Getting to Sandpoint — a small vacation town just an hour south of the Canadian border, in the Idaho panhandle — means taking the “Long Bridge” over Lake Pend Oreille, a sprawling body of water French trappers named for its resemblance to an earring, or at least an ear. The bridge is two miles long and offers a breathtaking panorama of the Selkirk, Bitterroot, and Cabinet mountain ranges, blanketed in national forest, standing sentinel in the background. In good weather, the lake feels endless and bottomless, a reflection of a season that feels like it’ll never end. In bad, the wind whipping off feels like a curse.To be on the Long Bridge when a train comes through on the adjacent rail bridge — which it does, several times every day and night — is to feel transported to a different decade, if not century. It all feels precarious and pristine, secret and special. Most everyone who moves to Sandpoint, population 8,700 — or the surrounding area of Bonner County, population just under 45,000 — has a “Long Bridge story”: what it felt like to drive across it for the first time, and the incredible urge to make some part of… Read full this story
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