Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day: Camping in a Grizzly Habitat

Hello!  I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend!  Its my favorite non-religious holiday - I love celebrating this beautiful country that I am fortunate to live in.

This year we celebrated with a VERY rustic camping trip in northern Idaho - yes, even further north than we live now! ;)

We drove up to Priest Lake hoping to catch a first come, first-served campsite on the lake (i.e., "camping light" because you can get running water/restroom access, but really, my style of camping.). All the brochures promote Priest Lake as "the crown jewel of Idaho" so I figured it was time to see for ourselves.

Turns out, they were right - it IS beautiful!
Every campground that we passed on the lake was totally full!  I was shocked.  D remarked about how funny it is that we now live in a state where everyone camps.  Very different from the East Coast!

We headed north up Plowboy Mountain towards a "dispersed camping" spot that D had stumbled upon while hunting last fall.

On the way up the mountain, D tells me that we should "manage our expectations" which really turned out to be code for "be prepared to live like a pioneer for the next few days." =)

After a 6 mile bumpy drive up a dirt Forest Service road, we arrived here:

There were a lot of good spots to set up our tent, and it also had a fire ring and a lot of wood already chopped and ready for our camp fire. 
He just loved playing in the tent!
 And it was about as quiet and peaceful as you can get!  It was a very nice spot and we all had a lot of fun there.  It was definitely off the grid, so my husband was thrilled, but I laid awake all night long trying to devise our escape plans in the event of an emergency (i.e., bear attack)!
Bear locker provided so the bear will only eat you, and not your food.

We toasted our nation's independence by exploring the mountain, roasting hot dogs over the fire for lunch and dining on a gourmet venison dinner. 
Grass-fed, lean, and all organic too!

We didn't see any big game, mostly because M & I did our best to scare them away with our normal noise level, much to D's disappointment.  Although two cars drove by our camp site and stopped to tell us that there was "fresh bear scat" just around the curve from us, and asked if we had seen any bears.  Yikes! #toocloseforcomfort

 M loved exploring and playing in the woods and we all got a chance to get some fresh mountain air.  It was a beautiful weekend, but we were thankful to get home to our showers, a/c and cozy beds. =) 
Icy cold stream won't bother this guy!
 After we came back down the mountain, we did one short hike along the lake shore.  It was really beautiful, M splashed in the water and we found another awesome beach camping spot.  Hope we can get back to claim that one next time!
Awesome little beach on the west side of Priest Lake
 It was definitely an adventure, we'll be back to do some more exploring of this pristine area!

Anyone ever been to Priest Lake?  Seen a bear?

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