Monday, July 20, 2015

North Fork Daily Log

Yesterday July 15th was set-up day. My Kalispell friends all had reservations at the Big Creek Camground outside of Glacier National Park on the North Fork of the Flathead River. Their reservations start on the 16th of July and extend through the night of the 22nd - departing on the 23rd. I decided to go up on the 15th since it was a Wednesday and the middle of the week in hopes of snagging a non-reservation site, thinking that weekend people may head up on Thursday, I hoped that maybe the campground would be more empty on a Wednesday. Not sure I will get pictures up on this right away as limited internet while traveling to pick up Millhoff on Monday is all I will have time for, if not I will add pictures later.

Day One - Wednesday - Arrival

I decided to save time and fuel to take the dirt road into the campground - it is about 12 miles after the pavement ends to the campground It was a huge mistake, there were times when I was in 1st gear going 5mph and still I felt like I was going to lose the trailer. The road was rough!! Anyway I arrived at the campground and made a quick circle and saw several open sites, decided to make another circle and see if my 1st choice site 11 was available. Sure enough, it was empty I quickly backed in and started to get set up. It took me a few minutes, I was hoping to stay left enough to be able to put my awning out and slowly jockeyed the trailer as close to a tree as I dared, unhitched and attempted to get the trailer level, however because I was so far off the pad to be able to get the awning out, I could not level the trailer, and lo and behold the awning still hit the tree on the other side. So I hitched back up and moved the trailer over to level ground and not as far back in the site to avoid the tree. Then it was time to get things squared away. By now it was almost 3 in the afternoon and the parade started with people driving through looking for empty sites..several people asked if I was leaving, nope just got here!

Unpacked the Camp Chef and table and all the other accessories and made camp. Got the truck bed cover back on and the storage container on the back of the trailer unpacked with the griddle and propane bottle for the Camp Chef. By now it was 4 in the afternoon and time for a beer. The Camp Host came by and I paid my money for 8 days - if Millhoff and I decide to stay longer than my friends we can do that. I had found out that Tim and Deb Adair had managed to reserve a spot for tonight and then have to move to their long reservation in the morning. So grabbed the camp chair and a beer and waited. In the meantime the wonderful camp host and his wife came by again in the golf cart and presented me with a container full of wonderful home made beef stew. Nice fresh vegetables and very good. So my dinner was provided. Such Nice people. Lo and Behold Tim and Deb pulled in about 7:30 or so and I walked down as they backed in to their spot for one evening, then enjoyed some cocktails and snacks until bed time.

I am writing this the following morning after a wonderful cool evening and restful sleep. Fresh coffee in the morning and now to wait for my good friend Jim Flinchbaugh to arrive this afternoon, that will be easy as his reserved site is directly across from for some breakfast.

Day Two - Thursday

Day two was pretty relaxing - nice quick breakfast and then helped Tim and Deb move into their new site. Borrowed a level and got my Camp Chef all ready to cook. Then back to the camper and made some hard boiled eggs and then deviled eggs for Happy Hour. I also filled my water tank again, it was getting low from all the dish washing and cooking. I mistakenly left the kitchen window open on the dusty ride up the road and all the dishes in the dish drainer were covered in dust and dirt. I also mixed up some stuffing and cleaned some Jalapeno peppers to grill for happy hour. Tim and Deb went floating and fishing a short trip from the Camas Bridge back down to camp. Had some strong cold winds and rain while they were gone Jim and Aleena arrived a little after two. Dropped the raft trailer at my site then got Jim backed in and unhitched and set up, then off loaded the raft frames and finished setting up camp I washed all the dishes from my cooking and then waited for happy hour. Lit the grill and put the peppers on when Tim and Deb got back, 45 minutes later we were enjoying happy hour with roasted stuffed Jalapenos and deviled eggs. It was fantastic. Then we threw some burgers on the grill and had dinner dodging light rain showers all day. Cooling down so getting ready to close up the camper and enjoy a little camp fire. Then to bed early.

Day Three - Friday

Morning coffee is so good! Cold again this morning...40 degrees outside. Next thing to fix on the camper is my propane heater..stove is having to do the trick with making coffee. Weather report calls for a high of 63 and rain showers so, my plan for today is more relaxing and maybe shuttle Jim and Aleena and Tim and Deb up to a put in spot. Hang out in the campground and take a few pictures...

Just saw Jim and Aleena out taking Clyde for a walk - and we both remarked that the damn global warming is affecting our vacation - damn it is cold! Love the new batteries in the camper - plugged the inverter in and can charge up the laptop and so far after three days the battery indicator is still on green the highest level. No generator needed to run this year. It is early morning and not sure what the plan for everybody is today - cool and rain so I know what my plans are - nothing...more later after the day - evening recap.

Today was a nice slow day - took care of a few maintenece issues before the MB - Millhoff arrives on Monday - fixed my water fill system and topped up the water, emptied the grey tank and also swept out the trailer and cleaned up a bit put some things away that got washed yesterday and made some room for Pat Nobody hit the river today - on and off showers all day and cool - damn cold this morning and only reached about 62 or so for a high. River water is cold and everyone decided it was a day for rest. I cooked up a batch of bacon for crumbling for more stuffed peppers and ground that up, ready to make more tomorrow. Steaks are cold smoking on the weber and we are going to cook and eat at Tim and Debs, they have company today so it will be a crowd.

Nice relaxing day....

Day Four - Saturday

Up early this morning, not as cold as yesterday but still only 45 degrees out there. Processed some pictures with my morning coffee, in hopes to get them uploaded and a blog post published on Monday when I go to town to get Millhoff. Have not been taking too many, but the pace will pick up when Pat and I start touring around the park. I have enough campground pics for a start and got a real good one of a wonderful little chipmunk who has been hanging around. Today I am gonna get the truck squared away to make room for cameras and Pat. I also need to stow my two toolboxes I keep in the trailer in the truck so Pat has foot room at the dining table. Sweep out the trailer again and general tidy up. Making peppers again for this evening and may make some macaroni salad. Sunday we have company coming up and it will be a busy day - the group is making ribs in the Dutch Ovens for dinner and that takes a long time, so want to get most everything I need to do, done today before Pat on Monday.

Not much going on today - the sun finally came out in the afternoon and the crew took the rafts out for a short float and fish...from Camas Creek back to the campground. Only about 8 miles. I finished all my chores and took a few pictures of the deer wandering through the campground and chased the chipmunk some more and cleaned and stuffed some peppers for the grill.

Time for a beer and get ready to put the peppers on....the crew arrived back all happy with some fish stories and finally a day of some sunshine and warmer temps. I showed 76 degrees, happy hour at my place the peppers were good as usual, although the wind played havoc with the Camp Chef, first time I ever had that problem, but I worked it out. After happy hour everyone returned to their respective camp sites to fix dinner...another beautiful day on the North Fork.

Day Five - Sunday

Morning coffee and plans for a busy day with company coming and dutch oven ribs to cook...should be a fun day! Cool again - 45 this morning, calm wind and clearer skies, forecast calls for 90 degrees. We shall see...

The day went exctly as planned - Jim's Mom and Dad and Brother Dave and daughter Megan arrived about 1:00 pm or so then ribs went in the cold smoker for an hour or so then the Dutch Ovens got cranked up and the ribs cooked for several hours and smelled wonderful. Tim and Deb went for a short float then Tim put his ribs on. Deb had us all down to their site for dinner. Jims Mom brought home made Pasta Salad and Deb made cole slaw and it was a meal to remember. The ribs were fantastic a few libations were consumed, world problems solved and then the fire got cranked up and the Smores came was a great day!

Day Six - Monday - Millhoff arrives.

Good morning coffee a quick sweep of the trailer to put a few things away...then I'll head to town and get this posted along with another. Pretty hard rain early this morning and some overcast skies. Pick up Millhoff at noon then hit the gas station and grocery store for a few items...then back to camp - group dinner tonight a shrimp boil - had it last year and it was fantastic - potatoes, corn, sausage and shrimp...then a campfire so Millhoff can meet everyone and learn how Montanans feel about the world issues. Should be fun!

More of an update later in the week when I can add some pictures and comments about them - for now only the running log.

More later...

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

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