CAMPGROUND: Trapper Peak Winery, through Harvest Hosts. A Montana paradise with the snow-topped mountains in the distance on a pristine farm. 5 stars!
LOCATION: Darby, Montana – about 60 miles south of Missoula
WEATHER: Very pleasant. High 75
We left Hell’s Canyon mid-morning when it was still nice and cool. We climbed 8 miles up and up to 5000 feet elevation, seemingly almost straight up.
The land is very rugged and barren out here.
Then, we descended quite a bit to a forest and followed the Northwest Passage Scenic Highway. When we came to a town, we saw a temporary sign saying “Traffic Emergency Ahead”. It looked like a log had fallen off a logging truck and somehow motorcyclists were involved.
After about 30 miles of hairpin curves, we hit the also scenic Lewis and Clark Trail. It followed the gurgling Clearwater River up to Lola Pass at 5000 feet. The sign said “Caution: Winding Road next 99 miles”. Guess who was driving!
From there, another 60 miles to our destination. We had stayed here before, and wanted to return as it has been our favorite Harvest Host site.
The winemaker owner has a vineyard in Napa Valley. He brings the grapes over here and makes some really good wine. He is also a farmer and has horses, cows and lots of hayfields. He was busy haying when we arrived. A friend of his was visiting and told us to set up and make ourselves at home.
We learned that his vineyard was destroyed last year with wildfires, so he didn’t have any wine for us to taste or buy.
There is a famous dude ranch/resort next to the winery. It is listed in my book “1000 Places to Go Before You Die”…if you want to spend at least $1000/night. Last year, while they were filming the series “Yellowstone” here, the famous actors stayed at the resort, including Kevin Costner. He liked it so much that he bought it! We didn’t see him strolling around or riding a horse around his property. 😦
We are camped (free) in a section of the winemaker’s land, next to a pretty pond.
The homeowner has placed a firepit and firewood next to the footbridge for the Harvest Host campers to use.
George made a fire and we enjoyed the beautiful evening – a perfect temperature for a fire.
DINNER: We did everything on the gas grill outside to keep the Airstream cool inside. I made up a dish: fettucine with tuna, sauteed onion and garlic, capers, in a cream cheese sauce. I topped it with smoked trout bits. Yummy! Side was salad.