I love to camp. By that, I mean real camping – with tents and cooking meals around a fire or camp stove and going on hikes and telling stories around the campfire. No offense to my friends who like to ‘camp’ at the Ramada Inn, it’s just that I love the outdoors and love to camp.
Granted, sometimes everything goes smoothly and sometimes it does not. To be clear, I have had my share of soaking wet sleeping bags, burnt food and freezing cold (or boiling hot) nights, but overall, I have a good time.
We just returned from a great time camping in the Santa Cruz Mountains, not far from San Jose, California. We had a good sized group of family members on my wife’s side and we settled for a few days into a fabulous group camping site at Big Basin Redwood State Park. Each family had plenty of room to pitch our tents far enough apart that we had some privacy, but at the same time, be able to watch everyone’s kids run and play as we had the entire area to ourselves. Our group camp was fairly remote (while being accessible via a paved road) and we only saw park rangers a few times a day as they came up to check on the area.
We had an excellent time and when it was over, made our way back to civilization – which for us was a four hour drive back to Sacramento – you would not believe the winding roads and slower pace that is required to get into the state park. As it so happened, some of the out-of-state family members also went to our house to spend a few days before heading back to their homes, which entailed another day or so of driving / flying.
Unfortunately, one of my wife’s nephews discovered that he had left a few bags of clothes at camp. 4 hours away! As bad luck would have it, the bags contained some rather high end camping gear (jackets, etc.) that were not worth walking away from. He immediately called the park and spoke with several people over the course of a few hours. He explained to them exactly where we were camping, verified that we had rented the space and had just left that day and asked if someone could drive the 15 minutes up the road to the remote sites and check to see if his bags were still there.
To sum up several hours of time he spent on the phone – the people were not overly helpful. They could not get anyone to drive the 15 minutes up to check on his bags, they advised him that he could wait for someone to turn his bags in to lost and found and that they would contact him. At first, they said he would have to pay to have them ship the bags to him, however, several people later, they decided that if (and a stress on IF) someone turned them in, they would actually ship them to him.
To spare you the longer story, he ended up driving back to the camp early the next day and went straight to the campsite, where a very nice and very large family from India had set up camp. His bags were exactly where he had left them (untouched) and he was able to retrieve them.
8 hours driving. 2 bags. Several unhelpful park staff.
One very honest and kind family who camped in the same spot and left his bags untouched. One happy nephew.
There’s a lot to be said here, let’s work on those (unsaid) things.
It’s fun to camp, and nice to be back to an Internet connection.
Thanks for reading,