It is Friday and I am near Mr. Rainer. I am not far from Seattle, Portland, Yakima and Ellensburg. Perhaps that is my err. Perhaps I have misjudged the proximity to the “big city” and now feel like it is moving in next door. I noticed a distinct increase in traffic this morning. I watched as the cars kept coming and coming, some made three passes before they went away. People were constantly walking by with their kids and their dogs and their sticks and their cameras. The mere presence of more people stressed me out. It was a cool and overcast morning. I was hoping for rain. The Jeep is a hot mess in desperate need of a wash. No such luck. None. I was as chill as the morning air wafting over the trees.
I needed a town day for charging and internet and supplies. The library was bitching and I gladly gifted a WSU cup to the nice lady who helped me. She talked about her and her husband both being WSU alumni. Shit, I just worked there and have some shirts. I would rather keep my BJJ cup than a WSU cup. She was very helpful and answered all of my questions about the local services, or lack thereof. Seriously, folks, $7 for a fucking shower???? I must admit that the heads-up on the firewood for sale at the grocery store saved me bank. They charge 2.5 times that amount at the campground. I will rethink this shower thing and improvise. There has to be another option in the next five days. Perhaps I shall set a new record for me sans shower. If I can only stand myself.
Yet, I digress… the campground is just about full and I cannot tell you how many cars have and are still passing through. I know this to be true and it plays out right now – you never, never wait until Friday night to get to your camp spot!! You will either not get one or get the last of the remaining options, and they usually suck. I am quite content and happy at the site I chose on Wednesday. Thursday is the latest I will ever attempt a change in my camp site, and Monday to Tuesday is preferred. I now have a new understanding for the term “weekend warrior”. Shit, they are all here.
As the number of people increases, so does the number of folks who do not give one actual fuck about this park, it’s preservation, the rules or the common courtesy of living out of the doors. We have folks who park where the NO PARKING sign is, people who take their dogs where the NO DOGS ALLOWED sign is, the usual folks who hike off the trail, destroy the undergrowth, and basically make it impossible for the forest to regenerate. There is the graffiti all over the ancient trees and walkways that may never recover.
I overheard one guy talk to a family about his pinecone. The guy was in a van and had a ginormous pinecone on his dashboard. He mentioned that he got it in Yosemite National Park. Well, I guarantee you there are signs everywhere that tell you NOT to take that which belongs to the park out of the park. In fact, you are not even permitted to scavenge firewood or pick a flower. Yet, here he is impressing the shit out of these kids who will, in turn, want a giant pinecone of their own. I had to restrain myself from stepping in and informing the kids that taking that item was against the rules and explaining to them the impact of taking all of the natural resources away from nature.
Imagine if you will – the National Parks in the US host millions, yes I said MILLIONS, of visitors per year. Imagine if only one portion took a pinecone. Let’s say that is 500,000 pinecones that are now NOT contributing to the regeneration of the trees or the forest floor. Cut that in half again and you have 250,000. Seriously, folks, what the actual fuck are you thinking???? Yes, it is cool and unique and uncommon. Yes, it is a conversation starter. You are also breaking the law, harming our natural resources, and fucking up nature. Take a picture and then put it back.
As I write this a dog from the neighboring campsite is now in my camp. This dog is completely oblivious to any verbal commands and does not give one shit about me or the owners. This dog is free to roam where it chooses. I can also hear music coming from the dogs camp. Invaders and noise pollution. Great. Now the other neighbors dog is barking. I am guessing because dog #1 is now in their camp. There is music and people and barking and kids yelling and banging. Help me Lord Jesus, help me!
What just happened? Where did my camp go? What happened to the solitude of nature and the woods and the river and the trees??? I feel like I have put up my tent in Central Park! Lest we forget the loads and loads of gear all of these folks bring with them. Stoves and tents and cabanas and games and, apparently, music. I have not one worry about bears in my camp while these folks are near. Not one.
It just does not stop. The cars, the barking, the music, the voices. My happy place is now gone. I have no escape. I do have wine. A bottle. Well, half of a bottle by now. I have wine and my book. There is that. There is also the river. Thank God and all that is mighty in this world that the river continues to drowned out most of the superfluous noise. Most, but not all.
My new challenge is to survive until Sunday when they all leave. When camp will again be a place of solitude, calm, peace and relaxation. When the kids and the dogs and the music will be back where it belongs, in the city, in a dwelling, and away from me. I have a new challenge before me. The challenge will be to survive the weekend. My challenge will be to tolerate the dumb fucks, the idiots, the assholes and the oblivious who rape, pillage and plunder this land, these resources and this natural beauty. The weekend now sucks. That sucks. These people suck. Let’s pray:
God grant me the serenity to not hurt someone, the courage to get through the next two days, and the wisdom to stay out of jail.