We spent the 4th of July weekend on the Lochsa River and it was wonderful!
Our family reserves a small campground every year to ourselves; the campground is only open to reservations by private parties. We all had a great time. As with any photography or writing, the challenge is always capturing the experience and relaying it to viewers or readers that were not present with as much vibrancy and spatial realism as possible. This takes a great deal of talent, time, and effort. My talent is questionable, my effort is present, and my time has been consumed with nearly daylight to literally dark work for the last couple of weeks. I have been thinking of all of the posts that I want to make and haven’t had the time (or energy) lately. Thus, the fourth element in the equation…desire. This I certainly have so I will do my best to convey to you the experience.
The campground is called Glade Creek campground. It is along US Highway 12, designated a scenic byway, and located within a National Forest area. The name is not just a label, but it really does have Glade Creek gurgling its way through the campground located in a beautiful stand of trees, mostly large cedar trees.
Highway 12 is one of the most beautiful roads in the the Northwest (in my humble opinion) and I never tire of driving it for work, pleasure, or travel. Mind you, I didn’t say that I don’t get tired driving it, something which happens, but you cannot afford to let your focus or mind wander as it follows two different rivers for almost 200 miles, winding its way around tight turns of the mountains’ base and in some places dangerous drops.
I don’t want to make it sound forbidding, but only a small forewarning that the scenery is hypnotic and best enjoyed with multiple stops along the way rather than furtive glances between corners.
We digress. Back to camping.
This was the upward view above our campsite and I wished more than twice I knew how to take astrophotography as the stars were absolutely stunning and brilliant by night! With your neck craned and your ear tuned to the rushing water of creek and river, it was mesmerizing and lulled you to a sleepy state.
Our fabric home in the woods was nestled among the brush and beneath the shade of the ancient timber surrounding us.
In an earlier posting I took a still life of our lantern that we traversed the darkened woods with as we left our neighbors’ campfire for our cozy beds.
One of the best parts of this campground, indeed the central reason for the location, was the private access to the river and a small beach. Just sitting or standing riverside was pleasure enough as it was relaxing and full of unique photo opportunities.
This private beach was priceless as the river is always busy this time of year with locals and tourists attempting to escape the heat, enjoy the beauty, and have some fun.
I was fortunate enough to catch a charted rafting trip just as they finished coming through a set of mild rapids.
After the intense moment of hanging up on the rock I even got a friendly wave from the passengers.
River Rats, beach bums, and kayakers don’t have a monopoly on this highway. As we ran to a little country store miles away we came upon this small group of ‘bikers’ stopped for a small respite and gaze at scenery. Biker ‘gangs’ (don’t think Hell’s Angels) are not uncommon, in fact it is quite common. This section of highway 12 is said to be the #1 motorcycle recreational route in America. Many locals take this route to Montana and back on a weekend on their motorcycles. Last year I spoke with a man who was a general contractor in Spokane, WA who said that he was part of a group of at least 20 bikers that rode the route every year.
These folks mostly looked tough when I stopped and jumped out of the car before they took off again. I hustled toward them and asked loudly if I could take their picture. They only stared and nobody said a word. I kept asking as I got closer so they wouldn’t leave. Finally, arriving beside the tallest (and ‘badest’) of the group I told him I was just taking pictures and asked if I could take theirs. He didn’t say anything still, only looked down at me with a serious look on his face. I kept talking.
“Yeah, I saw you guys all parked here and thought you looked pretty cool.”
No response. From anybody.
I pressed on, pointed to the meanest looking of the group. “Besides, you are so good looking I couldn’t resist.”
This broke the ice and the man laughed at me and the rest laughed at him. They let me take their picture and even posed for the shot. After that we all had a very friendly conversation.
It turns out they were from Canada, the provinces of Ontario and Alberta. Several were from Calgary and I asked if they had heard about the pillaging of a couple’s home by AirBnb renters several months ago. They had heard a lot about it. I told them the man was an old friend of mine; which he is though I haven’t seen him for many years. Its a small world.
That wasn’t all the travelers that I saw.
On the drive to the little store we came across three elk crossing the river. I missed the crossing with my camera, but they lingered long enough for me to take several pictures from the far side, this is among the best.
There were many things that I wish I could have captured, but was unable. Like the flock of Red Head ducks flying low over the river headed upstream to some unknown destination. I got a picture in a quick snap as they flew by, but it was very blurry.
Also, if this website had video capabilities, it would be nice to share a lot of GoPro videos of snorkeling and diving deep that I took.
As the week ended and we began to pack up for leaving there were all the critters that wanted to go home with us like the goose in “Jack and the Beanstalk”…we very cold-heartedly refused all known stowaways.
It was a great time and I am already looking forward to next year! Do you have favorite place to camp or a recommendation should I come through the area?
Have a great day!