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Campground – Trailer Travels

Riverside Campground, Idaho

On July 9, 2022, my wife and I left for Riverside Campground on the Henry’s Fork River. We’ve stayed in this campground but never before in site A16. This site is deep and wide enough to put the trailer at a significant angle blocking views from the campground road to our table and tent area. The only downside to this site is that the tall trees between the trailer and the river blocked enough sunlight to make solar useless. However, with our new batteries and inverter/charger, we have several days of energy and can charge the batteries quickly when depleted. We ran the air conditioning several times on this trip and then simply charged the batteries for a couple of hours at a convenient time. So despite the shade, the place was lovely, and we enjoyed our eight-night stay.

Some friends joined us for most of this trip. Together, we floated the Henry’s Fork River from the boat launch below Big Springs, at 44.497066, -111.271497, down to the highway 20 bridge. The float is simple and very slow. Relaxed paddling results in a two-hour float, while just floating might take three hours. We pulled our kayaks out at the bridge and had a nice lunch at Cafe Sabor, an excellent Mexican restaurant. While on the river, we saw a mother and baby moose standing on the bank. As we carefully approached, the two launched into the water just downstream. We quietly slipped by, hoping to avoid angering the mother. Unfortunately, we came within 20′ of the mother, and she became slightly irritated but remained where she was as we slipped downstream.

On two occasions, we traveled north from our campsite to Cliff and Wade Lakes in Montana. On the first trip, we launched our kayaks from the north shore of Cliff Lake, 44.793543, -111.557453, and paddled for a couple of hours down into a small cove near the southeast corner of the lake, 44.764693, -111.539338. This area has a small boat launch, a small dock, and several small motor boats. We had lunch on the shore and then paddled back to the north beach. The lake is quite clear and has a beautiful turquoise color where it is shallow over the white sand bottom.

On our second trip to Cliff Lake, we went to the Wilderness Edge Resort to see about renting one of those motor boats we saw the previous day. The owner, Mark, was very kind, showed us to the boats, gave us some brief instructions, and sent us on our way. We fished for four or five hours, had our lunch, swam a bit, and returned to settle our bill. Our five-hour jaunt cost us about $65. We didn’t catch any fish, but we had fun. We escaped the lake just in time to miss a significant thunderstorm – good timing.

We decided to fish the Madison River, near the Three Dollar Bridge, on the third trip to Montana. We got a late start and found ourselves at the river about noon. Others were leaving, claiming the fishing had slowed. We went down into the water and immediately caught two fish each. Then we spent several more hours not having any luck at all. We should arrive earlier and give up about noon. The river was much larger than I expected, but it was beautiful and fun to fish.

We spent eight nights at Riverside and never fished in Idaho; that’s funny. We had a great trip playing with friends, eating good food, enjoying lake and river fishing, and just being away. We look forward to fishing the Madison River again and floating a faster portion of the Henry’s Fork River.

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Chokecherry Campground, Utah

On May 12, 2022, we escaped the big city and drove billions of miles (15.4 to be exact) from home to site 33 at Chokecherry Campground in the Deer Creek State Park in Utah. We had things to do in the valley, so being close and able to come and go was perfect. This and many other sites at Chokecherry have full hookups, including water, sewer, and electricity. Site 33 had a 30 A circuit, but some of the sites have 50 A circuits. We never connected the electricity, but we used the water and sewer at the end of our stay to dump our tanks; that was very convenient.

This was the laziest camping trip we have ever taken. It was just the two of us; we didn’t even bring the dog. But, believe it or not, we went outside a few times and walked around the campground. However, we barely even cooked a meal at the campground; we ate at restaurants in Midway. So, I guess we didn’t actually go camping but instead moved our bedroom up the canyon a few miles; it was great!

We love staying in our trailer, and it was fun doing so while still being able to get stuff done we had to do. Chokecherry was a fine campground for what we wanted to accomplish. I suspect it gets busier when the weather and the lake are warmer, and lake-loving families are free for the summer. During May, the weather was moderate, and the campground was busy but quiet.

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Red Canyon Campground, Utah

On Friday, June 29, 2022, we departed for our first outing of 2022. We headed toward Red Canyon Campground, northwest of Bryce Canyon National Park on Highway 12. We weren’t sure whether the campground was open yet or not, so our backup plan was to boondock just east of the campground. Upon arrival at the campground, we were pleased to find it open and nearly empty. The camp hosts informed us that the campground opens each year on the last weekend of April. The campground costs $21 per night but has running water, pit toilets, flush toilets, showers, and a dump station.

We chose site 29 for our stay. The parking spot was reasonably level and approximately 50′ long. The area is shady in the morning until about 10 am and then sunny for the remainder of the day. The table is nestled in the trees and stays shadier longer into the afternoon. Other sites may be better for the hotter months of the year. We would also consider staying in campsites 22, 9, and 1 in that order.

Campsite 22 is up high against the canyon wall affording excellent views. It is very private from others and has a nearly 70′ long driveway. However, the site doesn’t have very good tent spots. Site 9 is a wide, almost double campsite that is very flat, private, and away from the highway. Site 1 is a lovely, large, flat drive-through spot, but the table and firepit are not very private at the end of the drive-through.

We came south to red rock country to do some hiking and enjoy the outdoors. After arriving on Friday afternoon, we hiked straight up from our site until we reached the Golden Wall Trail. After that, we hiked on the trail to the arrow on the map. It was getting late in the day, so we decided to take the Buckhorn Trail dead-end and then return to camp. It was a great little hike. The Buckhorn trail was the highlight of the day. A few areas of the trail are narrow but nothing too tricky with a bit of care.

On Saturday, we walked along the paved bike path running along Highway 12 to the Red Canyon Visitors Center. Then, we took the Golden Wall Trail up to the intersection of the Golden Wall Trail and the Castle Bridge Trail. We debated over which route we would take and even considered making it a loop, but in the end, we chose to take the Castle Bridge Trail.

Eventually, we rejoined the Golden Wall Trail and hiked back to our campsite. While it was an enjoyable hike, those who don’t want to or are unable to hike 5 miles won’t miss much by just doing what we did on Friday. The views on both hikes were phenomenal, and the April weather was nearly perfect.

It was great to get away for the weekend, relax, and go on great hikes. The Red Canyon Campground is excellent, and even though it is close to Highway 12, the noise isn’t too bad after dusk. We’ll very likely return to enjoy some more hiking, and for sure, we’ll ride bikes on the paved bike trail that goes for at least 8 miles and ends in the Bryce Canyon National Park. Can’t wait for the next outing.

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Jolly’s Ranch, Utah

On September 24, 2021, we spent two wonderful evenings with family at Jolly’s Ranch. The city of Springville, Utah, manages this campground. Most sites have electrical hookups for an additional $5 per night. Our campsite was on the north side of the campground road against the creek. The campground is heavily wooded, affording significant shade from the summer heat.

The good and bad of camping this close to home is that people come and go for various tasks and activities. We had children that left with grandchildren for soccer games, softball games, bicycle rides, etc. Camping close enables those with lots of other stuff going on to come, but they are away a significant amount of the time. We made the best of it and enjoyed it thoroughly.

This time of year was a stunning time to be in the canyon. We arrived on Friday and wished we were a week later to enjoy the fall colors more fully. However, over the next two days, we watched the colors emerge. By the time we left, the trees in the canyon were filled with red, orange, pink, and yellow leaves. The ground became covered with leaves of every color—what an excellent time to camp. The days were warm, the nights were fantastic, and the scenery was beautiful. I hope this becomes a family tradition. Thanks to our daughter for taking the initiative and setting this up.

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Riverside Campground, Idaho

On June 14, 2021, we traveled to one of our favorite campgrounds, Riverside in Idaho. This was our first outing of 2021 and is one of the latest starts to a camping season we have had. We’ve been to Riverside Campground many times. We had reservations for site A1 for 14 days and looked forward to a very relaxing stay. It isn’t our favorite site, but we wanted our family members and friends to have the nicer spots. It is such a lovely place, but the weather in July is a bit warm for not using the AC. It was a bit smoky at times due to the Oregon and California wildfires, but that didn’t hinder us from floating the river, fishing, etc.

Site A1 is across the campground road from the Henry’s Fork River, and site A2, a lovely site, is right across the road. The site has plenty of room. Loops A and B are paved in this campground, while loop C has gravel roads and parking spots. Loop C is a bit more primitive, and that’s intriguing, but the forest is a bit thinner, resulting in less privacy between sites. Just writing about the place makes me want to return.

While at Riverside, we spent a little time each day fishing. The fishing wasn’t great, but we had fun and enjoyed passing the time doing something we love to do together. Unfortunately, we were told the fishing at Henry’s Lake wasn’t any good this year, so yet again, we didn’t go. We’ll get there another day. During the first week of our stay, we had friends join us. During the second week, we had family join us. Both were so much fun to interact with; we look forward to doing it again.

On June 28th, we had to pack up and leave. We ate at Maddox Ranch House for dinner and headed home. Unfortunately, along our route, our right rear tire on the trailer had a blowout. We successfully pulled to the right on the freeway, a highway patrol officer helped us out, but the blowout caused significant cosmetic damage to the trailer. The damage will have to be fixed, but it won’t keep us from camping until it is.

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Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada

On October 15, 2020, we left for a three-night stay in Cathedral Gorge State Park near Panaca, Nevada. We chose this location primarily for the warm daytime temperatures and the clear skies forecasted for astrophotography. The park didn’t disappoint. The daytime temperatures reached 80 degrees, the early morning temperatures were close to 40 degrees, and the night skies were clear and reasonably dark.

We first populated site 16. This site is a nice pull-through that will easily support 35-40 foot long RVs. It is a beautiful site with several shade trees. It was the last appropriately sized site remaining when we arrived. However, no location near the site is suitable for viewing the night sky. The next day we moved to site 6. Site 6 is well distanced from other campers, has a great tent pad, offers great night sky views, but doesn’t have much shade.

All of the campground sites have electrical hookups offering 20, 30, and 50 Ampere circuits. There are also water spigots throughout the park. Like many state parks, there are bathrooms with flush toilets, sinks with running water, and showers. There is a paved bicycle trail that runs from Panaca to Cathedral Gorge State Park. It would be a fun place to bring bicycles and enjoy the ride.

We arrived around noon on the 15th, set up camp, and then went on a 4-mile loop hike. We started the loop an hour before sunset, hoping to catch dusk and wildlife it might bring. We didn’t see any wildlife, but the scenery was interesting and beautiful.

We also enjoyed investigating “the caves” that aren’t really caves at all. They are narrow slot canyons that aren’t very long but quite tall. It’s a little like a cave without a ceiling. There aren’t very many of them, but it’s a fun activity. There are also a few ruins left by the CCC built in the ’30s. They also left a wood and mud sunshade that is now used as a picnic area.

On Friday afternoon, we took a short road trip through Caliente, Nevada to Kershaw-Ryan State Park. We stopped for burgers, fries, and drinks in Caliente and took them to the state park for a picnic. This park is an amazingly beautiful oasis in the middle of a very stark desert. You can see how arid the background of this photo is, but luscious vegetation can be seen in the foreground.

This park was once someone’s farm, and they grew fruit trees and grapes. There is a natural spring that still runs today. While it was beautiful when we were there, I can only imagine the relief from the heat this place yields summer visitors. After lunch, we took a couple of very short hikes around this tiny state park.

After leaving Kershaw-Ryan State Park, we went to Panaca Spring. This is a warm, not hot, spring that is used today to irrigate the nearby farms. However, before it escapes the initial pool, it is a fun place to swim. The water is clear, allowing good views of the numerous small fish. This time of year, the spring is about 4′ deep and about 84 degrees. It is certainly not a soaking kind of hot spring, but it isn’t a cold swimming hole either. It was perfect for a warm and sunny day swim.

One evening, I set up the telescope to show my son and wife some of the planets. We were able to observe Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. Uranus was just a dot like the stars, Mars wasn’t as red as they expected, but Jupiter and especially Saturn were very pleasing to observe. We also looked at several galaxies and nebula. It is nice to see the beautiful things that God made for our enjoyment. Later that evening, I connected a camera, computer, and other electronics to enable some astrophotography. I enjoy the combination of the awe-inspiring creation and the technology that enables its capture.

Saturday evening, I captured three deep sky objects: NGC 7293 or the Eye of God, M 45 or Pleiades, and several objects surrounding the Horsehead nebula. These objects are 650, 444, and 1375 light-years from earth, but with modest equipment and some post-processing can be seen in all their glory.

Cathedral Gorge State Park was a fun and relaxing place to spend a few days in the fall. The temperatures were great, the hikes and scenery were awesome, the outings were fun, and the astrophotography was rewarding. There are certainly darker spots for astrophotography, but I think the images are evidence that it is dark enough.

We’ve been to this state park before, but we’ll probably go again. Young children would really like “the caves,” and we can’t resist taking grandchildren to places we think they’ll like. I can’t wait to see and hear them among the rocks and crevices of Cathedral Gorge State Park.

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Cherry Campground, Utah

On June 19, 2020, we traveled a very short distance to Cherry Campground near Springville, Utah. We occupied site 5 and enjoyed it for Friday and Saturday night, and most of Sunday. We were accompanied by our daughter, son-in-law, and their three young, and fun, boys. They occupied site 3, a double site, that gave their family plenty of room to play and enjoy the stream. It was a beautiful place to spend Father’s Day.

Hobble Creek, is very small at this point in the canyon. It’s perfect for children to wade, build dams, and even fish. My wife caught a few small fish, but due to the shallow water, the fish were very skittish and require a stealthy approach. Sites 3 and 7 have a nice beach sort of entry into the creek. The other sites along the creek are a bit more abrupt. Surprisingly, there were very few mosquitos or other insects. We set up a netted table covering expecting mass amounts of bugs this time of year and this close to a slow-moving stream, but it was entirely unnecessary.

We spent most of our time in site 3 with our family. Our site, site 5, fit our trailer nicely but was awkwardly close to site 6 with little underbrush or trees between the sites. Each time we walked out of our trailer, it felt like we were stepping into the neighbor’s camp.

If you’re looking to camp with others, the two best neighboring sites are sites 3 and 4. Site 3 has plenty of space for tents, games, or socializing and site 4 is a short distance away. If however, you’re looking for a single site, site 7 is a gem. Site 7 is the last site on the creek and there are no campsites to the west or on the door side of most RVs, just woods and the creek.

This is a very nice campground for being 15 minutes from a city. On the weekends the road is busy, but tolerable. We look forward to returning.

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Riverside Campground, Idaho

On June 10, 2020, we traveled to one of our favorite campgrounds, Riverside in Idaho. This was our first outing of 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we haven’t dared to leave the house and go camping. In addition, my new job has taken a lot of my attention and time. We’ve been to Riverside Campground many times. On this trip, we had reservations for site A3. It isn’t our favorite site, but at the time of our reservation, it was about the only site left. It was perfectly adequate, and we would stay in it again. It is such a lovely place and the weather was great. It was a bit windy at times, but while that impeded the fly fishing it also swept away the mosquitos.

Site A3 is across the campground road from the Henry’s Fork River, but there isn’t a campsite across or near A3 to block the beautiful views. The site has plenty of room and is very private. In this campground, loop A, and B are paved while loop C has gravel roads and parking spots. Loop C is a bit more primitive and that’s intriguing, but the forest is a bit thinner resulting in less privacy between sites. Just writing about the place makes me want to return.

On the first night of our stay, we got in quite late, having dealt with a flat tire on our trailer, and were invited to dinner at the cabin of our dear friends. We leveled the trailer in record time and joined them for dinner. That was a beautiful gesture and made our evening very nice. Having been isolated since mid-March, due to COVID-19, we ate, laughed, and talked until after midnight. On Saturday night we had dinner with the same couple at the Trout Hunter Lodge. The Trout Hunter entrees weren’t great, but the appetizers and desserts were very good.

While at Riverside we spent a little time each day fishing. The fishing wasn’t great, but we had fun and enjoyed passing time doing something we love to do together. All of us caught at least one fish. Due to the wind each day we didn’t make it to Henry’s Lake, but we’ll get that another day.

On June 14th the forecast was for 20 mph winds on our drive home. To get out before the wind we arose at 5 am and pulled out at 6:15. The wind was already blowing at 15 mph, but we were just ahead of the stronger winds. We dumped the trailer and arrived home at about noon. I can’t wait for our next journey.

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Indian Creek Campground, Utah

On August 30th, 2019, we gathered for a large family reunion at the Indian Creek Campground in Utah. This campground consists of seven large group sites. There is water, pit toilets, a tiny stream, quite a bit of shade from Aspen and other trees, a large fire pit, a couple of large tables, and a large dutch oven table. There are a lot of decent tent spots and ample parking for several RVs. The high altitude setting makes this campground reasonably comfortable even in the summer. During our stay, it was warm in the sun, nice in the shade and chilly in the evenings.

It is eleven miles of dirt road to get into this campground from either the north or the south. The road from the north is pretty good but so narrow in a few spots that one of our party had their trailer hit someone else’s trailer going on the road in the opposite direction. It took a lot of effort to get them by one another. Perhaps the road from the south is wider, but we don’t know.

During the weekend family members rode 4-wheelers, side-by-sides, and went fishing at nearby Potters Ponds. In addition, we participated in board games and outside tournaments. I spent a couple of late nights capturing starlight through my telescope that resulted in an image of the Western Veil Nebula.

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Riverside Campground, Idaho

On August 14th, immediately after work, we traveled to one of our favorite campgrounds, Riverside in Idaho. We’ve been here several times, but this time was unusual. First, for the first time, we didn’t have work at Brigham Young University – Idaho. Second, we stayed in site number two that we’ve wanted to try for some time. Finally, we camped with three couples we consider to be great friends.

On one of the days, my wife and I escaped upstream to do a little fishing. The Henry’s Fork River always produces some fish and captures you with the hope for the occasional big one. On this particular day, we caught a few, and while no huge fish were landed, I caught a decent one early on. These early catches sustain you on the river for quite some time, but eventually, we gave it up and returned to our friends.

On Thursday, August 15th, we planned a potluck sort of dinner. I had volunteered to acquire and cook ribs for everyone, so I brought our Traeger smoker along. The ribs cooked for roughly six hours and I thought they turned out fantastic. Regardless of the quality of the ribs, the cooking location couldn’t be beaten, outdoors with a great view of the Henry’s Fork River. I want to acquire a more portable smoker and do this more often. During the cook, I used up my 33 Ah battery, then my 20 Ah battery, and finally connected the inverter to our trailer. Our solar panels kept the trailer batteries fully charged while smoking.

On Friday, many of us floated down the river downstream from Big Springs to the bridge over the highway. After arriving at the bridge, several of us stayed to eat Mexican food. The next day several of us floated down the Henry’s Fork River from the Osborne Bridge to Riverside Campground. Both floats were rather slow, but fortunately, we were in kayaks and paddling sped us along. The very last stretch of the second float was faster and a lot of fun.

On August 18th, most of us returned home. The weekend with friends was terrific. I hope we’re able to go camping together again soon. I love camping, and it is even better with friends and family!

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