I typically don’t camp this late in the year, because I don’t like the cold. But I do have the Chalet travel trailer with a propane heater after all. And I had brought plenty of books and blankets, so really there was much potential for a great weekend. The forecast had even called for rain, which I was especially excited for, since that would make it even cozier.
We chose Round Lake State Park, because being an Idaho State Park, it was gorgeous but is also very crowded all summer long. We figured we could have it mostly to ourselves this weekend, and I’m happy to report that we did. Pretty great time to camp if you don’t like crowds and aren’t camping in a tent.
We arrived at dark after work, which required us to pick our spot in the dark and set up in the dark. Not ideal, but that is one disadvantage of fall weekend camping. It was dark before we even got off work. As it turned out, we got a great spot. None of the spots actually had a view of the lake, but many were nicely situated in the trees. We woke up in the morning, and discovered the most unfortunate thing when we went to turn on the heat. We were out of propane. This was not good, as it was our only heat source. We were fine under our many blankets, but to get out of bed and deal with that cold? That was a very difficult morning. Luckily it wasn’t raining. I suppose it could’ve been worse.
David made a campfire, and I was eventually able to leave the warmth of the bed and relocate to the fire. David figured out how to make coffee on the campfire, and things were looking up. It blackened the bottom of our pot, but at least we had coffee. After coffee, we packed up and drove to Sandpoint for propane. While we were there, we made an automotive day of it and went to Les Schwab and bought new tires for the Chalet. We also found some important part we needed at an automotive store. It ended up being a pretty productive travel trailer maintenance day, so that was very good.
Getting back to Round Lake after eating lunch in Sandpoint, we got all set up again in an even better campsite and went for a hike around the lake, since it still wasn’t raining. Very nice hike. We saw a moose, and luckily that’s all we saw. David told me later that he was concerned about bears, and I’m so glad he hadn’t shared that with me. I should’ve been alerted when he brought the bear spray along, but I just figured he was being overly cautious.
The next morning, we woke up and discovered that Amber was missing. We hadn’t tied her up that night, because she always gets tangled in her rope, and we were trying to make her more comfortable. She’s pretty old, so we weren’t worried about her running away. She’s also a lab, so we never worry about her being aggressive with anyone. She sleeps outside the Chalet in a crate lined with a warm blanket, since we’re not able to have her sleep inside the Chalet because of my allergies. We place the crate right by the door of the Chalet, so normally we hear her when she makes any movement. This was actually the first time we hadn’t tied her up, but since there were so few other campers, we figured it was ok.
We walked everywhere looking for her. Luckily it still wasn’t raining, so while she was probably quite chilly, at least she wasn’t wet. We must’ve searched for an hour. Eventually we found her laying on the doorstep to the visitor’s center just waiting for someone to arrive and feed her. What a smart dog. Well, it would have been smarter if she’d come back to our camp, but like I said, she’s pretty old. She can’t hear very well anymore and I’m sure she can’t smell very well either.
Aside from not having heat the first morning and losing Amber the second morning, this was actually a pretty great camping weekend. We’re considering camping every month one of these years as a challenge. That would be interesting to camp in December, January and February in North Idaho. And we now know how important it is to top off our propane before heading out for cold weather camping.