|Shade played a huge part in our weekend!|
After we got all set up we found out quite a bit about what was happening and why. It turns out that there were three groups in competition for any site that became available. These groups were gathering their site grounds for the upcoming weekend and it was becoming a dog eat dog battle to secure sites.
|Our campsite was a bit crowded.|
One lady was in charge of gathering sites for forty-some friends who would be arriving on Friday. She was ruthless and willing to get up at 6 AM to place tags on sites where the occupant's tag said that the campers staying there would be leaving that morning. She used this method to squeeze our neighbor, Steve out of a site. He arrived just after she under tagged an opening site. Steve ended up sharing our site which worked out just fine.
|I like to let people be themselves. Really.|
Then, so she would not lose money on the three days she had paid each site fee, she would stop campers who were driving through looking for a place to stay and ask them how long they needed a site. If they only needed a site for less than the three days and would be leaving by Friday, she would take their money and allow them to use the site until that day. If they said they were wanting to stay longer, "No Camp For You!" She would keep the site tagged. The folks would have to move on. She was the Campsite Nazi!
Now, of course, this was very much against the rules and when the hosts arrived they were placed in a very tough position and had to straighten it all out. Vehicles were parked, fees were paid, but the license plates didn't match up on the tags and those vehicles.
But wait there is more!
One of the other groups was made up of Coeur d'Alene Tribe members and they were all up there to hold a Pow Wow over the weekend. They had reserved the group site and many of their members had secured sites in the camp area by leaving items in the sites as markers. It turns out that the Nez Perce and Coeur d'Alene Tribes have an agreement with the BLM allowing them to have sites without paying. (Will not comment on this.) These sites were recognizable by the total lack of a person present or the presence of six to eight vehicles in each site with a million people camping there. (I may have exaggerated a bit on this.)
All was well until the Campsite Nazi removed tags from some of the tribe folks' sites and placed her tags there. On Thursday night, when the tribal folks arrived and their sites were taken, I guess all hell broke out. Now, we didn't actually hear any of this as we were in sites farther away from the group sites, but we were told that both the Tribal Police and the Sheriff were in the campground to straighten things out.
In the upriver corner of the campground was the final group. Linda spoke with their leader and found that about 28 people had been camping together for over 20 years and their gathering was set to take place over the weekend. The woman said they had a couple sites, but not enough for their entire group. The Campsite Nazi had messed up their plans, but they were rule followers and didn't feel right being so ruthless.
Spread throughout this entire mess sat about four site owners, which included our two sites. We all watched everything that took place with amazement. There was a comradery amongst this small band and we smiled and chatted regularly as a steady stream of RVs and hopeful campers pulled through, only to be disappointed.
By the end of the week, we talked to the camp hosts and found that they had gotten things a little back to normal. A BLM employee had visited, and with the hosts' suggestions, changed some of the rules and posted the new guidelines. We hope for everyone's sake that it all works out. The weekend should be an interesting one.
All the above took place while we watched from the protection of our two sites. The week was very hot and we spent the time when we were in camp sitting in the shade and talking. Steve, Daren and I went fishing Tuesday and Wednesday, but the fishing was slow due to the heat. We ate wonderful dinners and Linda celebrated her 60th (insert Linda cringing here) birthday on the 24th.
|Route planning a Huckleberry Campground.|
|Bennett, Sheri, Ellen, and Nicole.|
During the evening we looked at maps and gave them suggestions on their next few days of travel. Before we went to bed we handed them our card and said that if they ran into problems, that they could contact us and we would help.
|Nicole, Ellen, Sheri, and Bennett.|
Friday morning arrived and we all packed up and drove home. Our camping adventure was over and I think we were glad to get home, out of the crowds and heat. We arrived home and got everything out of the camper.
|Cute shirt, alluding to their bike Chamois.|
|Off for their final leg to Spokane and then Portland.|
The next morning we provided coffee and sent them on their way. Such a nice foursome, they reminded me of all the college students I used to work with. I kind of miss that.
The bike route that the four cyclists followed, started with a train ride to Whitefish, Mt. They rode to Wallace, and hitched a ride to the Hiawatha Trail and rode down to Avery on the St. Joe. From there they appeared at Huckleberry and then rode on around through St. Maries to Chatcolet Lake, Idaho. Then they rode the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes to Harrison and finally followed HWY 97 along Lake Coeur d'Alene to Cd'A. They hooked up with the Centennial Trail and rode to Spokane where they caught their train at 2 AM and ended their adventure back in Portland. Oh, to be young again!