Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Reminiscing at Hoop Lake

We decided not to work as campground hosts this year – mainly because we spent four months in the trailer during the winter and were ready to spend some quality time in the house and yard.  But when it was time to go camping, we decided to go to the first area we hosted – Hoop Lake on the North Slope of the Uinta Mountains.

We didn’t actually camp at Hoop Lake.  There is only one site in the main campground big enough for our trailer – and it’s not the host site!  We camped near the Middle Fork of Beaver Creek.  We rode to Hoop Lake several times.

The lake is as high as I have ever seen it, and as of June 25 they had not opened the spillway to let water out.  Of course, they didn’t need to.  The trailhead near the campground was under a foot of water – again, as of June 25.

Some things hadn’t changed.  The campsites are as rustic as ever, and after hosting at Washington Lake, seemed even smaller.  We ran into our Forest Ranger, Nancy, at the lake.  She told us that she would likely retire next summer, so it was great to see her one last time.  She was doing double duty as there was no camp host.  Not surprising.  Only in the month of July does Hoop Lake get enough business to justify paying the host couple 30 hours a week.  We were paid 20 hours a week in June and August.  Our area managers at the time commented that it was a difficult post to fill.

Some changes had been made.  Sites 1 and 2 on the horse camp side have been made double sites.  Also not surprising.  We were used to having several trailers on those sites, and we charged per trailer.  The good news was that we could charge half price to Senior Pass and Access Pass holders.  These discounts don’t apply to double sites in most National Forest Campgrounds.  A sign requesting a trailhead fee of $3 per vehicle per day is now posted at the horse camp. 

When we hosted at Hoop Lake four years ago I was a rookie runner.  It took all summer before I was able to run up the hill on the lake side of the main loop without stopping to walk.  And I didn’t even think about running up the hill to the horse camp.  This year, even on my first day running, I made it up the lakeside hill and ran all the way to the horse camp.  It was great to realize that I am that much stronger – even though I’m also that much older.

While I loved the walk down memory lane, it was really nice to drive back to camp and then, when the camping trip was done, to drive home.  I’m loving the summer off!