Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Looking Ahead

Ten days from today we will be camped in the Salmon River Campground, 4.4 miles downstream from Stanley, Idaho, at 6,400 feet.  As you can tell from the Climate Prediction Center's 6-10 temperature outlook, we're looking at much below normal temperatures across a wide swath of The West.

So what is normal in Stanley?  (Stanley, by the way, if often the coldest place in the Lower 48 states, both in winter and summer.)  Luckily, somebody keeps climate data records for Stanley.  The normal high is 60 degrees for mid-May.  The normal low is 28.  The record high for May 15 is 75 degrees.  The record low (surprisingly) is only 17 degrees.  Knowing Stanley as we do, I would have guessed it would have been near zero.  We're positively excited that the record low is only 17.  That's awesome!  Even though temps are expected to be well below normal, it's highly unlikely that a new record low will be set.  We're taking a wild guess and saying overnight temps will be in the low 20's.  Daytime highs will probably be in the low to mid-40's.  The troublesome part of historical data for Stanley is the precipitation.  They've had as much as .83 of an inch in mid-May and a half inch rain is not uncommon.

This trip is definitely going to be a genuine test of our camping skills, abilities, attitudes and latitudes!  There's nothing like the thought of 20 degree overnight lows to get us motivated to really buckle down and get our doo-doo together.  We learned yesterday that the Stanley Ranger District is offering two cords of free campfire wood out on Decker Flats.  That's upstream near 4th of July Creek, maybe 15 miles from the campground. We're definitely going to take our chain saw and splitting tools.  We'll definitely plan on being in Stanley in time to snag one of those free permits.  Hopefully, we can get camp set, the truck emptied, get a permit and load the truck with wood before it turns dark Friday night May 14.  We have to meet RJ May 15 so we might as well be set up and waiting for him.

Looks like we will be camped there 3 nights for sure.  Chances are we will be working a six hour shift Sunday, poised somehow at the campground to capture exit interviews for the National Visitor Usage Monitoring Project.  Since the campground straddles Highway 75, it's going to be problematic to capture such exit interviews.  Maybe RJ will simply let us approach anyone camped there.  In that case, we might not have to do a six hour shift and can get home Sunday night.  Otherwise, there's no way we're working six hours, breaking camp and then driving over 5 hours to return to Idaho Falls.  Nope, we'd camp one more night and do the drive beginning late Monday morning.

As our summer options evolve, it's looking more like we might be doing a pretty fair amount of the NVUM interviews this summer.  Neither BLM nor RSVP seem particularly interested in using our volunteer services.  The cool thing about the NVUM gig is that we will get $200 per interview plus some mileage money, too.  If we like this RJ guy, I'm beginning to think we night have something going.  That's why the May 16 gig at Salmon River Campground looms large in our future.

And, as you can easily see from the climate data and forecast, that's why we're spending an inordinate amount of time prepping for this camping trip.

Cheers, jp

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stanley runs deep in my heart as we have spent a few snow filled nights camping there on our way to the middle fork of the salmon. bring some dry fire wood and a axe,Deano