Setting off again from Rawlins, WY was nearly as adventurous as our landing there just a few days earlier. Our arrival involved a perceived no turning back road, a large mud puddle, and a driver thinking he could flip a U-turn successfully. Why not?
Tucker sank into the mud, taking the hitched Jeep with him. Driver, now turned mud-pit-guy, waded in the mud pit to unhitch and rescue the Jeep. By then a nice young man with a beefy truck happened by and offered to pull us out. Good for us. Just then the now muddy feet driver guy hopped back in and gently encouraged Tucker to wade out of the mud pit; Tucker made little progress. Our friendly truck guy successfully pulled us forward enough for Tucker to drive out of the mud pit. Off we both drove (separately), tires spitting mud everywhere.
Knowing how we arrived in Rawlins is background to understand how our departure also hit a snag. Not sure which one makes for a better story. I’ll let you decide. Keep in mind we’ve had little mechanical or systems failures since we left home. I guess it was time. Everything is ready to go and we hitched up, waved goodbye, and drove down the road. Lurch, lurch, lurch. The Jeep’s tow bar isn’t locking into place. We drove back to home base and Steve surmised there was debris from the mud pit dried and crusty inside. After some cleaning out work, equivalent effort to a root canal, Jeep was rehitched and ready. We skitdattled a 2nd time and drove down the road. Clunk, drag, grind. Now what? Quickly surmised the hitched itself broke and we left a nice long trench in the asphalt. Pretty impressive leaving our mark on HWY 287 that way; wish I had a picture but also glad I don’t.
Now we head over to the shop where Steve’s awesome brother, Mike, has welding equipment so he and Steve can fix the beast. 2nd time is a charm in this story. Completing a solid weld job was successful. After the Jeep is re-hitched for the 3rd time today and a brief street drive proved the Jeep was keeping pace with Tucker, we headed westward on HWY80.
New Fork BLM Campground
Fairly remote off HWY 351 is a small BLM area with a few sites. Called New Fork campground and is a BLM fishing access. Chosen as a good mid point as we head towards Idaho Falls. On North side of HWY 351 there’s a parking lot with picnic tables and a boat launch. Just beyond the main section the road continues up the small hill to 3 more sites with existing fire pits. We chose the furthest from the road site. Waters edge is a few steps away and bugs were tolerable with the slight breeze. We chose to eat dinner inside and not share.
Somewhat quiet night #2
Our 2nd night we traveled into Wolf Creek Recreation area on Burns creek as it drops into the snake river.
After 4 private campgrounds, an NFS campground and Heise Hot Springs there are numerous dispersed campsites, a boat launch, and two large multi-site areas with pit toilets. We located a somewhat viable option tucked just slightly off the road and opposite the rivers edge. Very few sites are on the water where you can view the creek and most are close to the road. Not a place we’d chose again. There was trash laying about including a nearby shrub cave human “toilet” area with wads of TP still laying about…suppose they were never taught to bury it all. Disappointed to say the least but it was just for one night. I might have been inclined to spend a day in this area with a hike and the hot springs but decided to stick with the plan and bail in the AM.
Continuing the drive northward
After a supply and shopping day near Idaho falls our drive was uneventful yet golden. We also clobbered hundreds of squishy bugs.
3rd river night
Catching on to the theme? Big Hole river and Glen Twin Bridges was our 3rd night. There are two areas back here. We arrived late for dinner so just stopped in the first area and picked a spot. The greeter was a nice golden lab wanting a ball tossing buddy.
Nice enough site for an overnighted and it was very easy to find off of the frontage road, HWY 91. Our GPS had us going a long way but google maps got us there.
4th night and change of plans
Slowing down is part of the plan and this week we took that to heart. 5 PM rolled around as we were driving along Flathead Lake and had approximately 2 more hours to start the campsite hunt. The driver finally came to his senses which are congested and not helping much. It’s time to break for dinner, navigate to town and start the hunt mid day Sunday instead. Drove into Kalispell’s local Walmart for the night. After venturing in for cold and congestion relief we settled in for the night.
Where to next
Camping and home base for exploring Glacier National Park is the only goal for tomorrow. I’m excited to check out the areas I’ve researched. We made it an easy, late morning Walmart departure to start the hunt!