Selected Tales from the Waste family travels for Bechtel Corporation


Sandpoint, Idaho


Lake Pend Oreille

My family moved up to the top of the Idaho Panhandle in 1961 so my Dad could help Bechtel with the natural gas pipeline then under construction for PG&E. The pipeline was to connect California with Alberta, Canada at the border town of Eastport, Idaho (see map) . The biggest town near us was Sandpoint ( population then only 9000) on beautiful Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho's largest lake (it's pronounced "ponderay"). Sandpoint is just 60 miles south of the Canadian border. It was very scenic but also very far from home.

Lake Pend Oreille 


 Sandpoint, looking south

We arrived a bit late to find a place in town. Because of the many construction workers that had already arrived we were lucky to find a nicely furnished home 8 miles north of Sandpoint. Our driveway was a half mile long dirt road that started at tiny Colburn (then population of 78), crossed the main railway line past the marshes and duck ponds before climbing up into the forest.

The house was quite nice considering that it was located at the base of the Selkirk Mountains, a front range of the Rocky Mountains with 6000-7000 feet elevations. The woods were full of every imaginable North American animal, grizzly and black bears, gray wolves, Canada lynx, wolverines and the Selkirk Mountains woodland elk, to name a few. Plus there many mule deer and game birds like partridge and grouse. Today that house we lived in is probably in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. But in those days it was simply where we played and explored - just our front and backyard. Despite a very difficult winter, we had a lot of fun and more "true-life adventures" than on Disney's Wonderful World of Color!

Click on the Living in Sandpoint link for more pictures and stories



It was a fantastic time and place to be a 7 year old boy.


Looking southwards over Lake Pend Oreille




The California to Canada natural gas pipeline was completed on Dec. 2, 1961. It was built for PG&E, which stands for Pacific Gas & Electric. The division that transports the gas through the pipeline is today called PG&E Gas Transmission Northwest or PG&E GTN. PG&E GTN was the first fully automated natural gas pipeline in the U.S.



Bonner County Info and News

 City of Sandpoint

100 Years of Sandpoint History

Pend Oreille Lakeguide features a live webcam. Be sure to read the lake history section about "the Paddler", a mysterious lake monster.

Idaho Panhandle National Forest


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