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Archive for the ‘pontificating’ Category

So today is the second day of Spring. (Actually, the third now, because wordpress was down yesterday when I tried to post this.)  It’s the time of year when my camping planning is in full force.  It’s almost like an addiction—no, a ritual, yes, that sounds much better: a ritual.  Some time in mid-February I just can’t take the cold and the dark overcast skies (despite what I tell all my friends about liking overcast days) and the tremendous work ethic one is supposed to have in the winter months, and I just have to start plotting how I can spend multiple days outside—in nicer weather, of course, because I am a bit of a wimp.

Last year it was a trip to Yellowstone for a week.  It was very fitting that all my planning had been done in February because, despite it being June by the time I got there, the weather was much the same: cold and wet.  Actually, not that wet because the precipitation that fell came in the form of snow!  I was very glad that I had invested in some thermal underwear before we left.

This year I will be sticking closer to home.  You see, I have this crazy goal to visit all of the campgrounds in Olympic National Park, and then to write a guide book about them.  I guess the urge comes out of my obsessive spring camp-planning.  Each year, as I decide on an exciting new place to visit, I start collecting as much information as I can: natural features to visit, weather patterns, what wild flowers grow in the area… I look at tons of maps, check out guide books from the library, and visit National Park websites countless times.  I gather lots of good information, but one thing I can never find much of is info about campgrounds in the park.  The official park sites give you two sentences of description if you’re lucky, along with the number of sites and if there are flush toilets.  Guide books try to cover so much that you’re lucky if the campground you’re looking at gets half a page devoted to it.

So I’m going to try to step in and fill the void.  I want to provide people with the kind of information I want to know when planning a camping trip to a national park:

What kind of plants and animals I expect to see in and around the campground?

Can I eat those wild berries?

What can I do nearby?

Who is my neighbor likely to be?  A giant RV?  20 college students out to drink all weekend in the woods?

What are the best campsites like and which ones are they?

How about a map of the campground? And another of the nearby park features?

What should I do if it pours all week?

Can the vampires get me if I camp at Mora?

Join me as I try to answer these questions over the next several months.

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