I know this is silly . . .
Right before I drive us out of Delmoe Lake Campground this morning, I take one last look at our campsite and the lake beyond.
What a wonderful camp. So cool and peaceful. The family of ducks. The morning mist after the rainy night. The crew sure did have fun roaming free . . . I have a lump in my throat as I turn the key. How silly . . . becoming attached to a campsite!
I much prefer going downhill than up.
For days now I wrestled with the decision whether to go to Seeley Lake, Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park. Something held me back. I finally figured out why I hesitated to go to these places, other than my obvious need to avoid lots of people.
Once again, like last summer, I’m pulled westward!
We could run up I-90 to Coeur d’Alene and the Kootenai. Maybe keep going to the Columbia River . . . and there’s Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Ranier. It must be beautiful around there. Gee, we could go all the way to Olympic National Park!
The crew knows when we’re on the road for a long drive.
On the other side of Missoula, I have my first look at Clark Fork River. What a grand river! She’s wide and slow-moving along this stretch, her banks gentle and green. I try to keep my eyes on the road rather than on her lazy curves clinging to the highway for several miles.
Then I see something I’ll always remember as quintessential Montana.
Against a forested mountain backdrop, a doe fords Clark Fork River. Two fawns follow. They are mid-stream, water almost up to the fawns’ bellies. Calmly their mother leads; obediently they follow, one behind the other. How I would love to take a picture of that!
But, as is the nature of interstate driving, the scene appears and disappears in a flash and there’s no safe way to stop.
My plan is to stop at Quartz Flat.
It’s a National Forest campground situated next to Interstate 90 about eleven miles before the town of Superior. I don’t expect much. I figure it’s a place to overnight.
As much as I’d love to camp along Clark Fork River, the land is private all along this route. From my point of view, that’s a crying shame because the boondocks would be absolutely incredible. Anyway . . .
We pull into Quartz Flat.
It’s located behind a rest stop. I know, weird. Like I say, I don’t expect much, so I appreciate the fee being $10 regular/$5 with senior pass. This is a great bargain because the campground has a dump station as well as nice, new spigots of fresh drinking water for my empty, one-gallon jugs and a fresh water hose for the tank.
I drive through the two campground loops.
Hey, this isn’t bad! Not bad at all. Tall pine trees provide shade with understory to separate the paved campsites. Sure, there’s some road noise from the highway, but I can live with that.
I find a shady, perfectly level site and back in.
Immediately I set up the crew’s pen next to the BLT. Bridget and Spike seem to prefer lying on shaded blacktop when it’s hot. Go figure. So that’s where I sit, too.
How spoiled we were with the cool, mountain air of Delmoe Lake!
Take a look at the crew in the photo below. Here’s Spike — happy to be alive. And here’s Bridget — pissed off because she can’t run around free like at our last camp.
Tables and toilet buildings are in excellent condition. The campground is barely one-fourth full at 7 p.m. this August day.
It may be a longer hike than we can manage. Spike had some car sickness today (vomited up his breakfast). He’s sluggish in this heat. Well, we all are!
Tomorrow we’ll push further west.
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