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Monday, May 4, 2015

After the Weekend is Over - Camphosting in a State Park

Our High Cliff State Park was very busy this weekend.  I would say about 80% occupancy, with lovely weather in the high 70's and no rain in the forecast until later Sunday night.

As the folks started rolling in on Friday, we got a few questions, gave a few answers and chatted with a lot of folks. Our campsite is open and friendly ... and folks come on in to chat and share some stories, compliments and yes, even some complaints.

We have our campfire burning 
and enough extra chairs around it for folks to sit and chat.  

Throughout the weekend, we get to "people watch" folks around the park.  But these three boys stole the show!  (I got permission from their mom to post this)  We saw them walk past our site with two dogs.  The smaller pug seemed to need to take a "poop" and it was obvious all three boys were fascinated watching it happen. They all stood and stared as the dog did it's thing.  Then next was the decision of WHO had to clean it up!  One boy was already carrying a green bag with a rather large deposit in it, assumedly from the larger yellow lab.  Now they were passing the roll of green bags back and forth to each other... each one passing it back like a Hot Potato! The boy in the dark green Packer  shirt flopped onto the ground in protest, and laid there a while, next to the poop!  He seemed to have lost some bet and it was he who finally cleaned it up and off they went.   We were left in stitches from the safety of anonymity inside of our motorhome behind the windshield.

Later, as we walked around the park, 
we found their parents and informed them 
how well their boys did on "poop duty" .. 

Some of our regular type problems were a noisy campsite, with a few complaints from the surrounding campers.  Three tents of young 20somethings, music and drinking.  We, as camphosts, don't have to do any confrontations. We just notify the rangers and they took care of the offenders.  They were asked to leave the park, and the ranger gave them an hour and half to arrange for rides and clean up their gear.  (they had been drinking of course)  The mess left behind was not acceptable, and they are also now going to be given a ticket for the littering.  Not to mention the nasty message left on the picnic table written, I think, with tooth paste?  Hmmmmm

In the campsite right across from us, we did have a large heavy top branch of a tree break off and was dangling dangerously down by a thin section of bark, ready to be a "widow maker" or at the very least, a dagger through someone's RV or tent roof.  We had to tape off the site, and get the office to make arrangements with the reserved people to find them another site in the campgrounds for the weekend.  Tomorrow the crew is going to come and remove it so the site can be used again.

Our dumpsters for all of the park trash are located a long distance from the camping areas.  The coons have already found the dumpsters for a free meal!  Dangnabbit!   The coons have a hard time getting in the top flip doors, but these dumpsters have some rear sliding door panels to allow access into the inside.  Those stinker coons have figured out how to slide those panels open to get to the goodies inside.  Steve thought he would outsmart them and laid blocks of wood in the sliding tracks to keep the coons from opening them up.  What happened to those blocks? We don't know.  We are thinking someone took for them firewood!  But the coons are back and happy to get inside.  This week, I think Steve will put some metal pipes in the tracks and see how that works?

We had one lady letting us know about someone cutting down LIVE trees for campfire wood!  She was also a former host from another park and knew that was a definite no-no.  During the winter months, the crews cut down 45 bad trees in the park, and left a lot of debris behind for campers to gather and use for firewood.  WHY do they need to cut down live trees????  Besides, green wood doesn't burn.  Geesh.

On another campsite, two great kids were busy busy busy collecting downed limbs and branches.  Look what they created????  They learned how to build a shelter!

I almost hate to tear it down this week when I go to clean the campsite.  
Sure beats kids just sitting around staring at their hand held video games! 

Sunday morning I baked up a cinnamon coffee cake, and we set out with a big pot of coffee for anyone who stopped in.  Nice to have a bit of social camaraderie with folks before they have to pack up and head out.  We even gathered a few names for future camphost positions!

As the campground emptied out, we had a bit of time to run home for a few more things that I forgot the last time.  Making lists helps a lot, but ya know what helps even more?  Remembering to take the lists WITH us when we go there to get the stuff we needed!!!  

Our house seems lonely without us.  Neighbors all greeted us and want to know when we will be back.  The grass is starting to grow, so we should run in to cut it in the next day or two.  Steve hauled two buckets of crushed gravel for in the firepit in our backyard....

 Now we are all set for backyard campfires
(once we get back home from camping?)

While Steve was gathering a few more things, I watered my flowers. I was admiring the tulips and my hydrangeas that all seem to be thriving. I just planted those sprigs of hydrangea last spring and they are really taking off well!

We hopped back in the car and headed back to the campground. Oh oh.. self-inflicted detour!  Sunday night is chicken dinner at High Cliff Supper Club by the golf course. $5.99 for 4pc chicken dinner, mashed taters, stuffing, veggie and a biscuit.  Great deal!   That was our treat for a long weekend of camphosting!

We had HUGE thunderboomers and rain storms last night.  We knew it was coming, and had rolled up our awning and put away our chairs.  I could hear the rain start on the roof about midnight, then the lightening and thunder rolled on in. The dogs mostly slept through it, and didn't seem bothered by it, thank goodness!  (Ducky, our last collie was a quivering mess during thunderstorms and taught Duke the sheltie to be scared too!)

This Monday morning dawned hazy, but was soon bright and sunny. The campfire pits were too wet and soggy for my shovelling out of ashes.  I took the morning off to be lazy, and then did up a quick pan of brownies, bowl of tater salad and packed it up with pickles and buns to bring up to the maintenance shop. They were having a staff meeting and someone was cooking brats on the grill for lunch.  After I delivered my goodies I drove back on the Gator on one of the walking trails through the newly greening woods. Ahhhhhhh

While I was driving, my phone rang, so I turned off the Gator.  While sitting out in this pretty place with sunshine and warmth, I chatted with my daughter Heather for a bit.  How nice is that?  I could be stuck in some stuffy office cubicle, or locked up in a drudgery-laden factory.  But no, instead I am in this fantastic state park, chatting with my family, and having a ball!

This evening, I set up my sewing machine inside for a while and worked on some quilt blocks.  These are going to be more potholders for the kitchen at home.  I have a few projects along to work on, thinking it was going to be a rainy day or two. Always have to have something going on ya know.

We took one more walk around the campground this evening with the doggers on the leash. They are sure enjoying this camphost gig, and are getting better and better at meeting strangers.  Even two basset hounds tonight!  Time to kick back now and watch that David Letterman special.


  1. Sounds fun. How cute those young boys were. The rolls looked yummy!

  2. Always love reading your blogs. We need to get more chair so when folks stop by we have room for more than two visitors. Trouble is we are already hauling around more stuff than we have place for in the coach and the car. Well, dear one, keep on inspiring us. We improve our camp hosting and RV skill with each blog you write.

  3. I think we need to come camping when you are hosting in August....your baked goods look so yummy! I love spring in Wisconsin. We are having great May weather. I'm finally getting caught up reading your past blog entries. Glad to hear you had a great vacation, minus the Tracker problems. And I have to once again say, I don't know where you get so much energy. Whew!


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