Last summer we were fortunate to have Angela and Jason as camp hosts. They were in transition and wanted an adventure before starting a new phase in their careers. Congratulations Jason on your new position!!! We were so delighted that they chose our RV Park. So I asked Angela to write a post for our blog about their camp hosting experience at Wagonhammer RV Park & Campground located in North Fork, Idaho.
Angela & Jason blog….Idaho fun!
The two months we spent in Idaho were great! We had fun camp hosting at Wagonhammer RV Park and made some lifelong friends. While there weren’t many kids at the campground, Lila had lots of surrogate grandparents who played games with her, helped her create jewelry (she now has a new hobby of beading), watched cartoons, and colored with her. It was also nice that Jason and I had lots of people watching out for her all the time.
The town of Salmon, Idaho truly is a hidden gem. This town of about 3000 is nestled amongst the Frank Church Wilderness Area and is the birthplace of Sacajawea. The town has a fantastic farmers market, a great natural foods store, some great restaurants and a wonderful organization name Salmon Valley Stewardship (SVS). I went to a fundraiser for SVS with a friend, Judy, that was focused in all things Local! The food was locally sourced and prepared by a wonderful local catering company, The Kitchen. They also had lots of locally made items in a silent auction….most of which went for more than the monetary value of the item (like the quilted wall hanging in the picture below….a work of art!). It was a great fundraiser for this active organization, which focuses on preserving the sanctity of Salmon. There are struggles in the area because it is 96% government owned (mostly the National Forest Service). SVS is really helping open the lines of communication. It was by far one of the best and most informative fundraisers I have ever attended.
By far, our favorite restaurant in the area is the Junkyard Bistro. The food is terrific and we became great friends with one of the servers, Jodi (who happens to be rafting thru the Grand Canyon for the next 30 days!).
We also found a few decent hot springs nearby….Lost Trail Hot Springs, Challis Hot Springs, and Sharkey Hot Springs. Sharkey is operated by the National Forest Service and consists of a couple of small concrete pools. The pools are nice, but we found that the temperatures were usually too hot for Lila to truly enjoy the pools. Lost Trail is in a campground, just past the Montana border. It has a large swimming pool and a small hot tub, both from natural springs. Lila loved the large pool because it had a shallow area where she could comfortably “swim”. Challis was interesting because its bottom is covered with rock. The water temperature was perfect and they also had a shallow area where Lila could swim. They also had a nice hot pool. Unfortunately, due to state mandates about hot springs, they are now only open to their guests. So…book your campsite and enjoy this hot spring if you make it to the area. There are a few other “all natural” hot springs in the area too, but our low clearance Prius could not get to most of the places. By all natural, I mean that the pools are not concreted, you are usually sitting on moss covered rocks and clothing is optional.
Of course, there are tons of hiking trails, off road trails, mountain bike trails, etc to check out….along with great fishing and hunting. The month of October is a busy one for Wagonhammer because fishermen and hunters come from all over to catch Steelhead trout and Chinook salmon and to hunt bear, elk, and moose. Most of these men come back year after year and are good friends of Shirley and Abner, the owners.
One of the funniest and funnest things about Wagonhammer is its Happy Hour. Every day at 5:00, guests were encouraged to gather in the lodge to meet other campers and the camp hosts. Fridays are “Happy Appies”, meaning that everyone brings an appetizer to share. Happy Hour isn’t about drinking, but about being happy and socializing. Our problem occurred when Lila started asking, “When are we going to Happy Hour?” And “Is it 5:00 yet? I’m ready to go to happy hour.” This actually wasn’t so bad until she asked it in town…around a group of people. Jason and I were both a bit embarrassed that our 3 year old was rambling on about going to happy hour. We decided it might be better to start calling it Social Hour so everyone wouldn’t think that our child was going to a big party everyday.
I also have to tell the story about my grocery shopping experience. Most of the fresh food at grocery stores in the West is more expensive than in the Midwest. It’s just a fact of life and we noticed it when we lived in Denver too. I was, however, amazed to see such a cheap price for potatoes. I found a 15 pound bag for just $2.99 and thought, “Wow! That’s a great sale!” It was all I could do not to buy two bags. I bought one bag and went on my way. A few weeks later, I noticed the same sale price on potatoes. Then, I noticed a sign that read, “Idaho potatoes”. How silly of me! I didn’t even think about being in The Potato State!!
Overall, we are very glad to have had the opportunity to spend time in Idaho. Yes, there are some areas that are more beautiful than others, but the state is mostly covered in Forests and offers fun for all. We will definitely be back for a visit! The picture below is a double rainbow over Wagonhammer….a fitting way to remember our time there!
Whether you are interested in becoming a camp host or just want a great destination for your next vacation. We hope you choose Wagonhammer, a true gem in the Idaho Gem State!