Trip Like I Do—Secret Place, Idaho

A friend mentioned this place in a quick exchange as I was being eaten by mosquitos in the one spot with wifi in the whole of Priest Lake. When the mood turned sour in our immediate surroundings, Christine and I decided to head out here to spend the day somewhere totally unplanned, to catch our breath and reset; we were not disappointed.

“It’s so unexpectedly nice,” I said to my friend, after asking her to guess where we are. “Exactly,” she replied and mentioned pickles. They have really good pickles here.

Then she said: “Keep it a secret place…”

No worries there; I’d already felt the same way.

So, this is our secret place, a hidden gem whose mention I took as providential when we needed it the most. If you recognize this place, you’re in on our secret. Let’s keep it that way.

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I’m not sure if I’d have felt the full whimsy of being here if it weren’t for our much-needed detour, but I’m certain that the shape of our drive only heightened the feeling.

We were obviously still processing the vibes of the previous day, going back and forth again and again over what was said and what made no sense and how anyone could think like that, etc. etc., and the universe kept trying to get us to snap out of it.

I’ve heard of darting deer that wreck cars and even know a friend whose own vacation was derailed by such an encounter, but I’d never seen one. We saw three.

Obviously, we didn’t make contact, but three honest to goodness deer made a run for it on our way here: a momma deer followed soon after by a baby deer, then a couple of miles later, an adolescent buck. It was frightening and delightful and yes baby deer are spotted and cute but omg don’t do that!

We joked about how the deer seemed to want us to stop dwelling on the arguments, but of course, we slipped into the dwelling again. God finally said stop by literally choking me out on my own worked up vitriol, scaring the bejeezus out of Christine for the third time as I gasped for control over my windpipe again. We got the message and enjoyed the rest of our drive.

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I didn’t know what to expect. We drove past many dudes on motorbikes and towns that greeted you with a message from their seven churches, so anything was possible. But as soon as we got here, we realized that this place is some kind of haven for hipsters.

There’s a cute high street with coffee shops and a stunningly gorgeous park that’s a public beach. We saw a tiny pirate ship. It was charming, goddammit.

Christine reflected on how grateful she was for our extended friend groups; the chosen family and the places she’d have never known without having chosen them—these felt extra sweet when kin were being disappointing.

I’ve since learned that this place can’t really stay secret for long; it’s very accessible. People want people to flock here. But, no matter, it remains our little day trip oasis where, as Christine put it, “the hot weather didn’t feel too hot and the strangers didn’t feel too strange.”

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