It really bothers me that the government owns most of the nicest land in the mountains and they force you into tiny camps to pay hotel rates. This totally defeats the purpose of camping. I don’t go up there to fight traffic getting there then end up in a spot next to the dreaded “late night drinkers.” The ones that keep you awake all night. Not to mention again the $40 fee to go fishing. (This trip was peaceful and silent thankfully and I tried to stay away from campgrounds but it didn’t work) I never even follow trails to avoid people. I usually make my own trail along the rivers so I don’t get lost.
Now to the latest camping adventure. My first day arriving in the area I had to sleep in my truck sitting up at a truck stop because I had too much stuff to lay my seat back. No biggie really. It just sucked. When I finally arrived at the campground the next day I realized no one was there. Perfect! I had high hopes now. I drove to the deepest and last campground in the area to find it so empty not even the host was there. Knowing no on would see me I figured I would get adventurous and go off road. I weaved my truck in, around and even over downed trees to get to a river I knew was back there. I made it far in and figured no one could see me but just in case as you can see in the pictures below I was only partially done “camouflaging” my truck with branches. I chose this area of the state because it is known for it’s free “dispersed” camping, yet there is no signs where.
I finished covering by truck but apparently Red is a hard color to hide. :p I dug a latrine in the ground, gathered wood, hung my trash in a tree far away and made a small fire pit. My tent was set up high but close to the rivers edge. It took a while but I found the most beautiful place and was finally done so it was time to fry up some burgers.
Just as I finished cooking, out pops the campground host. Apparently I didn’t go deep enough to avoid detection or he just has killer eyes. The guy was a total jerk and I can only handle a jerk in small doses. He wouldn’t quit yelling at me like a little kid as I remained respectful using my military – yes and no sir. Finally he popped me mentally. I won’t even share what I said to him but it wasn’t pretty. 2 hours before dark he told me “you need to get out of here now.” Me boiling over I ripped my tent out of the ground contents and all and crammed it in my truck. As I left I couldn’t resist doing a dusty dohnut right in front of his campsite. I knew I did wrong in the first place but I also at some point demand some respect from anyone and certainly the “camp bastard general.”
I made it to the next campground down the road and the new hosts were the best people I have met in a long time. They even offered me dinner with them and we ended up being friends for the time.
After finding the best spot (by a river) I realized my anger caused me more problems. All the poles to my tent were now snapped. I decided to just crawl in and sleep in the deflated tent that first night (it was miserable to move) I don’t know why I didn’t think to put a pole in the middle to hold it up. I later found out that all the campground hosts knew who I was from the guy spreading the word just down the road.
A bit of advice: If you have a sirloin steak and drop it on the ground before cooking it…just trash it. I thought I could just brush it off and cook it good but apparently this wasn’t good enough but that was some best tasted grass fed shit. Late in the night, in my deflated tent my stomach woke me. There is nothing worse that rushing to find your boots and running down a dark road to the “facilities” in the middle of a cold night. My health went down hill from here.
Speaking of witch, there is two kinds of campers. One’s that never have to go and you’re a lucky one or there is the ones that end up doing the power walk of shame like you been drinking water from Mexico. When it’s a single bathroom you can’t help but pray at this moment that no one is in there. I’m sure god doesn’t like those prayers.
In all reality I had no business being up there. I always go exploring but this time I spent 9 days simply eating, sleeping and fishing. If I felt better I would have stayed another week. There were Ice caves, waterfalls and much more to see but I didn’t make it to any. My health has gone way downhill and I thought this trip would help. I constantly watch survival shows and wanted to try out some new stuff and I did get to do just a few things.
I started my first fire with a striker. Now this process did come with allot of words of anger and I kept thinking of that stupid Bic lighter in my pocket but I didn’t give up. I am also a person that has never eaten anything that came out of water. I see all sea food as sea bugs even after spending 10 years in Florida. One day fishing I decided it’s time to just man up and try it. I caught a trout but had no container for it. I got right in my truck and drove 2 miles back to my campsite with a fish in my left hand hanging out the window and the other on the steering wheel. I then proceeded to damn there cut the tip of my thumb off with my freshly sharpened knife while preparing the fish. After taping my thumb pieces back together I continued. I got to admit that trout don’t taste that bad but I wouldn’t go seeking it out. Another victory down! Then I wanted to see if I could track myself (I already know I can survive.) I walked off (not too far) into the deep, thick woods crossing two rivers, breaking small branches. I was proud to find my way back simply by footprints and broken twigs. I had a few little victories.
And ladies… a little spoiler alert cuz I know it drives you crazy but in the middle of the night the tent zipper is as far as we go to expel water when camping alone :p
On a random side note. Mosquitoes tend to be a lot less when you camp next to flowing water. I had 50% deet spray on me and didn’t get bit once.
The day I finally decided to go home was the only day I felt good oddly enough. That day I decided to go on a road trip to the top of the Continental Divide where the snow still is. I made it to the top and took some pictures along the way. There was no sense going down the other side and here is where I got real stupid again. The whole way up I didn’t see a single car (warning number 1 for break downs) Second stupid move was getting cocky. I was hauling but going back down knowing how to pump the breaks and downshift in areas like that with switchbacks. I slid multiple times but was having a kick in the ass until I lost control. I slid right into the side of the mountain smashing my truck and dragging the rock down the whole side of the truck. Now this was a good thing because the other side of the road was a sheer cliff. In my head the damage is no big deal because the turd mobile hasn’t had a heater in 3 years and I saw it as pay back to make myself feel better. Yeah… I slowed down the rest of the way lol.
Why go camping? It’s so much work and everything will go wrong. I still can’t answer that. No matter what I go through each time I still love the shit out of it and miss being up there when I get home. Maybe It’s making it through the challenges, trying out your survival skills or just plain peaceful with nothing to worry about. Ever since I was 16 I have always went to the mountains to clear my head and de-stress. When I get on a hike I become a little kid again and if I had my way I would never turn around. This drives Diana nuts. The only thing more peaceful is trying to find new ways to drive Diana nuts and maybe that’s why I come home lol.