Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nez Perce Bear Paw Battlefield … “I will fight no more forever” — Chief Joseph

It was 137 years ago on Oct. 5, that Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce surrendered following the final battle of the four-month Nez Perce War of 1877 at the Bear Paw Battlefield.

Jimmy Smith reads about the Nez Perce War. (Julianne G. Crane)
"The 1877 flight of the Nez Perce from their homelands while pursued by U.S. Army Generals Howard, Sturgis, and Miles, is one of the most fascinating and sorrowful events in Western U.S. history," according to the U.S. Forest Service's Nez Perce National Historic Trail Webpage.

"Following the breakout of war in Idaho, nearly 800 Nez Perce (including elders, women and children) spent a long and arduous summer fleeing U.S. Army troops, first toward Crow allies and then toward refuge in Canada," states the National Park Service's Webpage. Nearly 100 died on the journey.

On Sept. 30, 1877, after traveling 1,170 miles through the mountains and only 40 miles short of the Canadian border, "400 troops and 50 scouts" surprised the Nez Perce encampment and attacked at dawn.

Battlefield marker (Julianne G. Crane)
Chiefs Looking Glass, Ollokot, and Too-hul-hul-sote along with many other warriors and Native people were killed during the five-day battle and siege in snow and freezing conditions.

The Nez Perce surrendered their weapons on Oct. 5.

"Some of the soldiers wrote in their journals that it was the coldest weather they had ever experienced," said Bear Paw Battlefield park ranger Stephanie Martin.

It is recorded that Chief Joseph spoke the following words on abdicating:

Chief Joseph's words. Click on image to enlarge. (Julianne G. Crane)

The battlefield is part of Nez Perce National Historical Park and Nez Perce National Historic Trail.

Battlefield sign. (Julianne G. Crane)
If you go:
- Bear Paw Battlefield from Chinook, Mont., (on Hwy. 2) travel 16 miles south on Route 240.
- Once there, walk the 1-1/2 mile self-guided trail to get a greater feel of this sacred site.
- There are picnic tables and vault toilets available.
- No charge.

To read more RV lifestyle articles by (Julianne G. Crane), go to

Photos from the top: Jimmy Smith reads about the Bear Paw siege. There are numerous plaques along the trail that mark significant points of the battlefield. Chief Joseph's words on surrendering at Bear Paw Battlefield on Oct. 5, 1877. Photos by Julianne G. Crane.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Park your RV on a Washington beach: Pacific Beach (video)

Finding a special place along the ocean beach is sure a rarity. Up in the Pacific Northwest, there aren't too many places where you can take your RV right out to the beach and stay for a day or two. But north of the mouth of Grays Harbor, about center point along the north-south Washington state line, lies the little burg of Pacific Beach.

The state maintains a park in Pacific Beach by the same name. Perched on the beach, in some sites you can sit in your rig and watch the tide roll in and out. Kite fliers and beach combers spend plenty of time decorating the seascape, and overall, its a quiet, relaxing park.

Some summer visit, you may catch those occasional brilliant days of blue sky and sunshine. But Washington's weather is notably fickle, and a two-hour stretch of sunlight can suddenly change into wind-driven rain that may hang around for weeks. Come winter, park in some of the "ocean front" sites and you can watch winter storms toss the waves around, helter-skelter.

Years back, you could come nearly anytime you liked and find a place to park your rig. But like a lot of those things we "love too much," nowadays you'd best have a reservation year-around.

Top picks for ocean views? Sites 1 through 6 are great, non-hookup areas. Several of these back up to a bluff, and you can drag your chair up on the bluff and have almost a private outlook over the beach. Sites 7 and 8, and 17 through 30 too, have super ocean views, and offer partial utilities. The park has other non-ocean view spots, too, that cost a few dollars less than view sites.

Welcome your guests with style!
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