One hundred and seventy steps off from forest road 512, there is a campsite at the confluence of the Little Missouri River & Long Creek. The campsite is at a turn and river crossing on the Eagle Rock Loop trail so hikers frequently walk through camp. Some of them need directions. Most of them say “hi”. One of them asked for some napkins. It’s a beautiful spot. It’s close enough to the road to bring some of the comforts of car camping. But far enough from the road to feel like we are in the middle of nowhere. The night sky sparkles with stars. The rivers babble nearby. It’s idyllic.
Our first campout here was in July 2019. A sudden summer storm quickly flooded the rivers and campsite. Within an hour, we were up to our ankles in water and had to hurriedly pack everything into the car and head home. Everything was soaked.
We’ve been back 3 times since then with no incident. Twice we camped there while hiking Eagle Rock Loop. This weekend we camped there just for fun.
The kids played in the river. We found an old road bed that goes up Long Creek and connects with a bridge on 512. The weather was beautiful. Highs in the 70’s, lows in the 40’s.
Some of us slept in our hammocks like usual. Some stayed in a tent because the 40’s is pretty cold for hammocking without an under quilt.
We saw a tree that beavers chopped into pieces about 18 inches long, but then left the pieces on the ground. We saw a big black snake, pollywogs, trout, bream, squirrels, a gray/blue heron, deer, armadillo, and even some evidence of a raccoon nearby.
The water was clear and cool. The well worn rocks and pebbles are so many different colors. There is deep black and stark white. Gray, red, orange, and even lavender. It makes me curious about the geologic history of the place.
We drove on forest road 106 and saw “the stone house”. It’s a landmark on Eagle Rick Loop. Even though we’ve hiked the full loop 3 times, we never took the little detour to go see it.
It’s an old stone bunk house on the river. There is a kitchen and then a big room with a 7 foot ceiling, multiple bunk beds and a wood burning stove (the door was unlocked). I don’t think it’s in use, but nobody bothered to remove anything since its last use. There was even still dish soap at the sink.
At camp, we did plenty of sitting around the campfire, chilling out on our hammocks and whittling walking sticks. Bryce built a line of rocks across the river. Tyler and Grant tried to sink some leaves. Aden fell in the river while wearing Dad’s jacket. Chase fell asleep early and missed s’mores for treat. All the kids had fun swinging and playing in their hammocks after setting them up close together. Grant was a patient attendant bring them danishes, cheese sticks, water, and whatever else they asked him to do.
It was a relaxing weekend. With this crowd, packing up was a breeze. Everybody pitches in and helps out until everything is loaded. I’m looking forward to doing it again.