Just west of Rathdrum off Highway 53, are two lakes I've driven within a mile of for over 25 years, but only saw for the first time when we flew in this plane. On the left is Newman Lake, in Washington, and on the right is Hauser Lake, in Idaho. They lie in the foothills leading to Mount Spokane, as do the rest of the smaller lakes featured from here on. The Rathdrum Prairie is really a huge flat deposit of gravel from glacial runoff, covering a basin of bedrock, making a great catchall for precipitation (the Rathdrum aquifer). As a result of this deep gravel deposit, most lakes are on the edge of the prairie, and many of the little lakes outlets drain off into the ground before reaching the Spokane River (which itself loses millions of gallons crossing the Prairie).
Turning east from those lakes, you see the Burlington Northern yard, with a new refueling depot, which if it had a major spill, could pollute lots of water for everyone in the area. They claim it can't happen here... Rathdrum is the town in the distance.
The mainline of the Burlington Northern route runs through Rathdrum, making it a railroad town by default. It's growing fast also, as you can see by the treeless subdivision on the right.
I'm not sure why Rathdrum got to claim the name for the Rathdrum Prairie. I guess if you're coming at it from Spokane, Rathdrum is the first town you come to on the Prairie (which has too many trees in my opinion to be a prairie, anyway). Also, the local aquifer is called the Rathdrum aquifer, but in recent years for some (political) reason Spokanites have been calling it the Rathdrum-Spokane aquifer...
A few miles north of Rathdrum lie the Twin Lakes. Lower Twin Lake is in the foreground, with the far side mostly unaccessable for lake building. Upper Twin is in the background, and rather shallow and weedier, as it appears in this photo. To the far west in the background stands Mt. Spokane, its ski trails evident...
Continue on to the fifth page of
the tour, Spirit Lake