Skip to content

1 kickass day at Farragut State Park

    I promised my husband I wouldn’t overload my schedule this summer.

    I overloaded my schedule this summer.

    Between the Paws of the Inland Northwest sessions, launching One Last Network and working part time at The Spokesman-Review as a desk editor, I haven’t left much time for anything else.

    I often emerge from my office cocoon to a soulful set of eyes, wishing we were out doing something epic.

    It hits me right in the gut some days, because I long ago promised Bella that every day of her life would be awesome in some way.

    So I cleared my schedule on Tuesday and took her hiking at Farragut State Park.

    dog hiking at Farragut  State Park
    Just off the trail At Farragut State Park

    The origins of Farragut State Park

    Farragut State Park is a 4,000-acre paradise that wraps around the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille. Stand in the right spot and you cast your gaze upon the Coeur d’Alene Mountains, part of the Bitterroot Range.

    It was once home to a naval training station that was built quickly in response to the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. More than 20 barracks buildings housed more than 30,000 recruits. 

    This image from is an aerial view of the training station that sprung up out of nowhere and closed five years later after the war ended.

    The base became the site of Farragut College and Technical Institute, which stayed open until 1948. The feds turned the land over to Idaho Department of Fish and Game in 1950, according to The Spokesman, and it became a state park in 1966.

    Where all those barracks and buildings sat, Farragut State Park now features hiking trails campgrounds, grassy fields, and glorious stands of western white pine and other deciduous and coniferous trees.

    hiking with a Maremma sheepdog in North Idaho

    If we’ve been to Farragut State Park 20 times, 19 of them are for walking along the Shoreline Trail. (Full disclosure: I don’t know how many times I’ve been there, but it’s only an hour from my house and one of the few places Husband is willing to hike.)

    The Shoreline Trail is a gentle hike along the lake’s shore. If you start at the boat launch and stretch the trail all the way to Buttonhook Bay, an out-and-back day will cover about 5 miles. (That’s including the little island on the other side of the little wooden bridge.)

    To cover the entire loop around Farragut State Park, you’re looking at 14.5 miles.

    It’s all downhill from here

    On Tuesday, I went scouting for easier access to Buttonhook Bay, since I often meet clients at Beaver Bay swimming area and hike the mile-and-a-half to get to an amazing spot for water photos. Bella and I had already covered a couple of miles from the boat launch. 

    I was testing out my new Nikon Z9 and wanted to get my Maremma sheepdog in her best power pose on my favorite Farragut rock. (I find a favorite rock at almost every location.) 

    She was unhappy to pose powerfully for me since the buzzies (read: hornets or wasps, not sure which) were flying around her. She’s been antsy around buzzies since our 2019 hike at Liberty Lake landed us (ahem, her) in a hornets nest. 

    favorite rock on Shoreline Trail
    Too many buzzies, Mama

    The buzzies got stuck in her fur and she frantically tried to get them out but only Mama could find the way. While Mama was sustaining 15 stings all over her body. How many stings did the Maremma sustain? None that I could find.

    But I digress …

    We found the Squirrel Cache trailhead and started making our way to the lake.

    hiking with a dog at Squirrel Cache trailhead
    Near the trailhead

    As we were heading down a somewhat steep incline, we encountered a couple hoofing it back up the hill. 

    Me: “I am regretting my decision to find a trail that goes downhill first.”
    The woman: “I was just saying that to my husband!”

    We got to the shore and I could see our destination was another mile and a half or so. The sun was heating up and my Fitbit had long ago buzzed in to let me know we had surpassed our goals for not only steps but also our zone minutes, whatever the hell those are.

    We turned around. When we got back to the top, I checked a map and saw “Buttonhook Day Use Area.”

    We drove there, got out and were at Buttonhook Bay in a 5-minute stroll. 


    It made for one super easy session last night, though!

    I also had one happy Maremma sheepdog. At least until Wednesday when we didn’t go anywhere again.

    Samesies around Spokane

    In other news, I joined the Same Dress Spokane project this year and it was bags of fun.

    A local photographer, Rachel Fellows, came up with a plan to buy one dress and share it with other photographers, challenging them to create an image in their style.

    We all keep our images secret until Reveal Day, when we post the image on our social media accounts and ask for donations to the Spokane Humane Society. Rachel also auctions off the dress to raise more money for the Humane Society.

    I’ve been experiencing FOMO ever since the project launched in 2019. 

    And guess what? 

    Today is Reveal Day, so here’s my image.

    Same Dress Spokane reveal day
    Never Alone

    I knew as soon as I saw the dress where I wanted to take my models, Jolene and Eena. It would look amazing backdropped by the canola fields of the Palouse.

    Yes, it’s my favorite rock on the Rocks of Sharon trail in Valleyford. It’s also where I got this epic image of Duke the Landshark. 

    German shepherd at Rocks of Sharon

    The image of Jolene and Eena is titled Never Alone. I envisioned a woman all fancied up for a hot date and got stood up. Then she realizes she’s never alone because her dog is all she needs.

    Which is where she finds her power.

    Sound familiar? Oh yeah, it’s only part of my life story.

    If you want to check out everyone else’s interpretation of the dress, here are their Instagram handles:

    Mike WolfgramJohn Austin
    Lisa PipellaChris Woolley
    Tom TysonRachel Fellows
    Brenda CookGavin James
    Amanda KeeleyScott Martinez
    Jason Jakober

    And of course me: @bigwhitedogphotography.

    All around the circle

    Happiness is found in a different place for everyone. For me, the happiest happiness is on a dusty, wooded trail with my dog and my camera. 

    Pet photographers around the world are blogging about their happiness this week. Jump into the blog circle and see what’s happening. 

    Start with Kylee Doyle of Kylee Doyle Photography, photographing pets from Sacramento to Tahoe and sharing her favorite tips on providing enrichment (and happiness) to your pup.

    When you get to the bottom of Kylee’s post, click the link for the next post in the blog circle. Keep that up on everyone’s post until you find yourself back here to my happy day at Farragut State Park.

    That’s when you know you’re home.

    Right where you belong.

    And if you think a session at Farragut State Park is in the cards for you, fill out my contact form and get on my calendar! There are limited sessions available for the fall but there’s always room for emergency sessions for your senior or terminally ill dog.


    Dogs. Adventure. Outdoors. These words set Angela's heart afire. Angela Schneider, an award-winning writer and dog photographer, documents the story of you and your dog and the adventures you take together. Your portraits will be a statement piece in your home, art that will make your friends and family beg to hear its story.

    14 thoughts on “1 kickass day at Farragut State Park”

    1. AHHH THE YELLOW DRESS!!! Beautiful! So glad you shared and thanks for posting the others to check out what they did! You did amazing!
      And happiness to me is seeing a muddy Bella – pure joy!

    2. Wow – first, I noticed how much white fur was no longer white because Bella was having fun…..then I noticed that Bella doesn’t have her ears forward/down in several photos (is this a great pyrenees thing?). Then I saw those last photos with the yellow dress and that beautiful rock! Awesome!

      1. Nope! Livestock guardian dogs, the working class to which Bella’s breed, the Maremma sheepdog, belongs, are usually on alert, always watching to guard against predators. So her ears aren’t in that relaxed place that some dog photographers prefer. It’s amazing and wonderful to watch when her instincts kick in.

    3. My favorite part is that your husband asks you not to overload your schedule, but it’s Bella’s big brown eyes that make you feel guilty and take a day off – sounds familiar.

    4. Good for you for changing things up and taking a day off. Because we tend to photograph 7 days a week, we end up working 7 days a week. We (me?) sometimes forget that even though we’re at home, if we’re in the office, we’re working! Your image with the dress is amazing! Well done, off to vote for it now!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *