Upper Priest Lake Kayak Camping

This was to be our first overnight kayak trip, and I was very excited! We stayed the night in the Lionhead Unit campground in the Chalet and then moved it to the overnight parking near the boat launch for the time that we would be on Upper Priest.

Kayaking to the entrance of the Thorofare, which is what they call the channel between the Lower and Upper Lakes, was a little choppy. Amber, David’s dog, fell into the water, which made for an eventful first hour of the trip. Fortunately, once we got to the Thorofare, everything instantly calmed down. It was calm, quiet, and absolutely amazing. We even paddled next to a group of otters for awhile. I think it only took us between an hour or 2 to get through. I’m writing this 10 months after the trip, but I do know that it didn’t take us more than half a day.

Arriving at Upper Priest Lake was even more phenomenal. There was no one there, and we had our choice of beautiful, lakefront campspots. We got the best one, and had our own private beach and lake for the first night. I think it’s safe to say that this is my favorite place in the world. However I must admit that I had a bit of a sleepless night the first night. There had been a recent grizzly bear sighting here according to a park ranger, and I don’t think I slept 30 minutes total.

Our private beach

The next day, we paddled around to the north end of the Upper Lake and went up a river that was really cool, which I’d still like to know more about and where it eventually leads. After exploring more around the lake, we arrived back at our campsite and cooked dinner on the beach.

I slept great the second night, having had very little sleep the night before, but ironically, David didn’t. I think I’d spooked him with all my grizzly bear talk. David had tried waking me in the middle of the night when he heard very close animal noises, but I was so tired that I slept right through it. The next morning, we learned that it was deer that he heard. There were a lot of hoof prints in the sand right by our tent.

I cannot wait to go back to Upper Priest again. I’m thinking that this may have to be an annual trip for my sanity. Who needs a home on a lake when you have kayaks and kayak camping gear?


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