Friday, August 16
The right wheels of the PTV dip so far into the deep rut that it feels like we’re going to tip over. Branches scrape right under my open window. This can’t be the right road. The lady at the Rimrock Grocery wouldn’t have sent me down a road like this.
I park the PTV.
“I’ll be right back, pumpkins. I need to take a look at this road.”
I walk about a quarter-mile. Around a bend I come upon a man walking ahead of me.
“Hello? Excuse me,” I call out.
He doesn’t respond. I gain on him and call out again.
He turns around and waits for me to catch up.
After I explain why I’m walking on this road, he tells me he’s camped up ahead along the river. He’s a soft-spoken, kind-faced man, about my height, with a tendency to look at the ground when he smiles.
“Is the road okay up ahead?” I ask. “I parked my trailer back there so I could take a look at this road. I want to camp along the river.”
“If you came in that way,“ he replies, nodding toward where I walked, “you’ve already driven the worst of it. There are some nice camps along the river up that way,” he adds, pointing to one of the single-lane dirt roads intersecting the area .
I thank him and return to the PTV.
When I drive back, I meet the man again. He crosses the road to talk to me through the driver’s window.
“See that camper over there? That’s mine. I’ll show you some good campsites, if you want. We can go in my truck.”
“That’d be great! ” I pull up next to his Class C and get out.
I walk over to the man and extend my hand.
“My name is Sue.”
“Danny,” he replies, shaking my hand.
I take a few steps to the edge of Danny’s campsite. It sits several feet above the Tieton River.
“Wow! What a beautiful campsite! I have to take some pictures!”
In this light the river is a stunning shade of blue. The river races toward the campsite . . .
“Oh, no. Thanks, Danny, but I wouldn’t dream of crowding in on your camp. You have it too nice here to ruin with a neighbor!”
The crew waits in the PTV as Danny and I ride in his pick-up out to the forest road — the one I was supposed to take! It’s straight and wide.
A short spur to the right leads to three campsites on the river. A hand-lettered sign on a tree indicates a family gathering. One of the sites is occupied. People are milling about.
“No, this strip looks like a late-night party in the making. Too many people.”
We continue on.
Danny weaves us around potholes. “I know the campsite you want,” he says as we pass a few sites without stopping. He turns off the road onto a short lane.
I jump out of the truck and look around. Beautiful trees, a big, clear area, a level place for the BLT. “I like this! I trot down to the river. Danny follows.
“You’re right! This is perfect!”
On the way back to Danny’s camp, he tells me his wife is coming out later today. “She doesn’t like camping,” he adds resignedly.
I tell him I’d like to meet her. I thank him again for his help and say, “Come over to our camp any time!”
Tieton River Camp!
The Tieton at our campsite is a lovely, soft shade of blue-green.
On the 24th of August water from Rimrock Lake will be released for the agriculture needs downstream. Traditionally hundreds of campers, floaters. and kayakers come to the Tieton River starting the weekend of the release. Danny tells me this area remains busy for about three weeks after that.
It would be fun to watch the floaters and kayakers going down the Tieton.
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