Our maiden voyage of our Little Guy 5 wide trailer was a bit more memorable than perhaps we would have wanted it to be given all of the events that we encountered during this outing; however, throughout it all, our little guy hung in there with us and performed like a seasoned fighter. Specifically, we ventured out for our first overnight camping trip on what was probably the worst weekend in terms of predicated weather that had the potential to generate a myriad of wild land fires in the mountains of Idaho.
Traveling over some high mountain passes early that morning to get to our designated camping spot at Pine Flats, located on the South Fork of the Payette River, our little guy handled like a champion, with our 6 cylinder 1999, Jeep Wrangler leading the way. We were impressed, given the terrain that we were trying to transverse that day on our way through the Banks-Lowman canyon, now closed today due to fire activity, which actually started the evening of our visit to this camp ground location.
Set up was a breeze and we of course had a multitude of onlookers, who had never seen such a small, yet versatile trailer before. Several of our fellow campers stopped by to ask questions about our trailer and also to take pictures of our campsite set up, which included the side 10X10 Paha Que’ ScreenRoom Tent , REI portable alcove shelter for the kitchen area, a Cabella shower and porta pottie enclosure, a portable ham radio for emergency communications, installed inside one of the nice cupboards in the trailer (we are retired Army Signal Corps Officers, call signs W7LTC and K7LTC) and a nice spacious Thule Storage unit to hold additional equipment.
As the afternoon progressed, high winds out of the north east were steadily picking up strength and the weather prediction was for micro burst storms to hit us that evening, with strong winds, rain and lightening. Already that day, another campground located about an hour north of ours was being evacuated due to a large forest fire that had started earlier in the week and was now threatening that campsite area. So tensions were rising a bit and being assigned to the USFS as a coordinator for IT support for Wildland Fire for the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), it appeared that I was not going to get the restful respite needed that weekend to recharge my batteries.
Just before the storm had arrived, we had a brief visit by my sister and her husband, who took an afternoon drive up the canyon to, see our trailer in action. Needless to say they were impressed and we had a nice family outing in the comfort of our extended kitchen area. Anyway, to make a very long story short, we successfully made it through the night, with our little guy and adjoining tentage, buffeting the rain and high winds just fine.
We woke very early that morning to the smell of smoke, and found out from the volunteer USFS camp manager, that a fresh forest fire had started down the river from us near Banks. So we felt it was time to pack up and head back to our home in Boise, Idaho before we had to evacuate this area as well.
Again, packing up our campsite was easy. The portability of our trailer also provided us flexibility in our efforts to get out of the area as quickly as possible. Everyone else, camping in traditional tentage was scrambling to try to get their belongings together, while we simply loaded up our plastic cases with our ancillary equipment, threw them in the trailer, hooked up the truck and was on the road back home, and that was after we had a nice bacon and egg breakfast that morning before breaking down our campsite.
On the road home we encountered USFS Helicopters performing fire water dousing operations, dipping buckets into the South Fork of the Payette River and running those buckets of water back up the hillside to the fire location. We also learned that several large fires had started in our home town of Boise that night and several large trees were down, with power outages everywhere. Additionally, we found out a fellow camper had been killed by a falling tree that weekend, when the microburst hit one of the other campgrounds near our location. Fortunately, for us, we came through it all unscathed with our Little Guy trailer, who is already packed and ready to go on another adventure. But for our sake, I sincerely, hope that it is not as exciting as this first one. HOOAH!!!
Sincerely, LTCs Retired, Laura and Bart Hill (Idaho)