Thursday, April 25, 2024

Hey, you: Take a (great) hike

| December 18, 2020 1:00 AM

Sportswriter Greg Lee and I walked hundreds of miles together during our final years at the now-defunct Coeur d’Alene office of The Spokesman-Review.

During lunch hours, we trekked a three-mile circuit from the office on Northwest Boulevard to the Spokane River, along the Dike Road, through City Park, and around The Coeur d’Alene Resort Boardwalk.

One afternoon, we looped Tubbs after Greg told me he’d never hiked the hallowed hill.

Why am I telling you this?

David Taylor, a Post Falls native, and retired SR Outdoors Editor Rich Landers have written a compact book for anyone looking for a healthy break from their busy days: “Urban Trails — Spokane and Coeur d’Alene" (published Oct. 1 by Mountaineers Books, $16.95).

As the title suggests, the two outdoorsmen spotlighted short, easy-to-reach trails in and near Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. Rich focused on Spokane trails, and David researched those here. Tubbs Hill and Mineral Ridge, of course, are in the Kootenai County section.

“We have the usual suspects in there,” David told Huckleberries. “Others aren’t heavily used. It’s possible to get to places and have the place to yourself.”

Among less-familiar hikes touted in “Urban Trails” are: Black Bay Park, Cougar Bay Reserve, Blue Creek Bay, Post Falls Community Forest, and Fernan Lake Natural Area.

Also, there’s a section on the two-state Centennial Trail.

“Urban Trails” tells you how to find these greenspace gems. And it provides information about each — its length, degree of difficulty, amenities such as “comfort stations,’ whether it's family and/or dog friendly, and more. The guide is packed with photos, maps, and tips on outdoor etiquette.

Rich tapped David for help after he saw David’s Facebook posts about local hiking adventures.

“Urban Trails” has been a hit with the large following for Rich’s work, including “100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest.” Amazon briefly ran out of stock. And The Well-Read Moose at Riverstone did, too.

“We had to prod the publisher to provide more copies,” David said.

“Urban Trails” is a cure for the COVID blues. Pick up a copy. And then start walking.

Not a small thing

Proprietor Naomi Boutz has worked 12 hours a day, six days a week, to keep her popular Vine & Olive open while launching Vicino Pizza this trying year. Running the two restaurants at Riverstone in 2020 has been stressful. That’s why she celebrates little kindnesses, like the wine opener her kitchen crew bought her for Christmas. It wasn’t an ordinary one. Spearheaded by executive chef Josh Peebles, staffers ordered the custom-made wine key from Forge do Laguiole, France. Laguiole refers to the village that has made the opener since 1928 — and the type of knife. Naomi’s name is engraved on the elk antler handle. “I will cherish it forever,” Naomi said. “It’ll always remind me of the team that helped V&O and Vicino survive 2020.” We all need to look for silver linings.


• Poet’s Corner: Like tiny stars upon the trees/they twinkle in the frosty breeze,/and throw their little rays of light/like hope into the cold black night — The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Christmas Lights on Sherman Avenue”).

• In mid-December 2016, I posted a Quotable Quote from Eden Irgens of The Sip Shack on my old Huckleberries blog. It still applies: “Less than a week from now, the days start getting longer. Cheer up!” (And if that isn’t enough to bring joy, consider: The vaccine’s on the way.)

• Also, four years ago, state Representative-elect Paul Amador, a Republican, and Tom Hearn, a Democrat, broke bread together at the Fort Ground Grill. Tom, then a School District 271 trustee, brought up education and offered to help Paul during his first term. The significance? Paul had bested Tom in the November election. By meeting for lunch, the men modeled civility in that toxic time. Such goodwill and bipartisanship are needed today, more than ever.

• When hubby, Doug, a Kootenai County sheriff’s deputy, built a brick firewall for their wood stove, Angela Goodman of Rathdrum figured she would hang stockings by it with care — not face masks. Says Angela: “Dang COVID!” The C-Bug is worse than a lump of coal.

Parting Shot

First, you should know that Mike Young of Hayden, now in his 80s, made a comfortable living buying, selling and renting homes in the Coeur d’Alene area. In 1966, Mike bought his first rental in what now is the Garden District of Coeur d’Alene. His Realtor was the late Art Manley. Later, when Mike needed a plumbing part for the two-bedroom house, he headed to the old Hagen-Lunceford Plumbing, near Fourth and Best. While he waited, Mike hobnobbed with the old-timers encircling the wood stove. They asked him how much he had paid for his rental. Mike responded, “Fifty-nine hundred.” They laughed at the extravagance. “All those $3,500 deals are gone,” one codger chided. If you replayed that scene today, Mike told Huckleberries, the punchline would be: “All those $200,000 deals are gone.” Mike added, “A livable house in Coeur d’Alene for $200,000 today is a steal.” And they call this progress?

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D.F. “Dave” Oliveria can be contacted at


Taylor and Landers