|Mogollon Rim Arizona|
I’m still irritated. It’s been a week, and I thought I’d wait until the anger had passed to write about this, but I may not live that long.
Here’s the thing. Camping etiquette is eroding. So many people are bored and feeling like the only way they can have a reasonably safe change of venue is to camp. I’ll admit I feel the same way, though (as my readers will know) I’ve been “dispersed” camping (away from campgrounds) for many years. The closure of many developed campgrounds has put more pressure on the forests as well.
|Mogollon Rim Arizona|
Last Wednesday I made camp at a favorite site in the Coconino National Forest. I was all situated and in my hammock by 11:00 AM. At about 3:30 PM a guy showed up at my site with his 25 foot trailer. I figured he would see me and leave, but then I saw him awkwardly maneuvering (he actually backed into a tree trunk) to set himself up.
For the sake of non-camping readers, an irrefutable rule of dispersed campsite selection is first-come, first-served. If someone is already there, you move on. I’ve never had an issue like this before, because we all know this rule. So much so, in fact, that people will go park their RV on Wednesday to keep anyone else from using the spot, though they themselves won’t return until Friday night. That’s also an egregious violation.
Back to my guy. He
came over to talk to me eventually, explaining that he’d been camping at this
site for 30 years and that “all the other sites were taken.” I’m very cautious about my vulnerability when
I’m alone and generally try not to stir people up, but I did look him in the
eye and tell him that this one was taken too.
No luck. I’d scouted my evening
and morning shooting locations by then, so I decided after much deliberation to
stay. Incidentally, I learned later that
there were lots of empty spots nearby.
|Lichen and Sandstone Detail|
So that’s one. The other, more widespread issue that’s eating me is the disregard of the seven leave no trace principles. There’s more trash, loud music, and graffiti, but the most widespread and distressing issue is poop. There’s poop and toilet paper all over the forest. Piles of human poop do not enhance the wilderness experience.
I’ll leave you with some pretty pictures of that favorite place and a decidedly ugly mental image. I'm sorry. Please tell all your friends.
Want more pretty pictures? There’s an unusually eclectic mix of images (unusual even for me) in the Summer 2020 Gallery on the website.