We got the call on Wednesday, June 17. The Forest Service had cleared the fallen trees and had deemed Washington Lake safe to open. How soon could we get there? They really wanted us open for the weekend.
So we kicked it into high gear. Paul brought the trailer home and we spent all afternoon packing and loading. Thankfully we had already cleaned it and had done as much as we could prior to the final load, but as all of you who own trailers know well, it’s still a lot of work. That said, we pulled out on Thursday morning at about 10:30 AM. It was not exactly a stress-free departure, but we won’t go into that…
We stopped at Shady Dell to pick up our keys and fill up with water. Our area managers were delighted to see us and promised to bring our supplies that afternoon. With that assurance, we headed up to set up the trailer. The plan was to lock the gates behind us, set up our trailer, wait for our supplies and open to the public on Friday.
When we arrived at the gate to Washington Lake Campground, a truck with a pop-up trailer and an SUV parked directly behind us. Of course, we were now blocking the road to the Crystal Lake Trailhead as we attempted to open the gate. None of the keys we had would open the lock. One would go in, but would not turn. We managed to back up a little bit so traffic could go around us.
The man in the truck with the pop-up came to help. He and Paul diagnosed that the key was bent, so he fetched a hammer and some WD-40. They pounded out the key, sprayed it, and we got the gate open. Of course, we weren’t going to tell the man that had just helped us so much that he couldn’t come in and camp, so he followed us in. We shut the gate behind us.
As we were setting up, a young lady and a dog came under the gate. “Can I please camp here?” I told her we only had one bathroom open and one roll of toilet paper, and that none of the sites were clean. That was OK, she said. So we let her in. Soon after that another pop-up trailer came up. Resistance was futile. We opened the gates.
As campers came in, we gave them fair warning. The sites had not been cleaned. Only one stall in each restroom was open, and there was only one roll of toilet paper in each. Oh and by the way, we’re still charging the full campground fees. We’ll bring a receipt as soon as we get them. Nobody left.