“Going out was really going in.” -John Muir
It has been our intent to camp at Coeur d’alene Campground for years so we could hike out to the well recommended tarns (alpine lakes) but summers in Alaska are so frantic, as we’re always scrambling to get the most out of the light and green as we can that we just had not made it a priority. Silly us.
The campground is nowhere near as beautiful and organized as Porcupine down in Hope proper, but we have been annually tundra camping up Archangel Road in Hatcher’s Pass, Palmer and Coeur d’alene has a few more amenities that make it convenient. Namely bear boxes and a really nice outhouse (is that a thing?). This is tent camping only (6ish sites) and the road is gated until the avalanches that plow across it every winter melt. I didn’t actually take many pictures at the campground as we spent most of our two days gallivanting up on the tundra beyond.
I think one of the draws to the tundra is that the views are so expansive, so awe-inspiring, so open and inviting, and yet when you’ve winded yourself (as he almost has above), and collapsed on the soft, spongy bed of a valley, you are confronted with the seemingly endless minutiae of flora and insect diversity.
We were able to bounce between the two micro and macro worlds all afternoon long and not see everything there was to see and do. And no, we didn’t actually make it to the tarns.
I’m pretty sure we’ve talked about how well tundra and kids go together. It’s instinctual.
Some clouds and rain spattered on us, but if you are any friend to the north, you know all about layers.
Coeur d’alene, while only open a short few months before the snows return, is well worth the drive up into the alpine tundra. There are many spots beyond the campsite that it is obvious people have pulled to the side and camped on the tundra. While we love this feeling as well, please, please don’t make it obvious you were there.