Field Report No. 20140917RC
Inland NW Car Camping
Sun, Stars, Beer, and Hucks
COMMENTS: Forty years ago this summer, my father walked into a service station in his hometown of Madison, South Dakota. On a whim, he purchased a brilliant green camp stove that was on display. It would come in handy on hunting trips to the Black Hills. The polite young woman behind the counter turned out to be my mother. Having resettled here in the inland northwest, my folks have gotten a lot of use out of that camp stove. It has perched on many a picnic table, most often in Priest Lake, Idaho’s Indian Creek Campground—a favorite of locals for its sandy beach, crystal clear water, diverse botany, and an absolutely staggering night sky. Joining my folks on a recent 2-night stay, I fired up the tarnished old stove and produced a big camp breakfast.
Western red cedars and larches (sometimes called tamarack) are just two of the many varieties of conifers you’ll find along miles of trails near Priest Lake. Higher elevations in the Selkirks offer great huckleberry picking in August and September; 2014 has been a bumper crop. Being noisy and packing bear spray is non-negotiable.
A 2-night car-camping jaunt is the perfect time to fill a couple growlers on your way out of the city. Crystal Bitter, which put No Li Brewhouse on the map, is ideally enjoyed around a campfire.