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First Time Snow Camping trip report!
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goldtooth
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:11 am    Post subject: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

It's hard to believe that during the 5+ years we have owned our Westy, we have not camped in the snow one time. Well that is not entirely true, we did wake up to a dusting one time on a trip and had a short snowfall on a trip last year but none of it really stuck and we did not drive in any snow.
After this past trip, we are hooked on snow camping and are going to try and get out again in January for some more.

Anyway, as usual, here is the YouTube video and below is the trip report. We took some of our best drone shots in this video and even crashed it for the first time. We have the small DJI Mavic Mini an it doesn't have Active Track so we are having to fly it while driving and that is a bit stressful!
Enjoy!

Link


With snow in the forecast near Mt. Hood for the weekend, we decided to go and find a campsite that would get us up high enough to take advantage of this wintery forecast. We had purchased some snow chains from Craigslist for our spring break trip to the Redwoods and did not end up using them and actually never even tried to put them on. Knowing that we planned on driving in snow, I test fit the chains in the garage the day before we left. Good news, they fit as expected.
We headed east on the familiar I84 towards Hood River and of course had to make a stop at our favorite pizza joint in the area, Solstice Pizza and get a large Vegan Boy pizza which would serve for lunch and dinner for us. After eating about half the pizza, we made some coffee and headed south on Highway 35 towards Mt. Hood looking for some snow.

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We turned on to NF44 where we have found many campsites hoping we would climb high enough to find some snow and a nice view for the night. About a mile up the road, we started seeing signs of recent snowfall.

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We kept driving up, looking for side roads we could take and explore for potential sites but the road changed quickly into a single lane, ice packed trail.


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We decided to stop in the middle of the road and put on our chains as it was getting pretty slick. We had not seen a vehicle on the road the entire time so we figured we would be safe just doing it there.

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After the chains went on, we decided to back down the hill as we did not see an option for our 2wd Westy to take any side roads off of this ice covered main road. We took off the chains when we got back to bare pavement and headed back to Highway 35 in search of the next spot.
We spied a campground off the side of the road and wanted to see if we could drive though it and find a dispersed camp just outside of the boundaries. This road had even more ice than the last one and we quickly found ourselves putting our chains back on just to get out. Even worse, the road just looped back to the highway so there were no options for dispersed sites.

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Once more we found ourselves back on Highway 35 searching for camp and quickly found a snow covered side road that we followed down to the east fork of the Hood River. There were several dispersed sites along the river and even better, no one around. We quickly picked our spot and made camp.


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We settled in and took in our beautiful surroundings. The forecast was for a few inches of snow in the evening at our elevation so we were excited for nightfall.


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We woke to a winter wonderland with several inches falling overnight. After coffee and breakfast, we headed out for a hike to explore the area.


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We packed up around lunchtime and decided to head out and explore a new area, this time heading east towards the small town of Maupin.


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We followed the Deschutes river east looking for our next spot to sleep. This area is a bit tougher as there is a lot of private and reservation land that surrounds the river. There are several campgrounds along the river that offer places to sleep and even though we usually avoid campgrounds, there were very few people out on this cold December night.
The end of the 18 mile gravel road lead us to Mack's Canyon Campground along the river and the place was totally empty. Score! We picked a site away from the main campground just incase someone else came in that night.

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A light rain started while we sat under awning, enjoying our propane firepit and a cold brew.
Around 11:30pm, we were awoke by a loud screech and rumble from across the river. A freight train was barreling down the tracks, waking anyone who dared to camp nearby. After struggling to fall asleep, we were woke again at 12:30am, 4:30am, and 5:30am. Man what a tough night of sleep! A lazy morning of coffee and reading finally came to and end and we needed to start heading back home. A light snow had fallen on the hills around camp and combined with the low clouds, it made for a serene setting.
Before leaving we decided to drive to the other side of camp and explore the boat ramp and campsites. Still no one around.

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Back on the long gravel road to the highway.

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From there we headed back to Highway 197 with a stop to make lunch in The Dalles before heading home.
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We really enjoy winter camping as there are a lot less people around and the snow added a new twist to our adventures. We plan on seeking out some snow for our January trip, just need to find the place to go!

Hope you guys enjoyed tagging along with us on this adventure! We are planning our January trip and have big plans for February (Covid restrictions pending) so stay tuned for more trip reports.
nate
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:22 am    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Good report! Jealous of you!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:36 am    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

amazing trip. too bad there was no train on the trestle, but can't have it all Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:48 am    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

I also am very jealous. Awesome video.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:01 am    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

shagginwagon83 wrote:
I also am very jealous. Awesome video.


we should do a cross country caravan to Bend.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:57 am    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Beautiful!

Please take us along on your next one too. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:16 am    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

A hint or two for ice when you canít move. Carry a small camp shovel. You can dig up some dirt or gravel and toss it under your tires. Also, carry a small tub of sand or ground pumice. Works wonders on slick ice when youíre stuck, and easier than putting on chains.
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GoEverywhere
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:20 am    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

You're braver than I am!

I've not yet been brave enough to take my Riviera up Mt Hood when there's that much snow on the ground. I might have to get some chains and try it out though. Your images make it hard not to want to go right now!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:12 pm    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Thanks for taking us along! I enjoyed the video.

I stopped at a state campground on the Colorado River one night, arrived kind of late and noticed that all of the choice camp spots along the river were wide open. I picked one right on the water and marveled at my luck until around 11:30 PM when the first of four or five trains rumbled by on the tracks directly on the other side of the river. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:12 pm    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Loved it! I was in dread watching you back down the hill on the ice!
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dabaron
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

joetiger wrote:
Thanks for taking us along! I enjoyed the video.

I stopped at a state campground on the Colorado River one night, arrived kind of late and noticed that all of the choice camp spots along the river were wide open. I picked one right on the water and marveled at my luck until around 11:30 PM when the first of four or five trains rumbled by on the tracks directly on the other side of the river. Smile


i don't see/hear the problem. i would pay extra for that.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 5:03 pm    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
Good report! Jealous of you!


dabron wrote:
amazing trip. too bad there was no train on the trestle, but can't have it all Laughing


shagginwagon83 wrote:
I also am very jealous. Awesome video.


dobryan wrote:
Beautiful!

Please take us along on your next one too. Very Happy


thanks for the positive feedback guys! it was a super fun trip and we can't wait to get out again.
nate
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:03 pm    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

dabaron wrote:
joetiger wrote:
Thanks for taking us along! I enjoyed the video.

I stopped at a state campground on the Colorado River one night, arrived kind of late and noticed that all of the choice camp spots along the river were wide open. I picked one right on the water and marveled at my luck until around 11:30 PM when the first of four or five trains rumbled by on the tracks directly on the other side of the river. Smile


i don't see/hear the problem. i would pay extra for that.


Says the Train Junkie..... Wink Wink Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 5:57 am    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

dabaron wrote:
joetiger wrote:
Thanks for taking us along! I enjoyed the video.

I stopped at a state campground on the Colorado River one night, arrived kind of late and noticed that all of the choice camp spots along the river were wide open. I picked one right on the water and marveled at my luck until around 11:30 PM when the first of four or five trains rumbled by on the tracks directly on the other side of the river. :)


i don't see/hear the problem. i would pay extra for that.

You need to camp along the C&O Canal Towpath. Entertainment on the other side of the Potomac at all hours of the day and night.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:27 am    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

Gnarlodious wrote:
A hint or two for ice when you canít move. Carry a small camp shovel. You can dig up some dirt or gravel and toss it under your tires. Also, carry a small tub of sand or ground pumice. Works wonders on slick ice when youíre stuck, and easier than putting on chains.


Also kitty litter or oil dry is miraculous on ice.
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goldtooth
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:37 pm    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

GoEverywhere wrote:
You're braver than I am!

I've not yet been brave enough to take my Riviera up Mt Hood when there's that much snow on the ground. I might have to get some chains and try it out though. Your images make it hard not to want to go right now!


We would not have gone up that road or anywhere up by Mt. Hood without having the chains in the van. We would still be there!

bryanarchy wrote:
Loved it! I was in dread watching you back down the hill on the ice!


It was a bit sketchy at first but the chains hooked up well and we went pretty slow.


nate
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 5:53 pm    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

I'm most interested- and didn't see a mention of- keeping warm on sub-freezing nights. Do you make do w/good-quality sleeping bag, or like some samba posters I've seen in the past who sleep in their vans at sky lodge parking lots, do you have a webasco or cheaper Chinese furnace/heater? Seems like without a real heater, even a middle-of-the-night piss-break would be pretty unpleasant. Or do you just like roughing it?
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:00 pm    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

pinetreeporsche wrote:
I'm most interested- and didn't see a mention of- keeping warm on sub-freezing nights. Do you make do w/good-quality sleeping bag, or like some samba posters I've seen in the past who sleep in their vans at sky lodge parking lots, do you have a webasco or cheaper Chinese furnace/heater? Seems like without a real heater, even a middle-of-the-night piss-break would be pretty unpleasant. Or do you just like roughing it?


Until this last year, we just roughed it. In December of last year we installed an Espar gasoline heater and it is a game changer. We use a down comforter for bedding and it is plenty with the heater set around 55 degrees for overnight.

nate
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:36 pm    Post subject: Re: First Time Snow Camping trip report! Reply with quote

joetiger wrote:
Gnarlodious wrote:
A hint or two for ice when you canít move. Carry a small camp shovel. You can dig up some dirt or gravel and toss it under your tires. Also, carry a small tub of sand or ground pumice. Works wonders on slick ice when youíre stuck, and easier than putting on chains.


Also kitty litter or oil dry is miraculous on ice.


Yeah we didn't have anything like that with us. If we were in our driveway we would have been set!
We are thinking of getting some Maxtrax knockoffs just in case as well. And of course they would look cool on the ladder rack as well Very Happy

nate
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