesn’t…have it. Commence mass frowning. I’d be more disappointed, but I’ve still got that killer first disc for all my future teen pop needs.
Heaven’s Pregnant Teens
If I weren’t already in love with them for the obvious shock value of this great album title, I’d likely still have fallen head heels for this band. These are some serious hardcore boys with some serious hardcore resumes, playing some serious hardcore tunes, resulting in some serious hardcore fun. The resumes might include the likes of the Locust, the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower and Head Wound City, but I’m pretty sure I like Girls the best. It starts in the ear, but it seldom stops short of going for the gut.
First Impressions of Earth
Scenesters beware, the Strokes are really f-in’ cool again. So cool, in fact, that the original naysayers have jumped back on their pathetic bandwagons to knock the band’s latest effort… but forget them. Nobody was prepared for this new, amped up, cleaner (no distortion on ol’ Julian) Strokes, but judging by one completely insane group of Seattlites at a recent promotional club show and solid sales in the album’s first week, the change has clearly been embraced. And, well, duh, because mindblowers like “Vision of Division,” “Heart in a Cage” and “Electricityscape” are too amazing to ignore. If there were any doubt in your mind after the release of Room on Fire as to the band’s future-prepare yourself-they’re here to stay. Is This It might have been the one to start it all, but First Impressions is undoubtedly the best Strokes work to date.
I’ve always wanted an older brother, and I think if I could have my pick of any fella I might just choose Rocky Votolato. His music rocks my world, he seems pretty tight with little bro Cody (of Blood Brothers and Rocky-fronted Waxwing), and from what I can tell I’m pretty sure he is just one outstanding gentleman. Seattle-based Votolato just made a well-deserved switch over to Barsuk and his first release on the label is another dose of some of his best. It’s not strikingly different than recent work like Suicide Medicine-which is to say that it’s pretty damn incredible on every level that matters.
Various Skaters/Spirit Skate Shop
Episode 5 DVD
You could call this a way-cool local skate vid-but it’s a way cool skate vid, period. Spokane never looked so fun, and skate-able as it has in the fifth anniversary Spirit Skate Shop release. Anyone looking for street skate talent in this town could point to this document a “exhibit A.” Some great work here by Josh Mohs, Ray kimbrough, Bobby Dodd and others. My favorite part: skater does a trick in Riverfront Part and then unintentionally donates his board to the Spokane River. Priceless.
Magazine Article, Music Reviews |
Mountaineers Books, 2005, 237 pages. Winner 2005 Banff Mountain Book Festival Grand Prize.
Imagine yourself embarking on a five-month, 1000-mile skiing/backpacking trek across the wilds of Canada’s Yukon and Alaska’s North Slope following a herd of caribou from their wintering grounds to their summer calving grounds and back. Do this knowing that, “Being caribou means not having fixed goals, objectives, or destinations.” Your only link to the 13 two-week bundles of food that will sustain you is a satellite phone and the pilots who will fly in the food drops. Finally, plan your departure only months after your wedding. Thus, the stage is set for Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison’s epic journey with the Porcupine Caribou herd to their calving ground on the North Slope of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
Ultimately the book is about the demerits of oil drilling on the Refuge. The first being how the best estimates see less than a year’s supply of oil for the United States under the Refuge, and another, how a small increase in vehicle efficiency or alternative energy sources could reduce petroleum dependency. But Heuer’s story is not about numbers. It’s about developing a connection with the animals. As Heuer and Allison move with the caribou, “… the thrill matures into a deep honor.” Then, after bonding with the herd on the calving grounds, knowing they “… had become part of something immense and immensely fragile.” While camped among the caribou on the calving grounds discussing oil companies’ position that they could develop the area without affecting the animals, Leanne laments, “… but I can’t even step outside this tent [without the animals freaking out]?”
While reading Being Caribou you will feel the fear of icy river crossings and bear encounters; you will understand death as part of the cycle of life. You will laugh, you will cry, and if you care at all for the natural world you will be angry-angry at yourself for wasting energy and angry at your government for endorsing waste.
The Villain: The Life Of Don Whillans
Mountaineers Books, 2005, 354 pages. Winner 2005 Banff Mountain Book Festival for Best Book: Mountain History & Winnner 2005 Bordman-Tasker Award for Mountain Literature.
Jim Perrin’s biography The Villain: The Life of Don Whillans, provides an easily read account of the life of one of Britain’s best climbers of the 1960s and 70s. The book describes Whillans’ life prior to his untimely death from a heart attack in 1985, his rise to the apex of British climbing then fall into near obscurity.
Perrin carefully explores the complex and dynamic relationship between Don Whillans and Joe Brown. Brown was Whillans equally talented climbing partner during the early rock climbing days. Brown and Whillans fronted a shift in the British climbing community as the most successful working-class challengers to the upper-class climbing establishment. Brown’s successes on alpine expeditions, in addition to other factors, led to friction between the two in the middle of their careers.
Perrin often tries to parse the philosophy of climbing to understand Whillans’ attitudes and behaviors. Perrin describes climbing as, “…a form of play, and a public that views it ignorantly as heroism is palpably placing upon it false values.” Whillans, who often referred to climbs as “jobs” betrayed his working class background, thus upping his conflict with the climbing establishment. Regardless of his view of climbing, Whillans began his career during an age in which climbers, especially in Europe, rose to near celebrity status. In Perrin’s eye Whillans’ avoiding the limelight of his celebrity likely cost him climbing opportunities.
Perrin’s title for the book, The Villain …, recalls one of the Whillans’ myths that Perrin discusses and to some extent dismisses. Focusing on Whillans’ climbing, Perrin places the seedier aspects of his reputation into proper context. The context of a somewhat wild, working-class youth with an innate talent for climbing who used that talent to pursue a career on the rock and in the hills.
Ecotopia: 30th Anniversary Edition
Heyday Books, 2005, 176 Pages (with a new Afterword by the author).
Secession-it’s not as farfetched as it sounds. Just this past year citizens in the state of Vermont organized the Second Vermont Republic committed to, “the return of Vermont to its rightful status as an independent republic as it once was between 1777 and 1791.” Ecotopia, Ernest Callenbach’s book of “political fiction” explores these potentials when the Pacific Northwest and northern California secede from the United States.
Most of us like to simply complain about the problems of society. By contrast, Callenbach offers us his vision of the Garden of Eden and the ideal society. Ecotopia follows the travels of international reporter, William Weston, sent from the United States to investigate the goings-on in the isolationist country. The initially skeptical Weston is gradually shaken to the core. His preconceptions of what life is and should be are turned on their side.
The book’s structure consists of a contrasting set of entries by Weston; the first, a series of reports sent back to the fictional Times-Post in the United States for publication, and the other a set of private journals entries. The public reports detail Ecotopia’s transition from an economy based on continual growth and production to a stable-state system, a 20-hour work week and a nationalized organic farming program. Weston describes Ecotopian mini-cities, their car-free zones and quiet streets where pedestrians are the priority.
Far more unsettling to Weston are the social and pyschological undercurrents running through Ecotopian interpersonal relationships. Prolonged eye contact among strangers, the public support and encouragement of the expression of all emotions, and their collective enjoyment of the physical, leave the staid Weston confused and uncomfortable. His romantic relationship with a vibrant, earthy Ecotopian woman allows him to begin to question his life back the United States.
At its core Ecotopia is a homecoming. The novel touches on our collective struggle to readapt to a completely new way of life and our continued attachments to what is comfortable or known-even if it is no longer sustainable. Weston’s final struggle to come to terms with his own attachments to the people and place of Ecotopia in the end, allows him to move into and accept a deeper, more meaningful life.
Book Reveiws, Magazine Article |
By Andrea Bates
Your road trip is overdue. Throw a dart on the map. Maybe you’ll get lucky and hit Ymir (pronounced Wy-mur), British Columbia which is an easy three-hour drive from Spokane, and just 20 minutes south of Nelson. Now throw your skis in the truck and go have fun with Wildhorse Catskiing and Powder Mining Co. They are all about giving you a backcountry experience where you’ll be skiing or riding what you want: powder. A daily snowcat skiing operation, they also offer three-day packages (with the Ymir Palace) from which you may not want to return.
Once on the 10-by-10 kilometer area that Wildhorse accesses, you may feel as if you have stepped onto the exterior set of the movie classic The Shining. In the last windless week, the slender alpine firs may have acquired animal characteristics, their limbs drooping with daily, fresh snow. But many of the myths of backcountry catskiing have already been busted. Among them: one neither has to be Rockefeller-rich nor a Warren-Miller-world-class-skier to have magical moments in the Kootenay region of southern B.C.
Head up the night before and check into the Ymir Palace where you’ll just have to roll out of bed and tumble down the hill for the 8 a.m. meeting with Wildhorse. Although accommodations are abundant in Salmo and Nelson, the Ymir Palace is just too convenient to overlook. Owners Belinda Hooks and Ross White purchased the vintage pole (or post/beam) structure then spent six or seven years renovating the former bordello into a completely unstuffy, guest-friendly hostel with shared bath or private small apartment.
Don’t let “shared bathroom” scare you. Each bathroom has new fresh tile, fixtures and character. By nature, my husband, Rick and I are not fussy, pillow-mint people. Our “must have” list includes close proximity to skiing, thrifty to moderately priced rooms, plenty of clean towels, unending flow of hot water, walking distance to the bar and a fridge for a six-pack. Make that a 12-pack. Bingo.
Getting to Wildhorse’s operation base is easy. Accessing the skiing terrain is not. You want an expert at the helm. As the Wildhorse website states: “A good leader must choose terrain appropriate to everyone’s skill level, the avalanche stability, terrain factors and most importantly the risk level of all members of the group.” Australian native lead guide/owner/dreamer Trevor Holsworth fits the “expert role” to a ‘T’.
Our road trip coincided with the first Wildhorse backcountry tour of the season. The area had yet to be skied and the snow had arrived in abundance. Trevor and staffer Sarah met us at the General Store just yards from the Ymir Palace. Traveling first by car and then by snowmobile-pulled sleighs, we met the Bombardier snowcat somewhere near the 12 km marker. Its captain, Danny, is just the kind of guy you want behind the wheel on steep, narrow roads outback. He digs heavy machinery, and has been working with it all his life. He hauled us to up Paradise Glade where the temperature was perfect. Jumping out of the cat, the snow was cold, deep and dry. Good start.
By then, our motley crew was better acquainted. We consisted of: three 1960s era guys with good looking gear and no beer bellies, one local day-tripper, a family of five who had returned for a second trip, my husband Rick, and myself. Add in Jenneka as tail guide (later dubbed “cat wrangler”) and it was a party.
Prior to the first run, Trevor provided obligatory education, and tested our understanding and use of transceiver/transmitters in the event of avalanche. Each of us had to prove we could locate the buried transmitter by following arrows and lights on the simple piece of electronics. Beyond that, our only concerns were “how deep” and “how long will my legs last.”
Trevor planned the day so that each run would be on freshies. With a hint of his Aussi accent, “I’m going to lay the tracks here, and you should all stay to the left (or right) of my line and meet me on the skid road.” In two turns, he would disappear into the trees and would predictably let loose his signature “hoot.”
We waited until he buzzed Jenneka’s radio. The description of what to expect would be forthcoming: the tightness of trees, logs or stumps, etc. The information made making the plunge into uncharted waters do-able. Grouped in pairs, we “leapfrogged” our way to Trevor’s post. Plenty of good-natured heckling and laughs would punctuate the trip back to the top to do it again.
For nearly five hours, this was the happily repeated routine. Too soon, the day was done, but we were just getting warmed up. Time to head back to the General Store-the 60s dudes were already talking about staying another night, and taking a chance on stand-by seating in the morning.
“Job? We don’t need no stinkin’ job!” Well, maybe just one more paycheck for fat skis…
For more information on the Wildhorse Catskiing and Mining Co. visit:
www.kootenayexperience.com or email@example.com or call (888) 488-4327 or (250) 354-4441. Make sure to plan your trip in advance, which is essential.
The following prices are in US dollars:
Daily: About $301. Fat ski rental about $21.
For more information on the Ymir Palace go to www.ymirpalace.com or (866) 964-7466. Rooms range from $39 to $50 Canadian dollars.
From Spokane: North on Route 2 toward Newport. Take the shortcut 211 North to Usk. Go left or east on 20 then 31 to Metaline Falls. Cross border at Boundry open from 6 AM to Midnight only. Do not forget your passport! Route 31 becomes Route 6 in Canada. Follow the signs to Salmo. Town of Ymir is 10K north of Salmo. Turn-off is on right hand side. Ymir Palace is behind the General Store for meeting place is on left in 150 yards.
Magazine Article |
Is there a connection between preserving our historic infrastructure and a sustainable lifestyle? Is it greener to build a low-energy straw bale home in the country or fix up an aging bungalow in the city? Even in the face of rising construction costs and overall inflation, our economy is continuing to build and re-build.
The amount spent on home remodeling and improvements for 2005 was up 20 percent over the year before.
As the city continues to negotiate a deal to save the Rookery Block, there are numerous projects around town preserving our urban fabric: the adaptive re-use of the J.C. Penney building, the conversion of the Morgan Building into upscale lofts, the remodel of the American Legion Building and the reuse of the Washington Railroad Building.
Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen, the Seattle architects designing the loft project at the Washington Railroad Building, are removing everything from the building except the interior structure and exterior faade. The contsruction materials in these old buildings will never be seen again according to Jim Friesz, the Project Manager. “You can’t ever get the heavy timber construction again-to have nice columns and beams is great architecturally. We are retaining the cast iron capitals and the original beams and columns-you can’t even buy thick load-bearing brick anymore.”
By preserving historic structures, architects capitalize on the embodied energy within the building. Embodied energy is the energy that is consumed by all of the processes involved with a building’s production. New buildings have much higher embodied energy costs than buildings that are adaptively reused. In 2001, new building accounted for about 40 percent of annual energy and raw materials consumption, 25 percent of wood harvest, 16 percent of fresh water supplies, 44 percent of landfill, 45 percent of carbon dioxide production and up to half of the total greenhouse emissions from industrialized countries.
Kelly Lerner, local “green” architect and co-author of the upcoming book, Natural Remodeling for the Not-so-Green House says, “There is a lot of value embedded in building-energy, the history of the building, the materials-that value is irreplaceable.”
The Jensen-Byrd Building, located on the WSU Spokane Riverpoint Campus, built in 1909 is a large, load-bearing brick structure with heavy timber construction. The Jensen-Byrd building is the second largest historic warehouse in Spokane and one of only two historic structures on the WSU Spokane Campus. Three of the four proposals by the two companies short-listed by WSU for development of the 5-acre site, The Northwest Architectural Company (NAC) and American Campus Communities, propose razing the building for new construction. Bruce Blackmer, Principal at NAC, who considers historic preservation and adaptive re-use an important aspect of the work that his company does, says, “It [the Jensen-Byrd Building] doesn’t have intrinsic architectural value but does have pieces that can be salvaged-timber frame and masonry elements.”
Blackmer also believes the current structural configuration to be restrictive. “What makes the Jensen-Byrd building particularly unattractive are the floor to ceiling heights and the tight column grid. Given those constraints it limits future development. There is an inherent lack of adaptability,” says Blackmer.
Matt Cohen, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Washington State University and historic preservation advocate, disagrees regarding the building’s architectural significance.
“The Jensen-Byrd Building has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places based on objective, international criteria that are designed to protect this country’s architectural heritage from the vagaries of personal opinion.”
Albert Held designed the Jensen-Byrd building (originally the Marshall-Wells Hardware Co. Warehouse). Held was a prominent Spokane Architect at the turn of the century and trained in the Classical and Beaux-Arts traditions. Over eight historic buildings designed by Held in Spokane are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Another building designed by Held is the Holley-Mason Building. Structural conditions at the Holley-Mason, as well as the recently restored Blue Chip lofts are similar to the Jensen-Byrd regarding column spacing and floor to ceiling heights. The successful adaptive re-use of both the Holley Mason and Blue Chip each produced award-winning designs recognized by the architectural and building industries.
“Creative and sensitive architects find opportunities in unusual existing conditions, not excuses for tearing down fine historic buildings. That’s why it’s called adaptive reuse,” Cohen says.
By preserving our architectural infrastructure, it is not only possible to recognize it’s significance as shared history but also it’s contribution toward a sustainable future.
“From a sustainability perspective, it is a shame to waste embodied energy,” says architect Kelly Lerner. “Even if we were to construct every new building in the United States in a green manner, there is no way we could come close to balancing our energy budget. Right now all of our existing building stock needs to be converted to greater energy efficiency.”
For more information on Historic Preservation and Green Building visit the following websites:
Magazine Article |
By Erin Beil & Amy Silbbernagel McCaffree
We have a geological blessing in the Inland Northwest; a nice selection of hot springs. If gettin’ nekkid in the woods is not your style, or if you’d just like a laid back and pampered experience there are some great resorts to choose from to help you fight the February chills.
Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort – Ainsworth, BC. Romantic Aspect: Nestled in the Purcell Mountain Range with sweeping views of Kootenay Lake. // Hot Spring Water: The mineral springs come from the area systems at 117 F degrees, and cooled to 114 F before entering the pool. Soaking Prices: Single Entry; Adult – $7.50, Senior – $6.50, Student – $6.50, Child (3 to 12 yrs) – $5.50 // Rates: (Double Occupancy); (Fri-Sat) Non-View $128, View-$123, Kitchenette-$138. (Sun-Thurs) Non-View $93, View $103, Kitchenette $118. // Area Attractions: Whitewater ski/snowboard Resort, Mountain Adventures, Boat charters, Cat/Heli skiing, Columbia Gardens Winery. // Directions: Passports not required for Canada entry until 2007. Take Division/US-2. Stay straight to go onto WA-31, which becomes Provincial Route 6. Turn right to stay on Provincial Route 6, which will become Provincial Route 3A. Continue to follow Provincial Route 3A, turning slight right onto Provincial Route 31. Stay on this, and then turn onto Provincial Route 31A. // Time: 4 hrs. // Info: (250) 229-4212. www.hotnaturally.com
Alameda Hot Springs Resort – Hot Springs, MT. Romantic Aspect: Beautiful scenery, peaceful area, cabin cozy atmosphere, small town hospitality, personal touches, and private soaking tubs. // Spa: Natural mud baths and therapeutic massage by appointment. // Hot Spring Water: Mineral hot spring private soaking pools, second best healing waters of the World! // Soaking Prices: No public soaking. // Rates: (Double Occupancy); Non-Soaking room $50, Private Soaking room $75. // Area Attractions: Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, Big Mountain Resort, Backcountry skiing, Snowmobiling. // Directions: From I-90 East, take the MT-135 exit towards St. Regis (Exit 33). Turn left onto MT-135. Turn Left onto MT-200. Turn right onto MT-28. Turn left onto Hot Springs Rd/MT-77. This will turn into Broadway Avenue. Turn right onto Spring Street. // Time: 3 hrs. // Info: (406) 741-2283.
Bonneville Hot Springs Resort – North Bonneville, WA. Romantic Aspect: Soaking can be done from either the European-style Day Spa, or in private mineral water hot tub. // Spa: Both men’s and women’s European-style spa services; soaking baths, body wraps and massages. // Hot Springs Water: Water comes out of the ground at 97 degrees and heated. Also used in spa treatments. // Soaking Prices: No public soaking. // Rates: (Double Occupancy); Hot Tub Room (non-view)-$125, Luxury Suite (view)-$155, Deluxe Rooms (private soaking, up to 4 guests, view) – $300. Room and Spa packages available. // Area Attractions: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Multnomah Falls, Full Sail Brewery. // Directions: From I-90 west, take US-395 to Ritzville/Pasco (Exit 220). Merge onto I-182 W/US-12. Take US-395 via exit 12A. Stay on US-395 and then merge onto I-82 E. Merge onto I-84 W. towards Portland. Take US-30 (Exit 44), the ramp becomes US-30. Turn right onto Bridge Of The Gods. Turn left onto WA-14. Turn left onto Talema, which becomes an unnamed road. Turn slight right. // Time: 4.5 hrs. // Info: (509) 427-7767. www.bonnevilleresort.com
Boulder Hot Springs Inn and Spa – Boulder, MT. Romantic Aspect: Backed by the Deerlodge National Forest, the rooms are Bed and Breakfast style, and offer a five star cuisine menu. // Spa: Massages, healthy outdoor exercise, and nutritious food are made to accommodate each guest. // Hot Springs Water: Pure geothermal mineral water that comes out of the earth at 140-175 degrees, is used to heat the entire building, then cooled for outdoor swimming pool, steam rooms, and showers. No chemicals are used. // Soaking Prices: No public soaking. // Rates: (Double Occupancy) Bed and Breakfast Rooms-$120 to $140, Guest rooms (breakfast not included)-$75. // Area Activities: Hiking, Fishing, General exploration. // Directions: From I-90 E, Take the I-15 N (Exit 129) to Helena/Great Falls. Exit from I-15 at the Boulder Exit. Drive through the town of Boulder, the hot springs is 3 miles south of Boulder on HWY-69. Watch for signs and the large mission style gray building with a red roof on the right side of the Highway. // Time: 5 hrs. // Info: (406) 225-4339.
Lolo Hot Springs – Lolo, MT. Romantic Aspect: Located on the Lewis and Clark Trail, cozy cabins and vast land make for silent nights and days full of exploring. // Spa: Not available. // Hot Springs Water: Comes directly from Earth with geothermal temperatures averaging 103 degrees. // Soaking Prices: No Public Soaking. // Rates: Cabin Rates: $75 for Double occupancy, $90 for three occupants, $105 for four occupants. // Area Activities: Snowmobiling, Snowshoeing. // Directions: From I-90 E, take the Reserve St Exit (Exit 101) to Hamilton (I-90-BL)/ (US-93 S). Turn right at N Reserve St. Continue on S Reserve St. Turn right at Brooks St. Take another right at US-12. // Time: 3.5 hrs. // Info: (406) 273-2290. www.boulderhotsprings.com
Lost Trail Hot Spring Resort – Sula, MT. Romantic Aspect: These “rustic looking” cabins have all modern amenities, equipped with a flawless view, and natural flowing hot springs just outside the door. // Spa: Not available. // Hot Springs Water: The hot spring is natural and chemical-free with water temperatures averaging 92-94 degrees, covered by a dome in the winter. // Soaking Prices: Children under 2 $1.00, Children (2 through 12) $4.00, Adult (13 through 59) $6.00, Senior (60 plus) $5.00. Soaking free with lodging // Rates: Private Cabins start at $65. Lodge rooms start at $55. // Area Attractions: Lost Trail Ski Area, Snowshoeing, Cross-country skiing. // Directions: From I-90 E take the Reserve St Exit (Exit 101) to Hamilton (US-93 S). Turn right at N Reserve St. Continue on S Reserve St, then turn right at Brooks St. Continue on US-93 onto Railroad Ave. Go north on 1st St, continue south on 1st St. Continue on US-93, then onto Main St. Take a right at Medicine Springs Road. // Time: 5 hrs. // Info: (406) 821-3574. www.losttrailhotsprings.com
Potosi Hot Springs Resort – Pony, MT. Romantic Aspect: Secluded in the Beaverhead National Forest, the four luxury creek-side cabins and two hot springs is set on two miles of private water. Organic cuisine provided for guests. // Spa: Treatments include acupuncture, massage therapy, Tai Chi, and yoga. // Springs Water: Soaking pool averages 100-104 degrees, one pool outside, the other inside a pine house. // Soaking Prices: No Public Soaking. // Rates: (Sun. – Thurs.) $200/night, $350 with all meals, (Fri. and Sat.) $225/night, $375 with all meals. // Area Attractions: Hiking, Cross-country skiing, Snowshoeing, Backcountry skiing. // Directions: From I-90 E, Take MT-359 Cardwell/Boulder Exit (Exit 256). Turn right onto MT-2. Turn left onto MT-2; turn slight right onto US-287. Turn right on Pony Rd, this will become Madison St. Turn right onto Jefferson St. // Time: 5.5 hrs. // Info: (406) 685-3330. www.potosiresort.com
Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort – Paradise, MT. Romantic Aspect: The log beds and desks in both the hidden cabins and lodge are designed for cozy mountain comfort, offering multiple soaking pools. // Spa: Not Available. // Springs Water: These pools are chemical free and have constantly flowing spring water that gets cleaned every other night. // Soaking Prices: No Public Soaking. // Rates: Lodge $99/night Cabin $119/night. // Area Attractions: National Bison Range, Flathead Lake, Lookout Pass Ski Resort. // Directions: From I-90 E, take the MT-135 Exit towards St. Regis (Exit 33). Turn left onto MT-135. Turn left again onto MT-200. Turn right onto 3rd St. Turn left onto Central Ave. // Time: 2.5 hrs. // Info: (406) 826-3150. www.quinnshotsprings.com
Symes Hot Springs Hotel – Hot Springs, MT. Romantic Aspect: The hotel has a cozy atmosphere with live music every Friday and Saturday night, a Grill and Cantina, espresso bar, and a bathhouse soak and steam room available by the hour. // Spa: Treatments include pressure point massage, stone therapy, facials and various styles of body wraps. // Springs Water: The hot, outdoor mineral flow-through pools, high in mineral content, are non-chemical and separated by a relaxing waterfall. Temperatures average 102-107 degrees. // Soaking Prices: (Single Entry) Adult $7, Children/Seniors $5. // Rates: Rooms range from $48 to $117 depending on the amenities you want in the room, such as a private soaking tub. // Area Attractions: Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, Big Mountain Resort, Backcountry skiing, Snowmobiling. // Directions: From I-90 East, take the MT-135 Exit towards St. Regis (Exit 33). Turn left onto MT-135. Turn Left onto MT-200. Turn right onto MT-28. Turn left onto Hot Springs Rd/MT-77. This will turn into Broadway Avenue. Turn left on Spring Street, turn right onto Main St. Turn left onto Wall St. // Time: 3 hrs. // Info: (888) 305-3106. // www.symeshotsprings.com
Natural, outdoor, non-commercial hot springs are located on public land, usually in national forests and parks. As described by Evie Litton, author of Hiking Hot Springs in the Pacific Northwest (whose 4th edition was published in 2005), they are “primitive soaking pools . . . improvised, strictly by volunteer labor, to collect the flow of any spring equipped with roughly the right temperature, output, and location.” So, for no more than the price of gas, Inland Northwest hot springs can offer a unique outdoor adventure with your Valentine. Although typically enjoyed in the fall, some hot springs can be accessed in the winter using cross-country skis or snowshoes on the trails, and a number are less than mile from a road or highway.
In the old days, “hotpotters” studied geothermal maps and found the locations by trial-and-error. Now, it’s not so laborious. Sufficient research on destinations and a USGS help locate the more remote spots. As always, leave-no-trace principles apply. In addition to Litton’s book, online resources include www.soak.net and www.idahohotsprings.com-the latter established by Josh Laughtland, who grew up in Post Falls and now resides in Boise.
Hot springs are quality rated using a number of factors, including: pool condition-water clarity, pool size/depth, mineral content and odor; water temperature (between 100-106 degrees is ideal) and visibility; seclusion factor or view/scenery; usage/traffic (and sometimes trash level); and swimwear custom or “skinnydippability” (as Litton calls it). However, due to variations in human use and environmental changes, users should expect a different condition each time. In general, hot springs are enjoyed au naturel, although it’s expected that nudity outside and around the pool not occur, depending on the other users present. Guide resources state when swimwear is required or necessary to keep close by. If you do wear a swimsuit, Laughtland advises on his web site to dedicate a suit specifically for hot springing, because, “a swimsuit washed with detergent carries that detergent into the hot springs every time you soak.” Interesting safety tips are offered in Marjorie Gersh-Young’s book, Hot Springs & Hot Pools of the Northwest: Jayson Loam’s Original Guide (www.hotpools.com), “If structures are built over hot springs, natural gasses can build up, with an obvious smell, and cause dizziness if you stay too long within the structure . . . Don’t put your head in the water, because of the many forms of bacteria in the hot water.”
The following are non-commercial hot springs destinations within a 4-5 hour drive from Spokane or Coeur d’Alene.
Weir Creek and Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. Both are accessible year-round and located about 4.5 hours from Spokane off Highway 12 between Lewiston, Idaho, and Lolo Pass, Montana-along the Lochsa River in the Clearwater National Forest. “Weir Creek ranks very high with the romance factor. The hot springs pool is perfect for two and is nestled on a small cliff in an old growth forest-the view from the pool is incredible. The water temperatures are perfect and the pool and trail are both in great condition-crystal clear water without goobers or algae,” says Laughtland. Jerry Johnson Hot Springs is a two-mile round-trip hike in from the road, with an official campground at the trailhead. There are also official campground options near Weir, plus some “primitive sites at the trailhead, along the trail and slightly past Weir hot springs,” Laughtland shares. Those not interested in such a rustic romantic overnight can continue east 62 miles northeast to Missoula.
Laughtland also recommends Stanley Hot Springs near Lowell, ID, in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, but this requires a “somewhat substantial hike to fairly decent soaks.” Litton’s book describes it as a moderate, 11-mile round-trip hike. // How To Get There: Weir Creek HS – From Kamiah, take U.S. Highway 12 about 28 miles east to Lowell and continue 45 miles. Park in a pullout along the Lochsa River just east of milepost 142. Follow a slippery path up the west bank of the creek to reach the pool. The springs are named on the national forest map.
Jerry Johnson HS – Just a little further off Hwy 12, about 55 miles NE of Lowell (or 1.5 miles SW of Powell Junction) to Warm Springs Pack Bridge, which spans the Lochsa River 0.5 mile west of milepost 152. The springs are named on the national forest map but omitted on the wilderness quad. Cross the pack bridge to the sign for Warm Springs Creek Trail. Follow the path a short mile upvalley to the springs.
Stanley HS – (To the trailhead) Take U.S. Hwy 12 from Kamiah to Lowell and continue 26 miles to Wilderness Gateway Campground. Go past Loops A and B, and the amphitheater, to the Trail 211 parking area. The springs are marked only on the USGS quad. (excerpted from Hiking Hot Springs in the Pacific Northwest, Evie Litton).
Scenic Hot Springs is the closest backcountry hotsprings to Spokane (a 4-hour drive), but Laughtland states that it’s recently been shutdown. Wind River Hot Springs (St. Martins on the Wind) is the only one accessible year-round-located near the Columbia Gorge off Highway 84.
How To Get There: Take I-84 to State Route 14 (5 miles east of Stevenson). Take Berge Road 1 mile north, then go left on Indian Cabin Road. The road twists between the legs of a power pole tower, then turns to gravel and follows the powerline down to the river. The road-end parking lot, 2.5 miles from the highway is privately owned. (Small fee applies.) Stay overnight at the county campground in Home Valley, WA, or continue west on I-84 to Portland. (excerptedfrom Hiking Hot Springs in the Pacific Northwest, Evie Litton).
British Columbia, Canada
Following are some of those described in Litton’s book for the Kootenay Region.
West Kootenays – From Nakusp, B.C. (be sure to stop at the Travel Infocentre), take Highway 23 north, accessible in winter.
St. Leon Hot Springs – in Arrow Forest District; only .25 mile from the trailhead.
Halfway River Hot Springs – Upper Arrow Lake; campsites available.
East Kootenays – From Cranbrook, B.C., take Highway 95A north (subject to winter road closures)
Dewar Creek Hot Springs – in the Purcell Wilderness; 12 mile round-trip hike; springs are at 4,800′ elevation; “extremely skinnydippable”, according to Litton’s book.
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Our features on urban cycling and street trees brought a whole mess of reader mail we wanted to share. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough space to print it all. That’s why we’ve launched a new online discussion forum to house more dialogue about issues brought up in the magazine. Go to www.outtheremonthly.com and click the “Forums” link. Access is free so post and discuss all you want and take our Critical Mass poll. But before you do, read these letters:
hold the chainsaws In response to the torrent of complaints from concerned taxpayers about street tree removal, the City issued a media release that states that the City still plans to remove the trees, but will replace them with 24 new trees “along that stretch”. What it fails to mention is that the new trees will not be planted on Bernard, but along side streets. The release also states that many of the existing trees are in poor health because of improper trimming. Again, a few details are missing. The improper trimming was authorized by the City and performed by Avista after Spokane’s ice storm. I phoned Avista at that time and was scolded for questioning their expertise in tree pruning. The City has failed to collaborate with the neighborhood, allowing the traffic engineering department to monopolize neighborhood planning. Traffic engineering also has plans for Lincoln Street, where there are roughly four times as many street trees. The Bernard project will certainly set a precedent for future street projects throughout Spokane. In light of the urgency of the matter (the Bernard Street logging is scheduled for early spring) the Neighborhood Alliance of Spokane has stepped forward to represent alarmed residents and explore what course of action to take to ensure that the Comprehensive Plan and neighborhood concerns are addressed fully. I encourage you to contact them: www.neighborhood-allicance.org
- Chris Davis
Bradley Bleck responds
>> As a committed cyclist who logged nearly 4,000 miles last year, one who joined the October Critical Mass ride with great anticipation, I understand why people advocate for better cycling in Spokane and elsewhere. That’s why it was such a disappointment to read Paul Haeder’s clichd bombast in the January edition of Out There Monthly. I don’t want to spend much time on the Haeder’s failed rhetoric. After all, who can take seriously the notion of bicycling as a radical choice, the idea cycling as an always superior way of transporting one’s self, or that any one cyclist can galvanize solidarity for all repressed cyclists around the world, never mind that that two police cruisers a gauntlet (just barely) make. As Sigmund Freud noted, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; similarly, sometimes a bike ride is just a bike ride. Unfortunately, this failed rhetoric is just one of the symptoms ailing CM Spokane.
In his response to a portion of my recent article “The Politics of Urban Cycling,” Haeder argues that I missed the point about CM Spokane. While that may be so, I’d like to suggest that CM Spokane misses the point about Critical Mass in general. Visit any CM website (just type “critical mass” in the search engine of your choice) and one of the first things you will read is that CM rides are a celebration of cycling. The “How to Make a Critical Mass” website states “Critical Mass is foremost a celebration, not a protest.” Celebrating is one thing I did not witness during my CM ride, truncated though it was. Perhaps the paltry few who turned out weren’t enough for a celebration. Perhaps it was the dank weather. Perhaps the various agendas of the participants didn’t allow for celebrating. Whatever the reason, the ride was not a celebration. Nor, if one believes the press, have subsequent rides been celebrations.
Far from being a celebration of cycling, the ride I participated in was an attempt to antagonize drivers and demonstrate the supposed superiority of cycling over driving. I witnessed cyclists swerving in front of cars stopped at lights. Had the riders ended up there as a matter of course, that would be one thing, but to pull in front of cars and act as if a bicycle is being “inspected” for its mechanical well-being is just BS. Chris Carlsson, the intelligent design behind Critical Mass writes, “If I let my opposition to state authority tilt my [CM] participation towards engaging in antagonistic encounters with the police [or drivers we might add], they win!” In that respect, CM Spokane riders, and pretty much every cyclist who encounters a police officer or motorist antagonized by CM rides and riders, are already losers in a battle that need not be. The “How To” sites suggest that “The best strategy is to avoid breaking any laws you don’t have to, try to reason with those individuals on the ride who display a tendency to get out of hand and don’t give the police an excuse to stop your ride or bust anybody.” Again, the movement’s philosophy is wholly at odds with the recent actions of CM Spokane.
As I noted in a recent letter to the Spokesman-Review, CM Spokane does not and cannot speak for me as a cyclist. Nor, I suspect, do they speak for the bulk of those cyclists who commute or ride for fitness or pleasure, either during the warmer, drier times or during the wet of winter. What CM Spokane organizers and riders might consider is that cyclists such as myself, those who regularly make the supposedly “radical” choice to ride no matter the climate, political or otherwise, don’t need CM. We’ll be here when the most recent iteration of CM Spokane is long dead. Instead, if CM Spokane is to amount to anything other than another failed attempt at activism, it needs cyclists like me, those who ride within the law, those who don’t see “Spokane’s finest” as some nefarious enemy. Not in my name can these riders antagonize motorists and the police, no matter how grandiose their notions may be.
- Bradley Bleck
Civil Disobedience is valid
>> I recently read the two opinions for and against the critical mass movement in Spokane surrounding bicycles. I must disagree with Margaret Watson very much due to my experiences. In August I moved from Seattle where I did not bike much because I could walk or take a bus everywhere. However, with Spokane’s sheer size and lack of great public transit, I started biking. Every time I ride my bike (which I admit is less now that it is winter) I almost get hit. This doesn’t occur every once in awhile, but every time. I have had the right of way many times and cars go through stop signs anyway. I know the rules of the road from the perspective of a bike and still it is dangerous. More needs to be done sooner and I believe civil disobedience is a valid form of expressing democracy.
I do not agree with Ms. Watson that all is being done that can be done especially in envisioning for the future. When I hear about new parking garages being proposed downtown I am skeptical. Also, more roads does not equal more space for bicycles. Rather, it is for cars. If we want to show space for bicycles why are there not more bike lanes or Centennial Trails?
Who will police drivers?
>> I whole-heartedly support the critical mass movement, but haven’t always done so. I used to be like the nave letter writers who preach about bicycle education and following the rules. Now, after many years of commuting by bicycle, my opinion is that cyclists should imitate automobile drivers in their adherence to the law. I ride to school through downtown Spokane and get cut off, flipped off, and told off by drivers almost every morning. Many drivers act out against cyclists right in front of police cruisers without fear of punishment. The police, of course, do nothing to stop them. However, when cyclists congregate to speak their mind, and ride to show that they too have a right to the road, the police show up in force. The police have no qualms about threatening and citing cyclists participating in a harmless protest, but wouldn’t think of pulling over a driver that poses a real threat to a cyclist by breaking some of the same laws. To those brave enough to protest, I say ride on!
- Eric Reimer
Can’t stand it anymore
>> Regarding the issue of critical mass, I prefer to take no stand on which approach is best toward achieving a goal. But I will categorically state that the present situation in Spokane is dismal. When Watson is talking positive, I think it has to do with outlying areas, the trails, and to the future when there will be a bicycle path along the North South freeway. But what does that have to do with citizens of Spokane bicycling to and from work today? I’ve had all I can stand of both Spokane and Washington State and I am leaving.
- Alan Richter, Ph.D.
If you would like to respond to these letters or anything you see in Out There Monthly please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or, better yet go to our new discussion forums at www.outheremonthly.com. Registration is free.
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