Indian Trees Campground, Montana

July 2019 Trailer Trip

On July 26, 2019, we left Luby Bay Campground in Idaho. We made arrangements to meet one of our sons and his family near Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, so we headed in that direction. We traveled to Indian Trees Campground in Montana.

We made reservations for site 13 at Indian Trees Campground, but I am quite sure that reservations are never needed for this place. We arrived on a Friday, stayed two nights, and the campground never reached even a third of its capacity.

According to the campground signage, it is named Indian Trees because Native Americans came here and peeled the bark away from the trees to get to the soft edible bits. The annual harvest left the trees scarred. Wounds that were made between 1830 and 1890 may still be seen on some of the campground trees. Evidently, we had plenty of food in our fridge because we weren’t tempted to give the trees a try.

There is a small commercial hot spring near Indian Trees Campground. One afternoon we drove by it to see if we’d be interested in soaking, but it wasn’t tempting enough. After my ankle injury at the Pine Flats Hot Spring, I was done with hot springs for a while. However, they did have a very ingenious portable sprinkler that made us laugh.

On Saturday, we drove to Sula, Montana to buy new two-day Montana fishing licenses and then fished the Bitterroot River downstream from Sula. We were quite successful and had a lot of fun. We caught fish on red and green colored Euro Nymphs. The river was perfect for euro nymphing. It’s a river, but not too large, easy to cross as needed, and fun rapids that pour into reasonably deep pools. I’d love to return and fish it some more.

We enjoyed site 13 at Indian Trees Campground. The site was a pull-through that was plenty long enough for our 27-foot trailer and our truck. Also, there were trees between our site and the campground road, providing some privacy. However, the site itself was tiny, and the table and fire pit were very close to our trailer.

When we return to this campground, we’ll reserve, or hope to be lucky and acquire site 8. It is our favorite. It is a back-in site with a driveway that is at least 50 feet long. The site is all by itself at the end of the campground and has a large table and fire pit area.

On July 28, 2016, we left Indian Trees Campground and headed to Smith’s Trout Haven near Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.

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Lindbergh Lake, Montana

July 2019 Trailer Trip

On July 21st, 2019, we left O’Hara Bar Campground and headed for Tin Can Flats Campground. However, during this approximately four-hour trip, we discovered we needed to do some laundry, dump the trailer, and acquire Montana fishing licenses. While doing laundry, we determined to head to Holland Lake Campground to save time and settle us in before dark.

After arriving at Holland Lake, we found both loops full. We tried a local boondocking site, but it was full as well. We finally found a spot at Lindbergh Lake. Our site was a hundred feet from the lake, in a wooded and secluded campsite, and it was free.

We took our kayaks and float tube out on the north bay of this large lake. We tried fishing in the morning and then again near dusk. We had several bites each but didn’t catch a single fish.

The shoreline is densely wooded and makes for a beautiful lake. However, there are many cabins on the eastern shore, making the lake rather busy. This lake is popular for wakeboarding, skiing, and wave runners. These activities lead to a lot of wakes and a noisy environment.

On our last night there we walked to the northern shore and sat on the small boat ramp and watched a lightning storm roll over the lake. It was quite spectacular and made for an enjoyable evening.

On the morning of July 23rd, 2019, we left Lindbergh Lake and headed to Luby Bay Campground in Idaho. We made reservations for a site at Luby Bay, so we traveled with less anxiety and a willingness to see a few things along the way.

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O’Hara Bar Campground, Idaho

July 2019 Trailer Trip

On July 16th, 2019, we arrived at O’Hara Bar Campground in Idaho. The campground has three loops. The first loop is closer to the river and more open than the other two, the second loop is heavily forested, and the third loop is heavily forested and better suited for smaller trailers and tent camping. The campground is immediately south of the Selway River and is an amazing spot to camp; I’d love to go back!

The last turn to the campground is at the confluence of the Lochsa River and the Selway River where you turn east off of Highway 12 onto Selway Road. Both rivers are quite large, and the confluence area is gorgeous. There is an RV park right at this intersection where toys can be rented, lodging can be found, and snacks can be purchased.

When we arrived, there were only a few available non-reservable sites, and we chose site number 9. The main campground road is quite narrow with lots of brush and trees on both sides. What appeared to be an easy site to back into turned out to be a little tricky due to the lack of space to maneuver the truck. However, with a bit of effort, my amazing wife put our trailer in the right spot, leaving room for the truck in front of it. While we weren’t on the river, this was one of my favorite places we visited. While we were here, I had to run the generator to charge the batteries due to the dense foliage overhead that reduced the effectiveness of our solar panels. Our favorite site at this campground is site number 32. Site 32 is the first in the campground from the entrance and is a back-in site right on the river.

The campground reminded me of Oregon, with the thick underbrush, large ferns, and fresh berries growing everywhere. It was a pleasant place to relax in, walk around in, and fish the nearby Selway River. On one of our walks, I heard what sounded like a rolling dutch oven chasing us. When we turned to investigate, we saw a boxer puppy, about a year old, tied to a trailer sway bar chasing us down. That little sway bar didn’t stand a chance of holding back a sizeable playful puppy that wanted to see us and our dog, Leo. Glad it was friendly!

There is one unique and sort of annoying thing at this campground. The water system is fed by a large water tank that is filled from a well with an associated propane-powered pump. On the weekends when the campground is busy, the pump runs every day for several hours to fill the water tank. The shed housing the pump is south and east across the road and up a hill from site number 9 and is quite loud like an open framed RV generator. It is certainly tolerable, but if it gets to you, there are plenty of beautiful places to go for a couple of hours a day.

The Selway is a gorgeous river that I couldn’t pass up for fishing. I put on my waders and boots, and tolerated the pain they caused to my ankle injury for a few hours and caught five fish. I brought my son out to the place where I was fishing, and he caught what I think was his first fish using Euro Nymphing techniques. It was fun watching him find success. The river rocks in the Selway were very slippery. Wading was more like controlled slipping.

During our last full day, we traveled down the Canyon to Kooskia, Idaho to acquire groceries, so we didn’t have to shop on Sunday when we were moving to the next campsite. Kooskia is a small place, but the grocery store was quite sufficient for our needs.

On July 21st, 2019, we left O’Hara Bar Campground with the expectation of moving four and a half hours to Tin Can Flats Campground. We thought we would read from the Come Follow Me guide as we drove. However, the best-laid plans change. Our son informed us that he was out of clean clothes, so we had to figure out a laundry stop. We found a laundry mat in Lolo, Montana and spent a few hours there cleaning our clothes.

While we were at the laundry, our son got all excited about the nearby Subway sandwich shop. We decided to have lunch there. Earlier in the day, when we left camp, my wife told me there was one light on our black tank indicator, indicating that the tank was near empty and not needing to be dumped. However, there was really three light on, indicating the tank was two thirds full. We found a local dump station and spent another 45 minutes there.

While in Lolo, we came up with two possible destinations. The first was Holland Lake Campground that was only 1.5 hours away, and the other was our previous planned destination of Tin Can Flats Campground. We opted for Holland Lake. On our way, we passed through Missoula, Montana, and bought Montana fishing licenses. After arriving at Holland Lake, we found both loops full. We tried a local boondocking site, but it was full as well. We finally found a spot at Lindbergh Lake. We made every effort to keep the Sabbath day holy but ended up doing all sorts of things we didn’t have planned. The best-laid plans …

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3 States, 31 Nights, and 2131 Miles

July 2019 Trailer Trip

On July 11th, 2019 our family of three hitched up our trailer and took off on our “July” adventure. We traveled to 3 states, camped for 31 nights, and put 2131 miles of road behind us. My wife, our 13-year-old son, and I thought it was great.

We began our trip with the idea of reaching the Washington coast and traveling down through Washington and Oregon before returning home to Utah. However, while traveling, we changed our plans, traveled less each day, and enjoyed a few things closer to home.

We traveled through Idaho, Montana, and Utah. We learned a few things along the way:

  1. Southwest Idaho is much like Utah in terms of weather. In July it is hot and intolerable without air conditioning. Before heading north to a cooler climate, we broke out both generators to run the AC unit and cool the trailer.
  2. Campgrounds in Idaho and Montana were, in general, far better than those in Utah. In Idaho and Montana, the campgrounds were generally less expensive. In a few cases where they were the same price as those in Utah, the facilities were far superior. Where Utah campgrounds lack water but ask you to put out your fire, Idaho and Montana campgrounds not only had water but provided a bucket at the faucet to borrow.
  3. On this journey we traveled back and forth between Idaho and Montana several times. Each time we entered Idaho we were required to have our kayaks inspected for plants, animals, and water. We were asked where we last put them in the water and where we were headed. This became a sort of a joke. At one stop an older man, certainly not a gentleman, approached me on the passenger side of the vehicle. He barked through the window, “we are in Idaho where men drive.” Really, what year is it in Idaho?
  4. This spring we upgraded our solar capacity from a single 150 Watt panel to three 200 Watt panels and a new solar charge controller. On this trip, we routinely generated a kilowatt of power per day, eliminating the need to use a generator unless we needed the AC.

Our adventure was amazing and most importantly relaxing. We participated in fun activities, beautiful scenery, interesting history, and just plain old fun. The next several posts will describe each of the places we camped at and summarize the things we saw and did. While this adventure had to end, it just means the next one is a few days closer.