Finding Homecoming Beach after the hot week at Carbella near Yellowstone felt like stumbling upon an accidental vacation. We chose this spot as a half way point to our next destination-Sun Valley, Idaho for the upcoming solar eclipse and only planned to spend one night.
Clark Canyon Reservoir, located just south of Dillon, MT, offers 17 miles of shoreline for swimming, boating, fishing and camping. It's managed by the Bureau of Land Reclamation and like national forests, offers free camping without hook-ups of any kind. It's a significant site on the Lewis and Clark Trail and includes Homecoming Beach where Sacagawea was reunited with her family.
When we arrived, the campsite was virtually empty-just one camper tucked in a corner. Since we had the place to ourselves, we chose a spot right on the ledge of the campground, overlooking the reservoir. We carefully backed Babs up to the edge of the cliff so that our large back window overlooked the water. Wildfires were still burning in Montana and Idaho and hazy wildfire smoke filled the sky causing the mountains in the distance to barely be visible.
Perfect temperatures, no mosquitos, and a strong Verizon signal convinced us to stay 5 days instead of just one.
At times, it felt as though we were camped on a distant planet, nothing but calm water, hazy gray skies and barely visible hills. In the evenings, the sky became a light pink at dusk but we rarely actually saw the sun behind the smoke. For three days we saw no other people. We swam in the reservoir and walked along the beach and just enjoyed the complete solitude.
As the weekend approached, other campers moved in and despite the plentiful available spaces, they decided to camp awkwardly close to our front door. The first group moved on after one night and we thought we had avoided having close neighbors but just hours later, a second group came along and also set up camp just feet from our home. Must have been the price of having such a great lake view.
Since our neighbors seemed prepared to stay for a while, we decided that was our cue to keep it moving. We needed to continue on to find a spot in the path of totality anyway. We packed up and continued on towards Idaho.