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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jerks and Jackasses

This is an open letter to all those people who have annoyed me over the years, ignoring campground rules, common courtesy, and generally ignoring the unwritten rules of polite human behavior. Too bad none of them will actually read this.

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I like to think of my fellow human beings as generally nice, altruistic even. Some of you have sorely tested this theory and I'd like to address these issues:

To the guy at the top of the Vernal Falls trail in Yosemite: was it really necessary to light up a cigarette as you blocked the trail, then toss it into the river when you were finished? I'm impressed you made it up there considering your tobacco addiction, but why must you litter? Why?

To the family who enjoyed a large spaghetti dinner in Sugar Pine Point State Park in Tahoe, then threw all the leftovers into the dumpster next to our camp and failed to close the lid (ignoring multiple warning signs about bear activity in the area). Were you trying to lure the bears in, or are you just illiterate? Just so you know, we chased the female bear and her cubs away at two in the morning, in the hopes of saving them from extermination for the bad habits you were encouraging.

To the older gentleman outside Lake Havasu who politely asked us if it was ok to run his generator for a few minutes to charge up his battery: when you said a few minutes we didn't realize you meant all night. I hope you got a good night's sleep because we laid awake and cursed your existence after trying unsuccessfully to knock on your door to ask you to turn it off. Maybe you just didn't hear us because your generator was so loud.

To the French-Canadian at the very crowded Many Glacier campground in Glacier National Park who, after passing up the campsite we decided to occupy, circled back and claimed he had already chosen it, but just hadn't paid for it yet: just so you know, we let you have it rather than make a scene in such a beautiful place. And we found a better one.

To the young men who set up camp next to us in the redwoods, opened the doors of their truck and started blasting heavy metal music: listening to your choice of music is generally not why we go camping. Especially when it makes our ears bleed.

To the boys that threw rocks off the overlook in Mesa Verde, narrowly missing us on the trail below: I'm sorry your parents wouldn't let you bring your Game Boys, but couldn't you find something else to occupy yourselves?

To the couple in the Plumas-Eureka campground who chose the site two spaces away, even though we were the only two vehicles in the entire park and there were fifty other spots to chose from: thanks for plugging in your generator and letting it run all day, then frowning at us the two times our dog barked. Apparently her noise was bothering you and I'm deeply (not at all) sorry.

Yosemite's Housekeeping units seem to attract a special breed:

  • To the woman who thought it was a great idea to bring her trumpet camping, playing it well into the night: Wow. Just wow.
  • To the family that pulled into camp past midnight and loudly unloaded their cars, shouting back and forth to each other as they set up camp, and even feeling it necessary to set the car alarm each and every time they left it to bring a load to the tent (Beep Beep! Beep Boop!): you guys are special. And great touch letting your little boy pee on the wall of your neighbor's unit.
  • To the mother-son duo who were occupying the unit behind ours that stayed up until 2:00am getting drunk and arguing loudly, even after repeated warnings from camp security to quiet down: no one cared who said what to who. In fact, we were all rooting for you to strangle each other just so we could get some rest.
  • To the unknown punks that slashed every other tire in the parking lot: say hi to the prison guards for us. Oh, and be careful in the showers...
February at Yosemite's Housekeeping Camp: the only time of year it's quiet.


And to the hundreds, if not thousands of decent, wonderful people we have shared camp with over the years; those who were friendly, who picked up trash even when it wasn't theirs and waved hello to be neighborly; to the guy who offered to help us change a tire on a brutally hot Death Valley backroad; to the couple that were taking off on a long backpacking trip and left us their extra food; to the older gentleman that brought firewood over when he saw we didn't have any; to the many campground hosts that made it their priority to make sure we had a good stay; to all the people that make camping a joy, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are the icing on the outdoor cake, what makes a great experience excellent. People like you far outnumber the clueless, ignorant nincompoops and for that I am sincerely grateful. 

Respectfully yours,

Kelly

Are we the only ones that are so lucky? Tell me about your worst experience with a fellow camper or hiker in an email (runningfrommoose@gmail.com) and I'll include it in a future post--credited to you of course!