Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Mystery of the Photographer Statue

Interstate 90 is our main route whenever we take a trip back east.  Between travels to Montana and South Dakota, we've made many trips on this road since moving to Oregon 20+ years ago.  There is a very scenic stretch of I-90 that parallels Lake Coeur d'Alene in northern Idaho.  At the east end of the lake, there's a photographer statue placed on a scenic overlook.  This statue is clearly visible from I-90.

Every time we pass by the statue, I always wonder why it's there.  Is it to commemorate a famous photographer?  Did something historic happen here?  Is it placed in a very special scenic location?  There are no freeway exits immediately adjacent to this location - how does one get to the statue?  (I've seen people standing by this statue, so I know it is accessible.)

The mystery man

I've often remarked to Roger that I'd like to visit the statue someday.  Being interested in photography, I think it would be cool to have my photo taken next to it.  But it seems like every time we've driven by, we're in a hurry to make it to our destination.  Access from I-90 is not readily apparent, and we haven't had time to search for the route. So the photographer statue remained a mystery, my questions unanswered.

View of Lake Coeur d'Alene from the statue.

However, last February I found myself on I-90, driving back home from Roger's mom's funeral.  Having dropped Cody off in Missoula, it was just myself and the dog in the car.  Roger was still in Yankton, so there was no reason for me to hurry home.  As I approached Lake Coeur d'Alene, I thought to myself  "I've got time - I'm going to try and find the photographer."

So I took the exit before the statue.  That road took me away from the lake.  So I hopped back on I-90, and tried the exit after the photographer.  I wound around a road that took me back and forth across and under the freeway.  I ended up at a turnaround that dead-ended at a boat ramp.  Thinking this couldn't be it, I turned around and drove up another road that took me high above I-90 through a residential area.  After wasting about half an hour driving around, I was ready to give up and get back on the road.  But I remembered the road to the boat ramp seemed to take me close to where I thought the statue should be.  I decided to try that road one more time.

Say cheese!

I pulled into the boat ramp parking area.  I started looking around.  A paved bike path paralleled the road and continued beyond the parking lot.  I looked up the bike path and, lo and behold, there was my statue!
I put Bear on a leash, grabbed my camera, and went to check it out.  The statue was situated in an area that afforded nice views of the lake.  But there was nothing by the statue that gave any clue as to why it was there, or who it was supposed to commemorate.  The statue itself was weather-worn and dirty.  Kind of a disappointment!

Mr. Golden Guy and his wonderful view

Since I couldn't get Bear to work my camera (he's a smart dog, but not that smart!) I didn't get any photos of myself with the golden photographer.  But now that I know how to get to this place, I'll have to make Roger stop next time we're in the neighborhood.  Then I'll get my photo. 

At least I've solved part of the mystery of the photographer statue of Lake Coeur d'Alene!

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