Sunday, June 14, 2015

First Summer Camping Trip - Part 3

 Disappointed that we were not staying at the campground in Stanley where we had enjoyed a few hours on the lake, LC pulled back onto the winding two lane highway and headed back in the direction of Challis.
There were a multitude of campgrounds located along the Salmon River on the way back and (because neither of us had paid them too much attention as we blew by one after the other on the way to Stanley) we hoped that we would be able to find a quiet place to camp overnight.
If not, we would stay in Challis.
We had left Stanley in bright sunshine even though it was now well past 7pm.
The storm seemed to come out of nowhere.
One moment it was sunny and very warm, and the next moment a series of ominous dark clouds appeared over the mountains, dropped down into the valley and immediately began to dump huge amounts of rain on our heads.
Slowing the Tahoe down to a crawl, LC struggled to see the road through the rain-pounded windshield.
15 minutes later it was still pouring with rain, and we almost passed it.
A camp ground on our right.
Scanning the camp ground quickly as we turned in, I realized that the place was completely empty.
Completely empty.
Through the rain I could see that the camp ground lay alongside the river.  
Could see that it was filled with trees and tall grass, and surrounded on all sides by mountains.
Completely empty.
It was perfect.
Pulling into the furthest camp site from the entrance, LC, Kory and I sat in the Tahoe content in our unexpected isolation, and waited out the rain.................. 
 When we finally all climbed out of the Tahoe the air was damp and cool.
Quickly scanning the area I realized that this campground was exactly what we needed at that moment.
It was beautiful here.
Silent except for the freezing cold and black river that rushed past us.
The grass was tall and it was obvious that this camp ground was not a high priority item, when compared to the grounds 15 miles down the road in beautiful and expensive Stanley.
We should have known not to go there.  Not at this time of year.
Naive and unthinking, we had headed to a part of the state that exists solely because of tourists that are drawn to its rugged beauty.
Both of us had decided that late fall would be a better time to visit the town that bills itself as "The Gateway To The Sawtooth Mountains".
I loved this empty and seemingly forgotten place.
And even though the light was quickly fading, and even though the evening was cold and damp, I was very pleased to have unexpectedly found this place.
While LC squared away the truck and boat, and pulled out tools in preparation for cooking some dinner, I wandered around the place with my dog, taking random pictures of rugged beauty................
 It was a good sized camp ground but not huge, but Kory and I wandered for a long time, her letting her nose lead her, and me allowing her to pull me wherever she wanted to go.
She camps so well.
The first night we slept in the Tahoe I had cleared off the entire front seat for her, thinking that she may want to curl up and sleep there.
Immediately after jumping into the front seat though, she jumped into the back with us, squeezed between us, and curled up at our feet.
Wanting to sleep with her people.
By the time she and I got back to the Tahoe I was starving.
It was been a very busy day that had started in Salmon with both LC and I tired, headache-y and still stressed-out-cranky.
By the end of this day we had somehow managed to find ourselves settled into a quiet camp ground between Stanley and Challis, and would again be sleeping alongside the fast-flowing Salmon River.
On this second night, we all slept hard and we all slept well................

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