August 13, 2008
Since the lake didn’t welcome swimmers, and it was quite hot, we opted to move on into the forest. The drive took much longer than we’d expected, largely due to our many stops along the way to take in sites: Canoe Camp, Ant & Yellowjacket, Heart of the Monster (the center of the Nez Perce universe), Coyote’s Fishing Net, and countless interpretive spots along the Nez Perce Trail. This trip is working out well without reservations for lodging/camping. We're able to keep our days flexible, stop at points of interest that grab our attention, hang out at fun spots before carrying on at our leisure.
And we stopped at Chief Joseph Bridge. Highway 12 runs along the Lochsa River through the Bitterroot Mountains. We stopped initially at a camp called Knife Edge. It was inviting in that the best campsite was shaded and large and literally a stone’s throw from the river edge. But the girls wanted to see what was ahead, so we pressed on after a picnic lunch there (and a short repair to the trailer door which was acting up since the previous owner stripped the screws that hold the striker plate in place on the door – silicone: the OTHER necessary tool).
We stopped in at historic Lochsa Ranger Station where the volunteer hosts were friendly, but not very knowledgeable about points upriver. I would like to have stayed longer to visit the entire facility, but the girls and I were all pretty tired, sniffling and coughing and hoping for camp sooner rather than later.
An hour later we found our way to Wendover Camp. This place is terrific. Our spot is about 100 yards from the Lochsa River. We can hear the river (a gently flowing, wide stream) flowing, but we can’t see it through the dense forest. A clear trail leads us to a wildflower-covered bank, then on to the river.
We met MORE friendly neighbors here. Gail and ?Scott? from Pasco, WA. She’s been coming here for half a century, and says this is the best of the campgrounds offered. (She didn’t mention any backcountry camping and there’s a LOT here.) The girls particularly enjoyed their Boxer dogs: Lucy and Miss Kitty.