I have been Camp Host at Wild Plum Campground for a little more than two weeks now. Wild Plum is a small Forest Service campground tucked in behind a residential area about one mile from Sierra City, California in the gold country. The first few days were just a tad boring..basically cleaning toilets (they aren’t really that bad) and checking “guests” in and out of their camp site. What ever happened to the good old fashioned term “camper”.
The PCT passes the campground within a mile or so, so I had a chance to hike and explore a little during my first few days. One day I followed the PCT south along Milton Creek which eventually leads to Jackson Meadows about 9 miles. Another day I followed to PCT north to Love Falls. Some of the wild flowers were absolutely gorgeous.
My biggest challenge has been lack of sun. The host site is in the shade and only gets about one hour of good sun a day...not nearly enough for the solar panels to charge the batteries and if it’s cloudy...Well, I negotiated with my boss and moved temporarily to a site where I get some morning and some afternoon sun which seems to be working. But...if someone reserves that site I have to move back to the host site.
Then came Memorial Day Weekend. The campground has 45 sites, 40 are reservable and the other are first come first served. All of the reservable camp sites were reserved for some or all of the long weekend. The campground has about 20 sites that will accommodate small RVs/trailers, but all sites are open to tents. To make things complicated, some folks reserved for one or two nights and other for the whole weekend leaving some sites open for a night or two for walk ins. Then there were the campers who reserved a site and wanted to switch sites...are you kidding me??!! Then there were the campers who had more than 6 bodies on a site and there is an extra charge per person over 6 and, extra cars...another charge per car over the one allowed per site. Geeze..could it get more complicated??
Then comes the paperwork. The campground is run by a concessionaire (I am an employee of the concessionaire) under contract with the Forest Service...a government entity...i.e. a huge paper consumer. Need I say more. I spent 8 hours filling out paperwork...There are reports for reports and more reports, and most could easily be done on a spread sheet on the computer, which would make balancing out much easier. One interesting statistic: on Saturday, before Memorial Day, there were over 157 people staying at the campground (at least that was what was accounted for on the reservation forms) and all 45 camp sites were filled.
So I survived and I haven’t even been through the “official training” which takes place in two weeks...on my days off. Wonder how that will work. .....?
So, a friend of mine emailed me the other day saying she is digging really deep to find something positive to the whole hosting thing since there is poor sun, no internet, no cell, no satellite TV, no over the air TV, no power, basically at the beck and call of guests, and I have to use my own car j Well, I get a free campsite and get paid to camp in a really pretty place.
Stay tuned. Anyone taking bets on my longevity here? So do you want to be a campground host?