Monday, May 9, 2016

Car Glamping (My Way)

Car camping by the Imnaha River. The only time I have a campfire.
When I hear the term "car camping", I shudder. The picture it brings up is a bunch of folks sitting around in a campground, trying to pretend that strangers aren't a few feet away, large white man campfires, music playing, bright lanterns, and possibly an errant frisbee golf disc going through your campsite. Communal toilets, or just one toilet with a line of people standing in wait. No, just no.

This weekend we decided to car camp, but differently than this. We drove to the Lower Imnaha, which is a ten mile road winding by the river, with what we call in the biz "dispersed campsites." (Basically, you just go park it, with no amenities.) There are a few rustic campgrounds too, but most aren't open. In that entire corridor, we saw three other groups of people, and nobody close to us. We drove down to a site by the river and decided it would be perfect for us.

The previous (fall) occupants had left us a gift--a portable toilet. Don't do this. Just don't.

"Glamping": Table and chairs!
We decided to split up. J wanted to explore the rock rims and I was unsure, because adventures with him often should be titled, Darn It, I Should Have Worn Pants. I wanted to hike on a trail and go as far as I could. So I dropped him off at his starting point. "In case you get mauled by a bear, leave the keys in the box in the back of the truck," he said. This wasn't all that funny, because the last time I had hiked the Imnaha River Trail, I had been scared off by a huge bear. But I was determined to not let bearanoia defeat me. I marched up the trail at a fast pace.



This trail is well known for its blowdown, but it was surprisingly clear. I reached the Blue Hole, a summer swimming hole, in record time, and continued farther up the trail to get some views. Only when I started battling the brush and pictured a rain of ticks did I decide to turn around, thinking, Darn it, I should have worn pants!



J came back to camp with tales of having discovered a lake. A lake! I was envious. The next morning we decided to explore a little more of the rock rims, and stumbled upon a trail mystery. It was an old trail sign pointing to the river, but neither of us had ever known of a trail there. We wandered around, finding some blazes, but the trail is lost to the mists of time. There's rarely anything more intriguing to me than long lost trails. We will have to come back.

This tin was by the signpost. These knives were offered in the early 1970s.

Hard to read, but it says "Imnaha River."

Wandering the rock rims.


21 comments:

  1. Like! Seems as if you both found what you wanted from the camping trip....separately and together. Finding remnants of the past is intriguing and you seem to find them throughout your area.

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    1. Yep, lots of history in these mountains.

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  2. I used to be against car camping and have all the same complaints you highlighted. But, we've done a lot more of it in the past few years and have discovered some real gems along the way ... like our most recent trip car camping at El Malpais National Monument and the BLM car campground with primitive sites that was free and had covered picnic tables! Looks like you were in a beautiful area - really nice selfie too!

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    1. You can still find some of those great spots, I always feel happy to discover them.

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  3. I car camp sometimes. The experience varies from campsite to campsite, although, ironically, the best campsites (from my POV) tend to be the least expensive ones. Back when my kids were kids it was a good way to get them out into the woods. Nowadays I don't car camp in order to car camp; I car camp in order to do day hikes which are too far away to do a day trip. I've done several peakbagging trips where I car camp at some central location and spend a long weekend driving around northern Vermont (say) bagging peaks.

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    1. Just so you can keep track of who's who: I think I usually comment here as Cumulus.

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    2. Hi Cumulus, that's why I car camp yoo, to explore, I love the idea of sitting around at camp but in reality I get tired of it pretty fast.

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  4. Although I've car camped in some very nice places, I agree most of the time these campsites attract what I refer to as the "great white campers," people who just want to party and be loud and obnoxious.

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    1. Even at Bright Angel, down in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, there aren't partiers, but just a concentration of people that's hard to deal with.

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  5. Dispersed camping provides an excellent option and by far my preferred solution. I only use campgrounds in places like National Parks where there are no nearby dispersed options. I'm still working on a name for my type of car camping, sleeping and living out of my car. Suggestions?

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    1. Homeless? Just kidding! There has to be a good name for that.

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  6. When our daughters were small and we camped almost every weekend and vacation, in a small truck camper, we always sought out state and national forest campgrounds....usually on small lakes, lakeshores or rivers....quiet, often unoccupied. We did notice a change, though, after a few years. More generators, parties and unsupervised dogs and children 0n ATVs. A drop-off in rustic camping, though, has returned some to preferred places!

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  7. A lot of the campgrounds in this area have tent-only areas where you have to carry your stuff in from a central parking log up to a quarter of a mile away. It's really nice because it weeds out certain types of campers and of course, has no RVs with generators. :)

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    1. I love those campgrounds. I will make an exception for them. Oregon coast has those too.

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    2. Loved the walk-in sites we found in the North Cascades and along the Washington coast. There are two at a National Forest campground near here on a small lake, and I hope to score one in August (they are first-come).

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  8. I remember years back, with my Eagle station wagon, I used to travel the 137 mile Denali highway from Cantwell to Paxton. This road was so primitive, you could only travel 30 mph or less, most less. It is one of the most beautiful roads to travel, lots of good fishing and hiking spots. Lots of wildlife. I will take a trip again this Summer and do a post on it.

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    1. Nice, I am looking forward to reading that post!

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  10. I'm a Glamper, and usually use State Parks because of the amenities. You can guarantee if your music is going past 10:00 or posted quiet time I will be making a visit to the Campground Host's campsite in a matter of minutes. I try not to stay around the campsites during the day. Too much to see and do outside of campgrounds. Yes, our campsite has the tent lights and solar lights that light our path like a landing strip. Our solar lights don't last very long before they run out of juice. Our tent lights are only use to get dressed and read. Which isn't very long because they are battery operated and we usually crash quick. We only use our lantern long enough to play a game of cards or Sequence. Growing up though we camped a lot in primitive campsites in a tent, later in a truck bed & canopy, and then in a truck & camper. I love tent camping now with the kids especially. Any camping trip with them is a bonus in my book. . P.S. I love your table cloth. Great pics too

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  11. I just completed three weeks of car camping in my Tacoma. But it was sub-Arctic car camping which means that you get your pick of quiet, private camping spots. Last night I slept by a little roadside lake, complete with swan. Then when I was driving into the more populous area of the region I was stunned at the sheer numbers of RVs parked everywhere with ATVs zipping all around. So they put their tiny cars into their huge RVs and spend all weekend lounging around their small houses on wheels and driving tiny cars around, all in close proximity to thousands of other people. And this is in Alaska where there's no reason for being near anyone else unless you want to. I will never understand it. And it just reinforced why I never, ever venture out on three-day-weekends.

    Oh, and I got home - and your book had arrived in the mail! Wahoo, I'm so excited to read it.

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