Saturday November 15: Today is a scouting-for-camping day. We had hoped to take a road trip to Oregon this month, but since that is not happening, we decide to scout around for possible winter Pony (our pop-up) camping closer to home. We drive to Kingston – about 20 miles from Wallace where we live – and then north on the Coeur d Alene River Road, turning northwest on the Little North Fork Road which runs along the North Fork of the Coeur d Alene River.
We know that the Bumble Bee campground is closed, but we had camped in the meadows along the river this summer and have hopes that the meadows are still open. However, they have been closed off, so we continue along the gravel road and find several places where a person can pull off and camp. My favorite is a spot right by the river. Due to the chilly day – temps in the teens – there is still frost on the river banks even at mid-day, which is quite delightful for a photographer, especially along with the gorgeous blue sky that we don’t often see here.
Now, there are some drawbacks to winter camping in northern Idaho. It is already cold, there could be a lot of snow, which would make it hard to get in and out of the area, and it is dark by 5:00 although more than a month until the solstice; afternoons outdoors are very short. So, why bother to go at all given the cold, snow, dark days of winter. It is hard to explain, but there is something REAL about being on the river bank surrounded by trees and sky – no pavement, no power lines, only the sounds of the river and perhaps a few winter birds.