Thursday, September 10, 2015
We left North Fork Village at a leisurely pace, heading up towards Stanley, which was strongly recommended by others. Near Stanley, we asked about where to go, and a local river guide told us to head into Red Fish Lake. Upon entry into the area, we noted that all the campgrounds were listed as being "full."
Despite the free parking area being extremely over-crowded and noisy, we found a paid day use parking site overlooking a swimming area that was serene by comparison. We paid the $6 fee and then went swimming. After the swim we did a short hike along the lake but discovered (not unexpectedly) that the trail was nowhere as well-maintained as those found in National Parks. It being 4:00pm anyway, we headed out of the area to search for a night to stay.
We visited several more national park campgrounds, but all were either full or didn't take RVs. National Forest campgrounds aren't monitored very well, so even if the sign outside the campground (we tried the one at Alturas Lake) says "open", you could easily drive in and discover that it's full. We weren't even close to being tempted by the campground at Smiley Creek.
We headed over the pass out of the Sawtooth Mountain area. The turnouts offered beautiful views, and we stopped several times for photos.
On the descent, we found Wood River campground which was open for RVs. We drove in and found only one spot open, site #20. We parked and I walked over to the campground host to pay, but once there discovered a beautifully shaded site next to her was available. Being no dummy, I quickly paid her for site #3, and then ran back to drive the RV over before anyone got too settled.
Wood River was a beautiful campground, including a small hiking trail that was quite pretty and easy. We enjoyed our stay despite the lack of power, as we managed to hookup to a campground hose and got unlimited water.