St. Joe River 2004

Diary of Linda and my trip to St Joe River, ID July 2004 with Scarlet & Joe Willingham

7/2/4 Left St. Regis at 8:00 a.m. and drove 30 miles for one hour on windy gravel road to the St. Joe River area to Conrad's Crossing Campground where we met Joe and Scarlet. Within an hour one of three sites right on the river opened up next to Joe and we grabbed it. It’s a large beautiful wooded site right on the river. The campground has no hookups at all, just a pit toilet and a hand water pump which produces ice cold pure tasting water. We rested this day listening to the rain on our 5th wheel roof while getting a long afternoon nap.

7/3/04 After breakfast we drove 12 miles along the St. Joe River on a one lane curvy road to Spruce Tree NFS Campground. The scenery was breathtaking. We let Meggie run off leash in a meadow filled with spectacular mountain wild flowers. On the way back we stopped at a trail head and walked up it approximately 1.5 miles one way with Meggie off leash. Meggie saw a deer and got very excited, but I had the electric trainer on her and was able to get her to return. We had intermittent showers and rain all day and very cool mid 60’s weather.

7/4/04 Yet more clouds and rain. Cranked up the generator to charge the computer, camera, and palm pilot. Made pot roast in the pressure cooker to feed us and the Willinghams. Every night we had an evening camp fire at Joe Scarlet’s adjacent site. Joe harvested a small dead tree with his chain saw. He really enjoys downing the trees and playing lumber jack. There is no shortage of fire wood in this area of the country. The only restriction is that the tree be dead and at least 500’ from any body of water. Joe prides himself in finding and cutting only prime dry fire wood. We almost died laughing at a local Idaho camper who had cut some not so dry wood and was making an incredible smoky camp fire. We enjoyed Joe and Scarlet’s company allot these 5 days at the St. Joe. They have a strong love for nature and especially in the Idaho area. Joe is a very entertaining story teller and conversationalist. He occasionally does get off on a far right agenda which stimulates response from those not quite so far to the right.

7/5/04 Made sour dough pancakes with huckleberries by Scarlet added near the end of grilling. They where very delicious and enjoyed by all. Linda & Scarlet drove me down stream to Bluff Creek where Scarlet helped me carry my 12’ raft down a steep rocky bank into the St. Joe River. I rafted 5 miles down stream to Eagle Creek where I put out. The water was mostly class 2 with a few class 3 rapids. A very beautiful run on crystal clear fast moving water perhaps at 6 mph. After rafting Linda and I walked Meghan off leash up a NFS road along Eagle Creek about 1.5 miles one way. It was an unbelievable beautiful scenic walk with only 1 car going by in 1.5 hour. I used the electric trainer on Meghan just in case we encountered a deer or bear so I could get her back to me in a hurry. Its so much fun to watch Meghan running out there tracking the scents of those wild animals.

7/6/04 Did another drive up to Spruce Tree with Joe & Scarlet. Saw at least 6 deer running on the road this trip. We also had to pull over 4 or 5 times to let other vehicles pass on this mostly single lane mountain road. We had a nice time observing the wilderness and off course let Meggie run in the green flowered wilderness meadows again. On the way back they dropped me off at the Meadows and I rafted about 3 miles back to Conrad's Crossing. It was a fun run with a couple of class 3 rapids, but the run had too many rocks to drag on so I will cancel my plans to float the entire 16 mile upstream section I had planned on.

7/7/04 We had enough of rainy cold weather in the wilderness so we decided to drive into Missoula for a taste of the city life. On the way out we stopped in the forest at Idaho Montana border and took Meggie for a 2 mile run on a beautiful old logging road. The temperature was a brisk 52 F as the elevation is quite high. We also had lunch here while watching the mountains from our high vista. Arrived in Missoula about 3:00 p.m. and checked into the Jelly Stone RV Park. I went to Costco to have truck tires rotated while Linda did laundry and cleaned the 5th wheel. Ate more of my left over pot roast for dinner and watched TV in our clean 5th wheel with heat. The temperature in NW continues to be 10 to 15 F under normal along with intermittent thunder storms.

Last update on October 12, 2008