Monday, October 29, 2012

Camping Below the Snow Zone

Girl Camping Girl and many of her pals live in a part of the interior Northwest that definitely has icy, snowy, cold, and road-dangerous winters. Which generally adds up to trailers put in storage by the end of October and then a 6- or 7-month wait until they can come back out.

This year, a couple of us are trying something different, by taking our trailers to a campsite out of the snow zone, at a much lower elevation (Swiftwater RV Park at White Bird, Idaho), and leaving them set up there for use during the winter.

The climate change is dramatic because the change of country is dramatic. Here's what part of the elevation change looks like from river level (the Salmon, to be exact--same river running behind the two trailers above).

And here's what the elevation change looked like from the top of the 7% mountain grade we had to descend in order to get there. (Here's where you appreciate air brakes on your truck, and the best road-gripping tires that money can buy.)

We wound down to river level after crossing this long bridge over a canyon.

Then we got the trailers parked and settled in with about an hour of daylight to spare.

Next on the agenda:

A toast to our arrival in one piece!

We set out to meet some of the campground neighbors. They turned out to be hunters who were driven off a nearby mountaintop by too many inches of wet and wind-driven snow.

They stayed warm with the woodstove in their wall tent, and we stayed warm with the electric fireplace in ours.

It was pre-Halloween weekend, so we had to start our Saturday with a cup of the appropriate venom.

We put the Big Dog on duty.

Then we set out to do some local exploring. We found this sculpture, made of 'river junk' dredged up near old mining operations.

We saw fishing boats, both in use and tied up waiting for their next trips.

We found this monument to the cavalry troopers who died during the first battle of the Nez Perce War, in 1877.

Taking an alternate route back to the top of the highway grade, we marveled at the depths of the canyons in this part of idaho.

We drove back down along the river, where we encountered this sheepherder's wagon used as an overnight rental. It was adorable!

No shortage of local color, and the burgers were great, too.

Back at the trailers, we tucked in to watch 'Casablanca.'

And enjoyed a campfire (because what is camping, without one?)

With our trailers tucked into a neat spot for the next 5 months, we drove home without them (nice for going back up that grade!) Hugs, waves, and...

...we'll be back!


  1. What a grand idea! Since they have to be parked somewhere, you at least have a fun spot to explore. And warm makes it a toasty place to come home too!!

  2. OMGosh, what a beautiful area! It does look cold, though. So nice to just drive away, knowing you can come back at any time! Some fun!!!

  3. Although it snowed up higher, all we got was some rain. Mid-50s in the daytime. Those canyon walls offer amazing protection--the hunter guys pulled in with 6 inches of snow on the roofs of their trucks!

  4. Oh how I wish I had a spare trailer to leave down there with yours & BonBon's...
    Looks wonderful...Great decision to have a secrete hideaway.

    1. How about a cute nearby B&B with a view?! And you don't even have to tow it!

  5. Looks like a great time discovering the joys of camping in the fall! My only concern is for the safety of your campers while you are gone. I hope there is a camp host there to keep a watchful eye on them.

  6. The campground owner lives on the premises. So not to worry!