I sighed when I realized where my fire assignment was this time. Loud trains rattle by at all hours in this place; there's really no escaping them. I knew I would have to choose wisely.
Fire camp was out. Not only are fire camps usually a hotbed of sickness ('camp crud" runs rampant), but there are generators, bright lights, cell phone talkers, and a bastion of snorers who seem to always plunk their tent right next door. Plus, camp was half an hour's drive away from the helibase on a highway rife with kamikaze deer. The helibase seemed logical, if it weren't for the aforementioned trains (22 a day, the district ranger gleefully informed us), and a particularly annoying airport beacon. There was also a local dog that barked all night as if it was its job. A campsite recon was required.
A site high on a bluff had potential, but was inhabited by cows and was even closer to the train. I drove down another dirt road and found a free campground. Green and quiet, it was a paradise with a creek running through it. I happily settled in.
|Dark, quiet, no people. Perfect.|
I experimented with a few things. I found that a person 5"5" or under CAN sleep in the back of a Ford Escape; however there is a daunting ridge that must be padded with clothes, tent bags, or anything at hand. I discovered that putting up my tent behind the mechanic trailer blocked the beacon. As for the trains, the noisiest one came by at about 10:30; after that they were somewhat bearable.
Best of all, staying there allowed more time for running on the trails I found and for a refreshing jump in the river. So while I didn't find that campsite that was "just right," it was tolerable. A camping Goldilocks like me could live with it.