Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Settling in to Idaho

We have arrived at Dent Acres campground near Orofino, Idaho and are ready to begin our new jobs as camp hosts.  The campground is part of Dworshak Dam and Reservoir and will be our resting spot for the next three months.  Our first impressions are that we will be quite happy here hiking among the towering pines that fill the hillsides, paddling across the placid blue water, and watching the deer cascading down the meadows.  At least that is what we will be doing on our days off – I almost forgot we are here to work.

The dam was completed in 1973 after seven years
and $327 million.
Before driving to the campground, we stopped off at the visitor center for a tour and to meet some of the park rangers we will be working with.  Brittney, a young and enthusiastic ranger, offered to give us a personal tour of the dam and took us to the depths of the 717-foot dam and at one point we were under the dam.  Dworshak Dam and the resulting reservoir were expected to be a grand destination of Hoover Dam proportions.  It is the third largest dam in the United States and the 54-mile long reservoir is peppered with recreational activities in anticipation of the many thousands of visitors who were expected to come.  There are multiple boat launches, nearly 100 mini-camps, floating docks and restrooms, full service campgrounds, and much more for the outdoor enthusiast.  But the remote location of the reservoir hindered public use and people did not come from far and wide; instead, the recreation areas are mostly used by local folks who come for the fishing and hunting. 

The main purpose of building the dam was flood protection but it has many functions including hydropower, recreational opportunities, natural resource management, and navigation.  The construction and operation of the dam and reservoir is not without controversy among environmental groups and the locals.  While the dam does provide flood protection from the Clearwater River it also cut off migration routes of anadromous fish including steelhead trout and various species of salmon.  (More on this issue in another post.)
The spillway (located at the far left bottom of the picture) discharges water into the North Fork of the Clearwater River.
The three hydroelectric generators are capable of producing enough power to heat, cool, and light a city the size of Boise.  The person on the right is actually a manaquin and not a lazy government employee.
The view from the dam is pretty spectacular.  The dam is approximately 3,300 feet long.
The campground is located about one hour from the visitor center and up 17 miles of very windy, narrow, scary road.  Instead of building a two-lane road they shrunk it to one and a half.  Needless to say the motorhome took up nearly the entire width of the road and we were extremely glad there were no logging trucks headed our way.  Since the campground does not open to the public until April 11th, we are spending the next couple days enjoying the peaceful empty campground and becoming acquainted with our new surroundings.

The reservoir reaches depths of  630-feet and is filled with trout, salmon, and bass.


  1. Are you SURE that mannequin wasn't a real government employee? I've seen way too many that looked just like that... ;c)

    Looks like a great summer job and an incredibly beautiful place, to boot!

  2. Sure looks like a peaceful place to spend the summer.

  3. Wow, looks like a slice of Heaven! We hope to get there before you leave there. Hugs to Spirit and a sniff from Georgia

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