Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Great Northern Redneck Adventure–Chapter 5– Dining at the Snakepit and visiting the Mission

A fairly short drive back west along I-90 brought us back to Kingston, ID once more, this time, turn turn north towards our dinner destination Smile, the Enaville Resort / The Snakepit. 

Opened originally in 1879, it’s real name being “The Enaville Resort”, it has served the area for roughly 130 years, as a train layover, brothel, loggers bar, and a great many other things. 

The name “Snakepit” comes from it’s time when it served as a bordello, before the days of indoor plumbing, sitting on the confluence of two local rivers, water snakes were a common visitor into the bar from the out buildings behind. 


During our visit with TC Life the previous evening in Spokane, we’d learned that The Snakepit’s days were sadly numbered.  The owner, Joe Peak, a man whom I’d met several years prior in 2005 while bicycling the Trail of the Coeur D’Alenes, was dying of cancer and that for the first time in it’s history the Snakepit was looking at a possible long term or permanent closure. 

I was rather saddened by this, as I had fond memories of Joe when he rescued me from a very soggy ride back to the Pinehurst KOA when a big storm broke out while I was visiting. 

Fortunately, we got lucky when we came by on our visit and that one of the managers had taken over running things to wrap up the rest of the year. 

For those that have never been here before, you’d find the interior filled with various historic photos and objects from over the course of the building’s history. 



Aside from the cornucopia of historical objects that fill the interior of the Snakepit, the main attraction for me has always been their Buffalo burgers Smile.   

Even before the time of this trip, I personally thought them the best in the West, and this would be later be confirmed as we tried Buffalo burgers from various other restaurants as we journeyed east, never again finding one as juicy or as tasty as the ones at the Snakepit. 

This visit was no different, but I decided that this was also a now or never experience, and added one more thing to my dinner menu, real Rocky Mountain Oysters, straight from the bull Winking smile


This was actually my first experience with them, and had always been curious exactly what one would taste like….. Smile with tongue out, it ends up they taste exactly as how a fellow member described them, like fried meat.   They’re no more chewy than eating a pork sandwich, and don’t leave any kind of a funny after taste in your mouth Smile

They were served with what the Snakepit serves as French Fries, a thin sliced potato that’s similar to what some places used to call JoJo Potatoes, except here, they call them “Buffalo Chips” . 


Happy Matt Smile after Rocky Mountain Oysters photo!

My first attempt at taking my photo using the front camera on my cell phone Smile with tongue out.  A reminder that touch screens work better when your fingers aren’t greasy Winking smile.

We lounged around for a while, me attempting to make a Facebook post with the app from hell (The Android Facebook app needs to have the entire development team beaten repeatedly), and then we said what may have been our last goodbyes and made our way out into the parking lot. 



As we exited to the parking lot, I noticed we still had a bit more daylight left than I thought we were going to have, so as an after dinner workout, I took us over to the oldest building in Idaho, “The Old Mission of the Sacred Heart”.


In the early 19th Century the local Coeur D’Alene Indians had begun to hear tale of “powerful ‘medicine men’ in black robes with a book” and wanted some of these men for their own tribe.  So, they sent messengers to St. Louis to make a request for some of the Jesuit missionaries to come to their area.  

In 1842, Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, who became a major player in the history of Idaho and Montana, responded to their request and came to the area to help the creation of the Mission. 

The current Mission buildings themselves were built by the local Coeur D’Alene Indians under the direction of Antonio Ravalli in 1850, who’d by then taken over the Sacred Heart Mission from De Smet.  

Because of the remoteness of the area, the mission was constructed using large beam timbers harvested from the surrounding forests, and filled the walls in using what is known as the “wattle and daub method”.

Wattle and daub is a composite building material used for making walls, in which a woven lattice of wooden strips called wattle is daubed with a sticky material usually made of some combination of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw. Wattle and daub has been used for at least 6000 years, and is still an important construction material in many parts of the world.

----- From Wikipedia

The Mission was later moved to Desmet, Idaho in 1877, but Mass is still celebrated at the old Mission site.


The old wooden confessionals.


Displays from the Parish House.


Outside the Old Mission and the Parish House, there is a couple of trails that take you around to various view points and also talk about the history of Mining in the area.


By the time all the displays had been viewed and the trails walked, it became obvious that we had no choice but to find a place for the night and get settled in. 

A quick search of the AllStays RV & Campground App revealed that there were several campgrounds just north of the Snakepit, so we made an about face and headed back towards the Snakepit and then on to the Country Lane RV Resort & B’n’B. 

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