Hoodwinked

I don’t often rant, but when I do…it’s about feeling crowded in or squeezed out.

As I have mentioned, campgrounds in the PNW have been impossible to get this summer. It’s noticeably more crowded here than my trip in 2014. Two years ago, I had no problem finding a place to park at the scenic state parks up and down the coast without a reservation, as long as it was mid-week. This year, whether it be looking for a campsite or strolling the aisles of Fred Meyer, it’s hard to tell a Tuesday morning from a Saturday afternoon. In short, it’s getting crowded out here, folks….at least in the PNW.

Kayaking in the clouds. Trillium Lake, OR

Kayaking in the clouds. Trillium Lake, OR

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Trillium Lake at sunset

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Maybe it’s just my perception from scanning all the Facebook groups in my newsfeed with dozens of posts per day, brimming with enthusiasm, “Thanks for the add! The wife and I just picked up the travel trailer yesterday and look forward to seeing you all out on the road real soon!” Between the trifecta of low fuel prices, improved cellular coverage, and the tiny house movement, the RV population is on the rise at a rate of around 12% according to RVIA.

Beautiful Timberline Lodge near Mt Hood, built 1937.

Beautiful Timberline Lodge near Mt Hood, built 1937.

Exterior shots and aerial footage of the Timerline Lodge were used as the "Overlook Hotel" in Stephen King's movie, The Shining.

Exterior shots and aerial footage of the Timerline Lodge were used as the “Overlook Hotel” in Stephen King’s movie, The Shining.

The Gift Shop makes the most of pop culture from the 1980 movie.

The Gift Shop makes the most of pop culture from the 1980 movie.

I’m sad to say, but it seems like the homeless situation seems to have mushroomed as well, many living in tents, spilling out of the cities into the national forests. No longer feeling like “enchanted forests,” they seem to be more often strewn with litter, broken glass, and whole rolls of discarded toilet paper.

Guess what else is happening at the Timberline Lodge?

Guess what else is happening at the Timberline Lodge?

I was feeling like a proud parent that the Tracker made it up the 6,000 ft hill until I saw these beauties...

I was feeling like a proud parent that the Tracker made it up the 6,000 ft hill until I saw these beauties…

Interior of the Timberline Lodge

Interior of the Timberline Lodge

I read a New York Times article yesterday about how the homeless are seeking refuge in the forests of Nederland, CO, causing conflict between the outdoor enthusiasts and the forest residents, angered at being referred to as “vagrants.” I can’t help but have concern for the over-taxed BLM, particularly with political changes in the wind.

The Mount Hood/Government Camp area offers a plethora of good hiking trails.

The Mount Hood/Government Camp area offers a plethora of good hiking trails.

Trail leading from the lodge to intersect the Pacific Crest Trail

Trail leading from the lodge to intersect the Pacific Crest Trail

The PCT is a good place to hike with a sore foot, as I can go in many directions without getting too far from the car.

The PCT is a good place to hike with a sore foot, as I can go in many directions without getting too far from the car.

I have been boondocked in a scenic spot in the shadow of Mt Hood National Forest for three blissful days, compliments of a tip from my friend Jeanne. The forest is fairly populated, but there’s a comfortable distance between us. Unfortunately, there’s quite a bit of trash left behind. I pick up what I can, but the rest is too “marginal” to put inside my car, and there are no facilities here. I discover the previous tenant has been using the stream down the hill for an outhouse. Sometimes the “pack it out” campaign in lieu of trashcans and pit toilets backfires.

Timberline offers the only year-round lift-served skiing in North America.

Timberline offers the only year-round lift-served skiing in North America.

They are grooming the small patch of snow on the mountain. Lift operates until 3pm.

They are grooming the small patch of snow on the mountain. Lift operates until 3pm.

A woman and her young daughter in a van approach to ask how long I plan to stay. She so pleasantly pleads that her “church group” is coming tomorrow, and could they have my spot when I leave? She promises they won’t be here until “late tomorrow night.” I tell her no problem, I plan on leaving mid-day tomorrow. She then asks if I would mind if they pitch “a couple of tents” near my rig so they could stake out their territory before the larger group is to arrive tomorrow. I tell her sure, no problem as long as they are quiet, and please don’t build a campfire right outside my window.

The lodge is 6,000 and summit is 11,245. That's Mount Jefferson in the distance.

The lodge is 6,000 and summit is 11,245. That’s Mount Jefferson in the distance.

Mount Hood is an active volcano. Fumraoles can be seen from the ski lift, I am told.

Mount Hood is an active volcano. Fumraoles can be seen from the ski lift, I am told.

I head out for a trip up Mt Hood to visit the Timberline Lodge, and do a short hike along the PCT to test out the foot. When I come back, I find at least 10 tents surrounding me, each filled with shrieking kids riding their bicycles in figure eights around my Winnie. There are two generator-running Class A rigs parked close enough to ask, “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” They have strung a tarp between them with Christmas lights and a church-style buffet, and have the campfires burning with at least 20 people sitting right outside my rig. The poor Winnie looks like a wallflower sitting on the outskirts of the kum-ba-yah Vacation Bible School cookout. Hoodwinked by the Church Lady!

My beautiful boondock before the church goers crash.

My beautiful boondock before the church goers crash.

There's a nice loop trail around nearby Mirror Lake.

There’s a nice loop trail around nearby Mirror Lake.

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This pisses me off to the point of my head exploding, so I walk over and ask her why she lied to me, and if this is how she represents her “church” intentions in front of her children?

This makes me “shaking mad,” so at almost 7:00pm, I move out of my idyllic forest spot into the adjacent open meadow. Then after dark, a guy pulls up and parks next to me with his radio blaring. He and his girlfriend get out their anti-gravity reclining chairs and sleeping bags for an all night viewing party to watch the meteorite shower. In the vast meadow, they choose to park right beside me. With the radio blaring. Right outside my bedroom window.

Peace and quiet seems to be our fastest dwindling natural resource.IMG_5691

30 thoughts on “Hoodwinked

  1. I was “shaking mad”, even before I came to your reference to that feeling, for you and for what has happened to that area. I will control myself (hopefully) to NOT say what you just found out about “church” people. (This is the sound of silence ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^). I admit to being curious what her response was.

    Must control fingers !!!!

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

    • Judie, she claimed she was not aware that they were all arriving a day early, but “I don’t think they should bother you.” I said, “They are ALREADY bothering me by running those generators right outside my window!” She just held her hands up and shrugged…

    • It’s ironic that you mentioned the homeless. We drove from the Olympic peninsula through Tacoma last month and stopped at the I-5 rest area in Tacoma. I have never seen so many old beater trailers and cars, some with plastic or rugs covering them. I found out later that the homeless is taking over the rest areas in that area.

  2. I am so sorry to hear of how rude other campers were to you. I too would have had my blood boiling. Congratulations on telling that church lady she lied. I would have just moved away and stayed so angry for days. And I don’t understand why someone would park right next to another camper when there was plenty of open space. Oh well, let your anger go and enjoy the good kind campers you run into. Hope your next camping location is more private and enjoyable.

  3. I saw and felt the change in 2010. I think the Internet told everyone who didn’t want to pay a mortgage, taxes, or be responsible and courteous, where to park their rudeness. Pretty bad when Colorado seems crowded–I won’t be in PNE until spring. I bracing for the disappointment.:(

  4. This is seriously depressing. I have been feeling the same thing. Everywhere I go there is no peace and no quiet. I’m serious as I have said for several years now that I think we are 10 years too late for responsible fill timing. It had become the latest fad and those of us with blogs extolling the wonders of all we see are part of the problem. I feel your pain. Church group indeed.

  5. Should have told her you were now going to invite all your fellow RVer’s for a nude beerfest party. Yep I would have to find something that would have irritated them more… since they started the challenge…

  6. Sorry to hear about all of your noise while trying to camp in peace and quiet. Isn’t it amazing, the lack of respect by some people?

    Yet …. you’re photos are fantastic!!!

  7. If you remember the baby boomers created double sessions in high schools and swamped colleges….is just demographics moving into retirement.

  8. Your Beautiful Photos seem to be mismatched with the narrative. I’ll stick with the photo story; after all, it’s not true unless there is a picture of it. 😉

  9. I guess they didn’t read in the Bible where it says ‘Do onto others as you would have them do onto you’ (something like that). It is sometimes hard to enjoy this beautiful country when there are inconsiderate people. Loved your photos. Take a deep breath & enjoy your day.

  10. Wow, in three years of full timing we’ve never experienced anything like that! I hope that church group someday has others “do unto them” as they “did unto you.” Ha!
    Nothing like adding insult to injury to move and have another set of clueless people move in right next to you. Hopefully your next move will be to a peaceful spot.

  11. Terry and I agreed that we were pissed just reading this. We had to have a little chat with several families while in Lake Louise campground, whose kids were running around screaming through others’ sites at 10:30 pm. I struggle with the level of disrespect some campers have for their neighbors. We hope that your next stop is peaceful. On a lighter topic, your photos are wonderful and took me on a trip down memory lane as we walked those same trails and visited the Timberline Lodge.

  12. You know this is the first year that Paul and I have seriously thought about finding a place to settle down, even if just part-time. It’s been the craziest summer I’ve seen with campgrounds booked outmost he in advance. It’s made summer RVing way more stressful than it should be….at least for us.

    I would have been raging mad too, by the way. In fact I got mad just reading your post…gruff

    Nina

  13. so now you know – don’t be so nice! Just shows you how hypocritical some religious people are. They don’t care if they break the 10 commandments. Whereas I’m not religious and wouldn’t lie, because it’s not right. Go figure.

  14. I suggest you borrow their Christian flag and march through their campsite singing “Onward Christian Soldiers”.
    Speaking as one who has had way too much experience at vacation Bible school.

  15. Yeah, that’s worth a rant! I was getting all pissed off just reading about your boondocking trials!

    We’ve been driving around Portland frustrated by the constant traffic. Talking about how we want to buy a house where it is QUIET!

  16. I’m just starting a two year romp across the country (visiting all of the “lower 48” states, and wouldn’t you know it … I started in WA and am just finishing up OR this weekend. I too saw huge crowds in WA and OR, especially along the coast.

    Oh the stories I could tell about “religious” friends and acquaintenances! I’ve worn out the word hypocrite from using it so much. Life goes on … just try to be a little wiser the next time the church comes a-calling. :-)

  17. Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who is bothered by bad behavior. The lack of manners and respect for others seems to be a growing epidemic. I see it often and it’s troubling. It’s tempting to dish it back but then we become the devil we despise. Anyway, congrats and well done on a good rant. It’s good to get this stuff out and not keep it bottled up. Does the soul good.

  18. I’m afraid thats becoming the way of current/future generations. They absolutely have no respect for others. I would have started my engine and let it run.

  19. You’re spot on about the increasing number of homeless. Seattle is full of ancient RVs lining the streets in the SODO district (south of the dome). They’re even in Bellevue, which surprises the heck out of me. The crowding is frustrating. I hate having to book reservations months in advance, because we all know what happens to plans, but it’s becoming necessary. There are just too many people, and this will only get worse. Le sigh……………

  20. Such a shame all that natural beauty, peace, quiet, and serenity can be spoiled in a moment by the rude and crude. Some respectful church group huh. What is it with people anyway.

    I love Mt Hood and the Timberline is a marvelous old lodge. Took a lodge tour once and learned about all the CCC involvement.

    Hope you can find greener pastures, with no loud neighbors.

  21. Oh, I like Ava’s suggestion about having the nude beerfest party. That would have been fun to have seen her face. It’s sad to think that people can be so rude and inconsiderate. Even when camping with our 4 kids, we always tried to be quiet and considerate of our neighbors. EXCEPT for once in Canada (camping in our popup with our young kids) after listening to our neighbors party, drink, and tell lewd jokes until 2:00 AM. We had to leave very early the next morning and really didn’t worry about being very quiet as we cooked our breakfast. Told the kids not to worry about whispering or being quiet and even “accidentally” banged some pans while cleaning up.

  22. Forty years ago Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” foretold the result of over population. Paradise is not only paved with tar and stone; it is now strewn with the excess of too many people with too much stuff. Your being hoodwinked by the church lady is a microscopic telling of the Big Picture. Too many people throw away too much stuff without thinking about what “away” means. But forgive my doom and gloom–the silver lining in this post is the beauty you were able to capture above and beyond the debris of modern day civilization.

  23. Like Scott, I,m having trouble reconciling your glorious photos with your text.
    The photos all seem to beckon, “Please come visit us, get away from it all.”
    (Just leave a little cash behind)

    When I was up on the mountain in Shenandoah NP back in June, they had Skyine Drive shut down while Subaru was filming a ‘Subaru….Official Car of the
    National Parks’ commercial. It used to be if the dirt road was rocky enough or long enough or steep enough, it would deter a lot of the masses. No more.
    It seems kind of hopeless.

  24. I only camp part time and my times to go camp are seriously dwindling to nothing for that very reason. I cannot find anyplace to get away from the stupid rude people. I have more privacy and quiet at my few acres with my house actually. It looks like by the comments you are not alone. And heck, I know where to find “wilderness” locations in my state. The only good thing – the winter usually runs out most of the riff raff but then who wants to go camp?!

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