Friday, October 22, 2010

Worst Camp Host Ever

Last weekend we went to Arches National Park.  We had reservations for three camp sites since March.  The problem is that this was a long weekend for public schools and typically the last camping weekend for families. 

We got to the campsites and set up two trailers in one site (we had three sites and three trailers, just two in one site).  We abided by the rules by having only 9 people at the site and both trailers fit in the site without going outside the lines. 

The host came along and asked us to move the trailer to the other site.  There is a rule we were told that only one trailer per site.  The trouble was that the trailer in front was incapacitated and would be a lot of trouble to move. 

We asked the hosts to reconsider because of the trouble and the potential of danger for little kids if we moved the trailer to another site.  The other site was at the top of the hill and the site dropped off precipitously.  Kids could get hurt if they ran around too much.  The husband host told us this wasn't his problem, we made the reservations.  I should have seen our eventual run-in coming from this comment.

The hosts said it was a rule and if they let us stay then they would be overrun by rule breakers the next year.  We told them we wouldn't do it again and besides we have been coming to this campground for many years, often putting two trailers in one site and had not heard of this rule.

We looked on our reservation, the posted rules at the campsite and online.  We found rules about quiet time, number of people in the site and parking cars but nothing about the number of trailers in the site.

The next day we (my youngest of the oldest daughters - a real spitfire and a great kid - I am really proud of her for sticking to her guns) went to the camp hosts to ask to see the rule about one trailer per site.  This is when it got fun.

They said the rule about one trailer per camp site wasn't written but they make the rules and they said so.  While the wife camp host was calling the ranger for verification her husband gets up from his seat and starts telling us that if we don't like it "there are lots of great hotels in Moab". 

After some discussion with the Ranger we were allowed to keep both trailers where they were.  All it would have taken was a little diplomacy on the part of the camp hosts to get us to see the dangers (I can't for the life of me see the security or hazard concern) of two trailers in one site and we would have been more willing to move.  Instead they chose the "my way or the highway" attitude and we had a battle of wills on our hands.

Camp hosts are supposed to help make your visit to our national parks more enjoyable.  They are usually laid back retired couples that are just happy to be there.  Maybe because it was the weekend I described above, they were on edge.  I can only say that our experience was less than pleasent.

I will still go back to Arches and I will probably try to put two trailers in one site and see if they make a fuss (sorry Mom, I just can't help it).  I just won't go back during this particular weekend, not just because of this experience with the camp hosts, but also because of the traffic, the inconsiderate slob who washed her hair in the sink clearly marked "Dish Washing Only" (I actually saw a woman do this) and because of the guy who continued to run his Blazer up and down the road all day at 30 mph (the speed limit is 15) after being told to slow down and watch out for kids. 


The Gearheads said...

I have to agree, usually camp hosts are very, easy going and nice. These two were a bit on the bitchy side. I disagree with the policy "the hosts run the site, it's their decision" because really, what were they going to do with us? Could they kick us out? Do you think we would have remotely listened to them? Or would they have to rely on the government paid, trained Park Rangers, the official "LAW" of the National Park? Rules for these campgrounds need to be posted, and I believe they are. I sure would like to know why these camp hosts didn't do anything about the yahoos driving 30 mph in the clearly marked (written rules) 15 mph.
I did like that one of those guys, when I yelled at him to slow down, said "I'm going downhill" file that under really lame excuses, especially since he did 30 on the way back up to. When I yelled "What is your excuse this time" he yelled back "Kiss my ...".

Anyhow, thinking of changing our location next time.

Pedro said...

Dear Gearheads,

Thanks for your comments. I don't think we need to change the venue, just the date. We should avoid that weekend. Maybe it was just me but it seemed that Saturday Night things returned to normal. There were no screaming bands of boy scouts roaming free, the traffic had lightened and most were going the speed limit and things seemed quieter and more reserved. I say we go back on another weekend.