Monday, November 3, 2014

A Long Winters Night - Sheltering in White Bird Idaho

The day has arrived.  The days of travel with little Lolita in tow are done for another season.  But that doesn't mean camping is done for the season..... Nope not at all.  Today is departure day for a new adventure.

Beautiful fall weather as we take off for the wilds of Idaho

Last year Lolita went to a covered storage unit for the winter.  I could go out and check on her but due to insurance requirements we were not able to stay so it was a long, long winter with day only adventures. 

Lolita, safe and sound during winter of 2013

  This year, we are anticipating  new winter camping adventures.

After watching the weather reports and coordinating with gal friends from Sisters on the Fly (an organization of adventurous women who camp together, many in vintage trailers) we took off for SwiftWater RV Park located in the wilds of Idaho along the Salmon River.

We traveled through this area last spring on our return from Utah and stayed at this wonderful RV park.  It was in full Spring bloom and a beauty to behold.

I  discovered that several of the gals from Sisters on the Fly wintered their trailers here and visited their trailers off and on during the winter when weather allowed.  I was up for a new adventure so it became our new Winter Plan.   Camping in the Northwest does require a different kind of camping than we do for our summer adventures so we have been preparing Lolita for this first of a kind (for us) adventure.

Swiftwater RV is nearly 200 miles away and several passes that have ice and snow during the worst of winter and I certainly don't want to be pulling Lolita up and down those grades during the winter so November 1 was our departure date to arrive before any snow flies.

Our trip down was literally clouded and shrouded with fog and significant rain most of the trip.  We traveled in a caravan of three and stopped several times and knew that if there was a problem we had company and support along the way.  We followed the rooster tails of rain flying up from the trailers and away we went. There were some eery moments where I watched their little trailers slip into the fog soup and rain, to later emerge out of the fog in front of me.  There were a few tense moments of hydroplaning but we took out time and arrived safe and sound at Lolita's new winter home. 


Swiftwater RV (At an elevation of 1380 feet) sits at the bottom of a canyon along the Salmon River with steep hillsides providing shelter to our new little nest along the river.  Due to the low elevation winters are generally mild with snow rarely staying for long on the rivers edge.   I will watch the weather reports and road condition cams on the passes and wait and watch for breaks in the weather for a winter getaway...... In the mean time I shall dream of stolen moments in Lolita.

Our first afternoon here was punctuated with rain, rain, rain.  I didn't even unhook from the truck nor put the jacks out.  Due to the poor weather conditions I didn't take any pictures except out wonderful gathering for a yummy dinner and campfire at the covered gazebo.

Our individual sites provide electricity to keep on the lights during the long, dark winter and warm our little trailers when we come for a visit.  The nearby bathhouse has water, restrooms, showers and laundry facilities. 

A campfire with friends make sense to me to take the chill off a fall campout.

The next morning we woke up to a dusting of snow on the mountain tops but we were protected down by the rivers edge.  During coffee the next morning, I watched deer traveling across the hillside across the river and a flock of turkeys called as I settled into our winter camp. 

 Taken from the other side of the river to see our new little home.

 Lolita tucked into the middle.  More vintage trailers are due to arrive later in the week. 

An opportunity to make new friends

Lolita got her rain hat on to keep her nice and dry through the winter.

A nice lunch and I was ready to begin the return trip home.

 The heavy rain clouds have lifted allowing sweeping vistas of the gorgeous landscape.

While driving the truck, I would never be able to enjoy the ride without frequent stops at viewpoints to take in the view and a few moments of reflection.

Each time I view the hills around White Bird, it's like I am seeing a new painting.  The colors and lights are different hence a different painting with a different viewpoint.  I believe I could never get tired of the variation of light and shadows dancing across the canvas.

The last view from the top of White Bird Summit (elevation 4245ft)

When I come in the future I will plan on staying a few days, relax and enjoy the scenery and all that the area has to offer near White Bird Idaho.

Looking forward exploring the area sights:   

  • Hiking to the Historic White Bird Battlefield
  • Driving the old Highway 95 up White Bird Hill
  • Taking a Jet Boat Trip up the Wild Snake River  
  • Learn more of the local history, 
  • Explore the Nez Perce Trail 
  • Search out the local hang outs in the nearby towns of White Bird, Riggins and McCall.  

I am may not be living as a Full Timer..... but I will continue to seek full time adventure
where ever I can find it! 

~Happy Trails~


  1. What a great idea for Lolita's and your winter. Hope lots of the sisters are there when you are. Lolita looks great in her rain hat and your closing pictures of the scenery are fantastic. Can't wait to visit there with you over the winter.

  2. Be sure and take a road trip over the bridge and up the hill..and down to the Snake River. I very nice day trip or stay at the campground.
    I've stayed with Anna and her husband many times over the years; and it is a very nice base camp.

  3. Good for you! That looks like a perfect place for a get-away.

  4. Sounds like a great way to get through winter. Happy Camping!

  5. The pictures of your return trip are fantastic all those rolling hills and mountains. Nice RV Park and what a neat idea to go and stay for a few days through winter.

  6. I so love that road and the old Whitebird grade. You got some gorgeous photos of the hills and the light. Wondering if you will need to winterize your little home when you are not there...even at that elevation I can imagine cold temperatures below freezing.

  7. You are in a beautiful part of Idaho -- Of course (In my opinion ) there are no ugly spots in Idaho. Having lived there for 45 years it is near and dear to my heart. I remember when there was only the "old road" to travel between Northern Idaho and Southern Idaho. While on the old Whitebird Hill you might stop and look for Teasel - a weed that grows abundantly there - It makes a pretty flower arrangement and it is Free for the picking... If you're around my age you might remember the song Hot Rod Lincoln by Charlie Ryan . He wrote it while traveling between Lewiston and Moscow. Enjoy the area -- I will be waiting for photos!!

  8. Looks wonderful. Gorgeous scenery. I'm wondering - where did you get Lolita's rain hat?Thanks.

  9. I ordered it on line after googling clear reinforced tarp. It does take 2 people to get it on but it only takes about 15 minutes to get it attached.

  10. Sue, I plan on doing a future blog on songwriting tips that keep us toasty.