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We got away with our camper for a week or so at the end of May. Last summer there was no time for camping between work and wildfires so we just decided to block out some time early and do it. With a little luck, maybe we can go again later in the summer.

The Lost Lake Campground was created by the CCC. Signs indicated the work was done in 1940 and ’41. There is a cabin and shops and also some buildings at the adjacent Kiwanis camp all built by the CCC workers. The cabin is badly in need of repair. I do hope the US Forest Service can find the resources to preserve this historic building.

Western larch is the predominant tree around the campground. These are tall stately conifers with needles that turn golden yellow in the fall before dropping. In the spring they grow vibrant green foliage. Apparently the area was logged in 1963, taking many of the big old trees. There are at least two remaining and a nature walk will guide you to them. The area was thinned/logged again around fifteen years ago, I think. This thinning has produced a healthy and attractive stand that is also more fire resistant than it was prior to that.

We were joined by Ken’s brother and the two of them enjoyed fishing for brook trout from the short kayaks. We had two good meals of fresh fish cooked over the fire. I enjoyed birding from my kayak. Ken and Carl saw a moose swim across the lake while they were fishing. Of course, I missed it! We all enjoyed listening to the loons calling to each other.

It was nice to get away from home and the ever-present electronic world.

Here is our bird list from Lost Lake.

Canada Goose

Wood Duck

Mallard

Green-winged Teal

Ring-necked Duck

Common Loon

Turkey Vulture

Bald Eagle

Red-tailed Hawk

Virginia Rail

Sora

American Coot

Spotted Sandpiper

Great Horned Owl

Barred Owl

Common Poorwill

hummingbird sp.

Williamson’s Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Hammond’s Flycatcher

Empidonax sp.

Gray Jay

Steller’s Jay

Common Raven

Tree Swallow

Violet-green Swallow

Black-capped Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Marsh Wren

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Western Bluebird

Townsend’s Solitaire

Swainson’s Thrush

American Robin

Orange-crowned Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Chipping Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Song Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird

Red Crossbill

Pine Siskin

Evening Grosbeak

 

Lost Lake is in the Okanogan Highlands, northeast of Tonasket and north of Bonaparte Lake. It is in the forest at nearly 4000′ elevation; a little colder than Chopaka Lake. There is a lovely wetland, home to many birds, on the south end. On the north end, there is a Forest Service campground, first established by the CCC in the 1940’s. It still has an old fashioned feeling about it that I like. There are also a few cabins around the lake and two private camps. The Okanogan Highlands Alliance bought much of the marsh and some of the uplands on the south side to protect these important habitats.

I have been visiting this place for at least fifteen years and I never tire of it. It’s hard to put my finger on one thing and say ‘this is why I like it’. Maybe it’s the historic nature of the place, the slower pace, the lack of development. Or maybe it’s the loons. Common Loons nest on Lost Lake and few other lakes in Washington – mostly in Ferry County to the east. I will have another post just about the loons at Lost Lake.

Ken caught lots of brook trout while we were there and we did not go hungry. We even had fish to share with others and we had one dinner party at our campsite and another with our neighbors! I enjoyed early morning paddles on the lake watching the loons and other birds and frogs and turtles too.

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