Heavy snow was falling silently and coating the surrounding sagebrush, pinyon pines and junipers in a thick crust.
The on-and-off again storm dumped about 6 inches of new snow throughout the night.
The blanket of snow put a deep silence on the campground. It was super silent, as silent as only a still, moonlit winter night can be in snow country.
The only thing breaking the silence every once in a while were packs of coyotes yelping like crazy from one end of the valley at Almo to the other.
The outside temperature was around 30 degrees, and it looked like an ice box with a blue tint outside.
But we were snug in our camper with an electric heater producing an inside temperature of 70 degrees.
Electricity and winter camping, thats the ticket to enjoying a few nights in the snowy mountains and deserts of Idaho.
Idaho has state parks that provide electric hookups all winter, and its a sure-fire way to enjoy camping during colder months.
One thing about it, the state parks sure look and feel different in winter.
We were camped at Castle Rocks State Park near Almo a few weekends ago. We got to enjoy the park, the City of Rocks National Reserve, and a dinner and hot springs in Almo. Read more about it in Idaho Outdoors on Feb. 21.
Meanwhile, back in the camper, we enjoyed hanging out, picking tunes on the mandolin and getting out a few times to look at the snowstorm, which looked like natures version of a pillow fight.
The key to winter camping in your RV is to make sure youve drained all water and holding tanks thoroughly and added RV anti-freeze to avoid freezing the pipes and causing damage to the water pump.
Youll have to bring water because most state parks turn off the taps at campsites. We got by with five gallons for two nights.
Make sure you have a shovel for digging out a campsite and clearing ice from in front of your door.
Bring a long extension cord in case you cant quite pull up to the power supply because of snow.
You might also want a long-handled broom or push broom to clear snow off your roof to avoid any damage from snow loading or leaky vents.
Make sure you have all the propane youre going to need.
With todays modern RVs, theres no reason not to camp in the winter with electricity.
Several Idaho state parks keep campgrounds open in the winter and provide electricity. Its puzzling that some dont.
With the growth in winter recreation snowmobiling, Nordic skiing, ice fishing and snowshoeing it would be wise for Idaho state parks to keep campgrounds open through winter and give campers more options and the parks more revenue. The extra bucks could certainly help the state parks budgets.
Here are some state parks that offer electricity in winter:
Castle Rocks, south of Burley.
Lake Walcott near Rupert.
Massacre Rocks near American Falls.
Three Island Crossing at Glenns Ferry.
Bruneau Dunes, south of Mountain Home.
Hells Gate at Lewiston.
Priest Lake, northwest of Sandpoint.
For information, go to parksandrecreation.idaho.gov.
IDAHO POWER PARKS
Lets not forget Idaho Powers parks in Hells Canyon. All have electricity available in winter.
There are plenty of choices: Woodhead, Copperfield, McCormick and Hells Canyon.
The parks are northwest of Cambridge off Idaho 71.
For information, go to idahopower.com.
Plug in and have fun camping this winter.
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors
Statesman outdoor writers Pete Zimowsky and Roger Phillips alternate columns each Thursday in Idaho Outdoors. Look for Roger next week.