The water gushing out of the hand pump at Huckleberry Campground northwest of Council tasted as fresh, clean and sweet as a grove of huckleberry bushes smells after a rainstorm.
Who could know that a drink of water would turn out to be one of the best things about a 50-mile summer backcountry drive.
My wife and I and the dogs have had about 20 camping nights so far this year, and we’ve tasted a lot of campground water.
But the water at Huckleberry Campground on the banks of Bear Creek near the tiny towns of Bear and Cuprum gets my vote as some of the best, if not the best, campground water around.
I even took 5 gallons home to brew a batch of Australian pale ale.
We filled up our water bottles, too, just to sip this sweet mountain water while driving and camping along the back roads.
We even nicknamed it huckleberry water. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
The discussion around the campfire that night was why. Why is water at one place like Huckleberry so delicious?
Is it because of the aquifer coming out of the 9,000-foot, glacial Seven Devils Mountains?
It got me to thinking that, generally, I’ll take campground water over city water anytime.
Some campground water is an acquired taste.
The water I’ve tasted at one of the campgrounds along the North Fork of the Payette River, north of Banks, had a distinct iron taste. So did water at one of the downriver campgrounds along the Salmon River northeast of Stanley.
I sort of like the minerally tastes of some campground water. Some folks don’t like it.
Anyway, I’d like to get a discussion going on the best campground water and see which campground might get the most votes.
I can see focusing your camping destinations on campground water.
I’ve heard that the water at the Boise National Forest rental cabin at Johnson Creek is delicious.
If you’ve ever driven the Warm Lake Highway, you know there is a spring on the north side of the road that produces incredible drinking water, and there are many other sweet-water springs in Idaho.
A lot can affect campground water, including the depth of the well. Maybe a 60-foot-deep well will taste different than one that’s 200 feet.
Is the terrain granite or basalt? The temperature of the water definitely affects the taste. Huckleberry’s water was mighty cold.
Campground water can be like fine wines, taking on the tastes from the area’s soils and geology. Can’t wait to taste the beer made from Huckleberry water.
Email me your “best campground water”: Vote at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IDAHO’S TOP HIKER
One of Idaho’s most famous hikers, Margaret Fuller, was interviewed for a story for September’s Backpacker Magazine.
“During the last month I have answered many questions asked by the young intern who wrote the article,” Fuller said.
The issue goes on sale in early August.
Fuller is author of “Trails of the Sawtooth and White Cloud Mountains,” which is in its fifth edition.
She is the grand lady of Idaho’s hiking trails and guide books.
Fuller, who is in her late 70s and has been hiking since age 10, is still hitting the trails, especially those in her beloved Sawtooths and White Clouds.
She is the author or co-author of five Idaho hiking guidebooks and three books of natural history.
When she first started looking for trails in the Sawtooths in the 1960s, she couldn’t find complete information.
So, she wrote what she calls the first comprehensive hiking guide for the Sawtooth and White Cloud mountains.
“Trails of the Sawtooth and White Cloud Mountains” was published in 1979.
Good hiking, Margaret!
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors
Statesman outdoor writers Pete Zimowsky and Roger Phillips alternate columns on Sunday. Look for Roger next week.