After returning to the abnormal (new normal?) heat of northwest Montana, we promptly decided to get out camping again. Friends suggested Labor Day weekend, which sounded like a bad idea due to the crazy popularity of camping this summer, combined with a normally busy weekend. But, one friend put some serious effort into finding a campsite on Wednesday, and then spent a couple of extra nights at the site, just to hold it.

With so much effort going into the acquisition of a very desirable campsite, we couldn’t say no, even though we were starting to waver with the thought of masses of people heading out to every campsite in Montana. It turned out to be a really nice, though fairly dusty, campsite. The campsite was off a long dirt road. The summer has been extraordinarily dry, making the dirt road super dusty. It was also covered in washboard and pot holes. In our van, it was very slow going.

Once at the site, however, we were able to relax and enjoy the location. The location was really about the scenery and the water. We spent the next two days, swimming, fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and relaxing. Unfortunately, wildfire smoke moved in on the second day, and got quite heavy towards the end of the day.

We realized how lucky we were to have secured a campsite, as tents were set up on the side of the very dusty road. We talked about how miserable an experience that would be. Honestly, if that was the best spot I could find, I would stay home. Also, vehicles in search of campsites drove down to our location constantly, even in the middle of the night. Anyone hoping to stumble upon a campsite on this particular labor day weekend was in for disappointment.

Distance: 84 miles

Time: 4 hours, round trip.

Vanlife reality: dust, bad roads, and wildfire smoke. Also, maybe too many people trying to camp at the same time.

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