Day 1 - Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Leave Lewiston, Idaho @ 5:30 p.m.
Arrive Jerry Johnson Hot Springs CG @ 9:00 p.m.
Routes traveled: U. S. 12 (Northwest Passage Scenic Byway)
Rivers: Clearwater River, Lochsa River
Finally! This day couldn't be here soon enough. It was a short day for me and a full work day for Sam, but by 5:30 we were heading down the highway. Yee-haw! Just past the town of Kooskia the Clearwater River is designated as a wild and scenic river. The drive up this Byway along the Clearwater River is always a beautiful one; I can't take my eyes off the scenery, spending most of my time making mental notes of places to photograph...someday.
We made good time, with minimal traffic. Pulled into Wilderness Gateway CG to get a spot for the night and immediately heard music playing. As we neared the group picnic pavilion the music volume increased and we saw a sea of cowboy hats bobbing around under the massive ceiling. Houston, we have a hoe-down. :) Don't know what it is about seeing a bunch of cowboy hats spinning around on the dance floor but the sight always makes me smile. They were definitely having a grand time! For us, our journey down the road continued; none of the available camp spaces were long enough for the pick-up and trailer; our combined length of 50' often limits our camp site options.
A bit further down the road we found a campsite at Jerry Johnson Hot Springs. Other than one other trailer and a grazing doe, the place was almost abandoned. All the spurs were paved and the campground had the look of a recent improvement project, so getting the trailer leveled was a snap. Minutes later, when my head hit that pillow sleep came fast, much to my relief. Got a good nights sleep...except for the thunderclap at 2 o'clock that was so loud it shook me awake from a deep REM sleep. It shook me and the entire trailer, it was that loud; I'm sure it was right over our head.
Overnight campsite at Jerry Johnson Hot Springs CG, Idaho