By JERRY HITCHCOCK
Outdoor recreation recently got a big boost on the south side of Post Falls, what with the city purchasing parcels of land just to the west and south of Q’emiln Park.
Naturally, Journey and I had to check the new area out as soon as our busy schedules synced up. The pooch has a hectic docket full of squirrel chasing and I can’t seem to stay off a bike long enough to put one foot in front of the other most days.
The new park adds 245 acres of gently-sloping land with tons of potential prior to another 128 acres purchased in early September, but Journey and I like the area just the way it sits. Accessed from a newly-installed parking lot/trailhead about two miles south of Q’emiln, the main trail is an old double track dirt road that meanders down to the valley floor, allowing great views of Post Falls, the Rathdrum Prairie and Coeur d’Alene along the way.
Part of the reason for the recent purchase was to put the city in line with the need to land apply treated wastewater, but that project should not hinder nature or access in a drastic way, officials are saying.
Journey loves the smells and sounds of nature, and is always eager to get started exploring once his paws hit the gravel.
We did come upon a few singletrack trails and had to poke around in each direction, to see if there was anything we might be missing.
The terrain is what you’d expect from North Idaho — many granite outcroppings, thick- and thin-forested areas and a few large meadows.
It took us 25 minutes to finally make it to the bottom of the hill and we could have gone on for probably another mile before we hit any Q’emiln Park trails. Knowing full well we had to do some uphill hiking to get back to the vehicle, I felt it was time to put it in reverse.
Journey takes on hills with all the gusto of a mountain goat. I have to convince him to stop and rest from time to time. If he ever loses his job as North Idaho’s four-legged goodwill ambassador, he can surely find work as a scout in the Himalayas.
Many areas of the main trail have shade, and the site will surely be an important four-season attraction for anyone looking to get away and get outside.
The future of this area leaves nature lovers like the two of us as breathless with anticipation as the trek back to the truck. With great valleys strewn with huge rock features and plenty of room for different types of recreation, the land will surely be enjoyed for generations to come, keeping locals and visitors alike easily attune with nature.