Kicked out of camp and a family reunion dedicated to Grandma Dorothy

Discussion in 'Let me tell you about my trip' started by inthedirt, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. inthedirt

    inthedirt Active Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    SW Montana
    Just got back from our annual family reunion campout and this one is going to be full of memories, both good and bad. For years, we've been going out to the Sawtooth mountains near Stanley, Idaho, and have never had any problems with primitive camping. None! This is why we keep going back to the same area. Great fishing, no people or traffic, and since its primitive, its free! First with the bad news.... my grandmother passed away, so I'll be making another trip back to Idaho for the memorial at the end of this week. My uncle almost left when this happened, so it could have been a VERY short trip. But, she had been declining for quite some time, so we weren't surprised to hear of it.

    Also, we got kicked outta camp by BLM shortly after we got there. Took us 7.5hrs to drive there from our house in Montana, another 1.5hrs to fully set up camp, had dinner with the fam and a short BS session before we all hit the sack. The next day, we woke up to our camp kitchen being ransacked. My wife's cake was MIA but the full pan of brownies were ignored, a box of individual packages of chips were missing (left the big bags alone for some reason), and my giant bag of movie-butter popcorn was all relocated out to the woods. We followed the crumbs to where all the goodies must have been consumed. Figuring it was raccoons or squirrels, we cleaned up the mess and went fishing. Caught our limit, cleaned them, packed on ice, and ate lunch. After lunch, my wife and I jump in the truck and start towards town for more ice. Along the dirt road, we're met by BLM and told that they are shutting the entire area down due to bear activity. Yup, that's right. My uncle was super pissed and darn near went home because of it. This place was chosen for a reason and having the BLM kick us out because of "supposed" bears was almost too much. I've never heard a man swear so many words in such a short amount of time!

    Well, it turns out that the BLM guys may have been onto something. We were about 30min into packing up when my wife spots a 350 lb brown bear moseying into camp. Yup, you read that right. Yogi came back looking for seconds on his midnight snack. At least, now we're guessing it was a bear the ate from our kitchen buffet. Never had that happen in all the years we've been going there. Never even heard of anyone else having this issue, either. Nonetheless, a bear was in our camp! Wife grabbed the kids and dogs, tossed them in the truck, and left to tell the neighbors down the road while my uncle and I grabbed our bear spray and pistols to shoo it off back into the woods.

    Fired a couple of warning shots, scared it deeper into the trees, and commenced to packing up the rest of camp. An hour later, it was back. Other campers on the opposite side of the lake saw it wandering the shoreline back in our direction and came to tell us. Wife repeated her previous actions, and so did me and my uncle. This time, we actively chased it into the woods and we didn't see it again. We finished packing and headed back towards town. As we got closer to Stanley and into cell reception, we got the news of my grandmother. Not much any of us could do, so we checked into a motel, parked the rigs, and went to dinner. Afterwards, we showered up and hit the sack. Over breakfast the next morning, my uncle informed the rest of us that he got ahold of a buddy that was familiar with the area and knew where we could camp and had good fishing. We headed out for Redfish Lake, and while we had to settle for a pay-site, we got a spot big enough for the 4-6 families that were already on their way. Still had cell reception, so that made it easier to give directions to the new base camp. Stayed for a total of 6 days there, no fish were caught from the lake or the tributaries, but the Salmon River had pretty good fishing about 20min down the road. I paid wayyyy too much for that site, but we had a pretty good time despite the bad news of grandma and our bear encounter. The last day in camp, I got a text from my mother that she had passed in the night. Made for a somber breakfast and camp cleanup. Still, here are some pics from what will likely be one of our more memorable reunions for some time to come:

    Loaded for "bear," as they say

    My boys at our first camp, one of the smaller lakes near Bull Trout Lake, Idaho

    At the motel in Stanley, Idaho, just after being kicked out of our previous camp

    Fire additives to give off a blue and purple flame

    We always end our last night with glow sticks, music, dancing, and general silly-ness.

    Taken just as I got the text with news of my grandmother's passing.
    JPBar likes this.
  2. justwork

    justwork Member

    Mar 27, 2017
    Pictures look great. Sorry to hear about grandma, that's rough times. The whole bear thing, well you're in their house, the wilderness... These things happen. Glad you were able to find a suitable campground that could accommodate the entire group... even though you got skunked fishing. love the photos, looks like a really beautiful area.
  3. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

    May 7, 2013
    Somewhere in Idaho
    Bull Trout Lake Campground? Nice place. I wonder if the FS is pulling in BLM Rangers to help out due to all the fires in that area?
  4. inthedirt

    inthedirt Active Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    SW Montana
    Bull Trout Lake campground was at the very end of the dirt road. We use their bathroom when the girls don't want to pee on a tree, but otherwise never venture that far. I know that Martin Lake is one of the smaller lakes on the way to BT, but not sure if that's the one we stayed at. Several smaller lakes are on the drive.
  5. Bowman3d

    Bowman3d Active Member

    Apr 13, 2015
    LaLa land
    Sorry about Grandma. A bear in camp is always memorable.
  6. bob barnes

    bob barnes Well-Known Member

    Mar 26, 2017
    We were in Ca. once and saw a car completely trashed due to bear car was totaled guy got a ticket! Never can be too careful!!
  7. Pap

    Pap New Member

    Aug 22, 2017
    Sorry about you Gramma. I noticed the solar panels on your rig. You have already helped me with a suspension question. Will you tell me about your solar set? Sorry to pester. That bear story will be a permanent part of family history, well done.
  8. inthedirt

    inthedirt Active Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    SW Montana
    Oh, full of memories, for sure! Some good, some bad.

    As for my solar, I have 2 panels (130w and 100w) mounted to a rack that I fab'd up just before this trip. The rack bolts up to the sides of the roof top using bolt holes that were already there to support the steel trusses along the ceiling for roof support. Didn't want to drill any new holes, especially in the roof. I used a pigtail to connect the 2 panels into a mod'd extension cord. Can't remember if I used a 12 or 14g cable, but was what I had laying around in the shop. From there, the cord attaches to a 30a PWM 4-stage controller. There isn't a volt meter on this controller, but the Baja has one mounted inside, so one isn't needed. I've used other controllers that did have this feature built in and liked it very much. This one has a port to mount a temp gauge, so I may do that in the future. From the controller, I connect it to my dual 6v batteries with eyelets. My last setup used heavy clamps, and while more convenient, it wasn't as secure. The panels produce about 13.5a in good light, so I wanted a more secure attachment to the batteries. I haven't hard mounted any wiring just yet as I've only used this setup on my last trip, but I do wrap the extension cord into the bag that covers the lift post.

    I added the 130w panel because it was cheap. I get all of my solar for under $1 per watt. I lived in my last Pup for about 2mos when I relocated for work and couldn't find affordable housing immediately. I learned that my dorm fridge needed more juice than a 100w could provide. I don't intend on taking the dorm fridge in the future because this Pup has a 3-way built in and works fantastic. So, my current setup is overkill for my electrical demands, especially since swapping to all LED lighting. I have a small inverter inside to power a 30 cup coffee maker or run a hair dryer for my wife. Also have several USB charging hubs and Bluetooth for the stereo and projector for movies at night. Ran our heater every night during this last trip and set the digital thermostat to 63F. Always had more than enough power.
    Pap likes this.
  9. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    Haha! I was scratching my head for a few minutes trying to figure out why Black Lives Matter kicked you out of camp!
    sch5034, Redneckpunk and Lanternman like this.
  10. Pap

    Pap New Member

    Aug 22, 2017
    Thanks you have helped me down the road, much appreciated.
  11. Lanternman

    Lanternman Member

    Aug 17, 2017
    Mooresville NC
    me too! hahahaaaa

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