My Own Private Idaho / Montana

In case you’re wondering about the headline, I’m tired of always being two states behind in my posts hence the combo.

We arrived in Idaho hoping to start the serious fishing portion of the trip but alas the rivers were still too high so we headed to Ketchum for some fun.  I’d heard a lot of great things about the Sun Valley area over the years and I was not disappointed.  Due to a huge bike race in town there was no availability at the only RV park so we stayed in Hailey, a delightful town just a few miles south. We had a stupendous dinner at Three Ten Main Restaurant and then explored the stunning Sawtooth Mountain Range the next day.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell – Sawtooths

Not wanting to give up on staying in Ketchum we decided to scout boondocking possibilities.  We had dry camped (no hookups) in various campgrounds but we had never just driven down a dirt forest service road and found a spot to pull over.  We scouted the area first and found the perfect place.  It was only 5 miles north of Sun Valley off Trail Creek road, had a view to die for and it cost zilch!  But would it still be there in the morning with all these people streaming into town for the weekend?  Taking the chance we hooked up the airstream and set off from Hailey as early as possible and sure enough nobody else had discovered it.  We set up our camp with not a soul in sight… no other tents, trailers, RV’s or people.  It was heaven on earth and a river ran through it!

See that tiny silver spec in the middle of the picture?  That’s us!

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

We met our nearest neighbors from a mile or so away, Bodie and Alli, two gorgeous Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and fellow airstreamers who are living off the grid full time.  I invited them over for cocktails and hor d’oeuvres along with their delightful humans.   We traded tips about our rigs and told tales of our travels as the sun set over the valley.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

Finally after a few days and the first trout catch of the trip we reluctantly left this heavenly spot and headed north to Stanley in the Sawtooths.  This is a must see area with tons of camping, fishing and whitewater rafting right along the Salmon River.

We had a fun dinner on the roof deck at The Bridge Street Grill and then headed north along the Salmon River to Montana.

It was time to get serious about fishing.  We went straight to The Big Hole River near Wisdom, MT but alas the water was still too high.

Getting a tip from a local we moved up to the famous Rock Creek near Missoula .  To my loyal readers… I apologize for what’s to come.  It’s going to be a real fishing report, sorry!

Now they say not to bring a trailer or an RV down Rock Creek Road, there are signs everywhere warning you.  But do you think that stopped me?  We came in from the north off the I 90.  The road is paved for a short while but very narrow.  IF you met another vehicle somebody might have to back up if there wasn’t a turn out nearby.  Our destination was Norton campground, at the end of the paved section.  It was reviewed on parkcamper.com as the only spot for RV’S.  WRONG!  When we got there it was tent camping only.  Now what?  We were 9 miles in and I wasn’t about to give up.  As we headed further south the road turned to gravel and then to dirt and became a little rough and rutted.  But I knew the silver bubble could handle it.  We came to the turnoff for the next campground, Grizzly, but it was a mile down yet another dirt road and we didn’t dare go in unscouted.  Could we turn around if needed?  Beauty and the Beast (trailer and truck) combined are about 45 feet long. I sent one of my humans to check it out on foot, he came back to report that a fellow fisherman was kind enough to tell us about a place 4 miles down that would work, Dalles Campground.  But would the road get worse?  I said let’s go for it and so we did.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell – Rock Creek, MT

At the 14-mile marker we came to a suspension bridge across the river, a sign told us we had only a ½ mile to go.  We continued on, the ruts grew a little larger but were still manageable.  Finally we pulled into Dalles Campground and it was perfect, right along the river’s edge.  We found a large enough spot that took some maneuvering to get into and proceeded to set up camp.  It was glorious and I met another buddy, Marley and his very interesting humans from Syracuse, NY as well as some other wonderful folks from Helena and Missoula.  One of them made me his special rock creek fly which worked perfectly!  I would post a picture but I traded it for some Canadian flies (it’s little, black with some elk hair and a hint of red).  I caught cutthroat, Brook and Rainbows.  The dry spell was over… the real fly fishing had finally begun!

© 2011 Richard Broadwell – Cutthroat Trout

The last day we drove south in the truck to check it out.  Just south of our Dalles Campground the road turns into a super highway.  Though still dirt it was graded with no ruts and pretty wide.  I think those 4 miles of bumps were dug on purpose to keep the non-locals out. We investigated Harry’s Flat Campground at the 17-mile marker.  Some of the sites were right along the river and we could have easily fit in many.  We continued on to mile marker 23 to see the Bitterroot Flat campground, also very accessible. We were told that eventually there are switchbacks that prohibit RV’s from going any further even though the road continues on to Philipsburg, but I’m here to report that with just a little determination you can at least make it south to Bitterroot Flat.

From here we went to the Yaak River Campground outside of Troy MT and met Kie from Canada (a huge handsome yellow lab) along with his very nice humans who gave us lots of fishing tips and flies for when we get to Canada (that’s where the Rock Creek special fly went).

© 2011 Richard Broadwell – Yaak River, MT

As a matter of fact we are currently staying in their hometown of Fernie, British Columbia.  From Troy it was on to Glacier National Park, which is absolutely stunning.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell – Glacier National Park

We went hiking and loved the scenery along the famous Going to the Sun Road.  We stayed at the wooded Glacier Campground in West Glacier where they had a wonderful outdoor Grill with great food and atmosphere, I highly recommend it.  There we met some more fantastic Canadians who were missing their kitty cats so they they gave me LOTS of love.

The Many Glacier Hotel was spectacular and I got to swim in all the lakes I could find.  You know me, the colder the better!

© 2011 Richard Broadwell – Many Glacier Hotel

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

From there we decided to come out of the woods and find some civilization so we went to Flathead Lake.  It was full-out summer mode there; boats, bikinis, and booze.

That’s me loving the lakes!

We had a fabulous time at Margarita Monday at the Raven Restaurant in Woods Bay.  So much fun in fact the next day we made a run for the border.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

Coming up next:  OH! Canada!

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7 Responses to My Own Private Idaho / Montana

  1. rod says:

    Boo and gracie are soooo juealous:):)

    Like

  2. rod says:

    typo!!! jealous…ouch…it’s those damn paws and nails gettng in the way

    Like

  3. Marie Turley says:

    What an adventure! I’m loving your blog GInger. Tell your humans that the pictures make me feel like I’m right there. Thanks for sharing. The Many Glacier Hotel looks like a heavenly place (I finally picked my jaw up off the floor after being stunned by the beauty). Looking forward to the next blog.

    Love,

    Marie

    Like

  4. Kathy says:

    Oh Ginger,
    It’s quite the life. Beautiful pics. Please tell your female human we miss her.
    Kathy and the sweaty staff in the Palm Desert, Ca.

    Like

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