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Friday, June 27, 2014

Weekend Revelry

It's Friday, and our world is filling up with visitors who want to camp up here. Any shoulder on the side of the road will do. Who cares if it's private property or an illegal campsite? After arriving, the first step is to cut down some trees from around the campsite and get a bonfire going. Then, take out your gun and start shooting without checking where houses, trails, and people might be. Last but certainly not least, don't concern yourself with whether your campfire is out before you leave the campsite.Yes, it's a summer Friday in the mountains.

This behavior makes me seek the deepest woods far from the roads. I also try to seek the quiet of the mornings, since most people don't get moving until way after the sun rises. Unfortunately, due to the mind-numbing and sleep-inducing migraine preventative medicine that I'm taking, I am a zombie during most early mornings these days (but not Shyla, as you can see in the next photo).
Last fall, the Runner and I cleaned up some local campsites after a summer of abuse, hauling out about a dozen large garbage bags of junk from one campsite alone. And, then, shortly after the snow had melted this spring, I found that irresponsible campers had already taken up residence. With incredible wisdom (not!), these campers thought a screen would keep the wildlife away from their disgusting pile of food.
Surprise, surprise - a short time later, their campsite looked like this, obviously ransacked by wildlife.
At another site, the campers needed firewood. What's the most logical thing to do? Cut down the live trees next to your campsite. Never mind that green wood won't burn or that you've killed thriving trees, creating an eyesore for everyone else.
I call the Forest Service whenever I see this abuse underway but it is very rare that there is a timely response. The federal agencies are too underfunded to have personnel who can deal with rogue campers or shooters. I have no problem with the responsible visitors but they seem to be the minority this summer.

So, in this beautiful season, I carefully craft my outings to avoid the abusers, going places that require long walks from a car, so few people visit them.
I love this place, and I don't understand the disrespect shown to it by so many people. How can they not want to soak up this kind of beauty?
Obviously, the campers have already corrupted at least one bear, teaching him/her to look near human scent for food (I'm basing this statement on the ransacked food stash at the campsite in the earlier photo). I love our bears so nothing makes me more upset than that. I want them to stay wild and safe.

Fortunately, most of the bears seem to stay far way from the places that visitors inhabit, even though there is lots of unsecured human food available in campsites (contrary to the laws). I hope that trend continues.
So, we will spend our weekend seeking the quiet of the deeper forests, appreciating even the tiniest gems that have sprouted from the forest floor.
We still enjoy the bounty of summer, but there is a hint of bittersweet in my heart, knowing what's going on nearby and that the agency that's supposed to protect the land can't do their job. It's too dangerous for untrained residents to try to enforce the rules so we are forced to watch helplessly.

One benefit to having dogs is that they make a huge ruckus whenever someone comes onto our land. R is vigilant! We haven't yet had anyone try to camp near our house.
I love living in the mountains. I wish that people would visit here because they love the natural beauty rather than because they want to escape the watchful eyes of the law in more urban areas.


  1. i'm sorry you have to put up with such buttheads - and worse, dangerous ones, to boot. i have a few neighbors like that that i fear when they get to drinking, shooting - sometimes it sounds like cannons right behind the tree line. they burn, shoot fireworks, run atvs all into the night. *sigh*

  2. It sure is a shame that people are so rude and disrespectful.

  3. Kia ora KB,
    You point out so well the huge disconnect that so many have from the wilderness and nature. This wanton appropriation more or less the continued appropriation of western civilisation of everything in its path. We see governments and corporations doing it so it simply filters down to the individual. Very sad. Even here at some of the remotest huts I arrive at I end up carrying out rubbish left behind by helicopter parties. If people just opened their eyes a wee bit. Thanks for the post and have a lovely weekend in spite of it all. Kia Kaha e hoa!

  4. MOM and I are sicken as well when we see such ugliness. There is no beauty in what they do. We often come across scenes like you described when we are out. And like you we head deeper in where most don't want to exert the energy to get there. However on our way out we always stop and pick up what we can. It is a shame that people don't respect what a gift the mountains, wilderness and nature it.

  5. People are sickening! They come and trash our beautiful beach (no condos, just forrest and sand) every summer, and it's terrible.

  6. I'm sorry you've had some less than respectful visitors!

  7. We find the same problems in our nearby National and State forests. It seems that more and more people simply want cheap places to hang around and drink. They are not interested at all in the beauty of the mountains and have no respect for the environment. And now they are allowed to have handguns.

    We stay in our own community during the summer. At least we know our trails are safe from these rude intruders.

  8. So very, very sad.

    We live behind the Redwood curtain in "way north" California and we see similar things here both in the forest and the beaches and just wonder why....

  9. Its a shame you have to deal with all of that. This is my first stop at your blog however, and your photos are stunning! I can't wait to read more :)

  10. Its just awful KB.
    Some people have no respect for our earth-- or for the people who love the land and live on it.
    It is terrible,, it happens here too.

  11. How sad, that people don't realise what nature is worth. I bet you hate posting such ugliness when there is such beauty around also, so thanks for sharing that with us so those of us like me whose everyday world is so different from yours are aware of these issues.
    Your dogs are of course stunning and appear to be in physically immaculate condition!

  12. There are some absolute idiots in this world. Our river ALWAYS has rubbish strewn around it. People supposedly want to enjoy the area and then leave it a mess! EVEN when there's bins close by.

    At least, we don't have shooters or people cutting down trees.

    XXXOOO Bella Roxy & Dui

  13. It's such a shame when some peeps can't see the beauty and they show no respect. Why can't they just stay away! Good job, R! Stay on their case!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  14. Wow, what a poignant post! You just described what I hate about humans beautifully! I so feel your frustration. That kind of abuse and disrespect happens everywhere and it sickens me. I want to scream! GAH!

    On a happier note, in that first photo of Shyla, I can just feel her alertness, all her senses taking in what is around her. Really great!

  15. We are lucky we don't have much camping out where we ride, but we stumble across a few. The hunters worry me - we live in a desert, with a lot of visibility and I can't tell you how many times they haven't seen me on horseback (despite hi-viz!) until I'm about 20 feet away.

    Monty and Harlow

  16. Well said, KB. We camped as a family throughout our children's childhoods. We carefully taught them the "leave no trace" philosophy, and now have the fun of hiking and camping with them as responsible outdoors lovers. But I think many of these people just head out to Wal-Mart or REI, buy a bunch of stuff, and head for the woods without ever having been around experienced campers. They think they are taking a vacation from civilization and its rules. Often they get themselves into trouble because they are so unprepared for the "wild" in wilderness. I could go on about the behavior we see at the beach in summer, but this is already too long.

  17. Mom says many people do not respect our wilderness areas. That is sad!!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  18. Sad to see. We have regulations about that. You are only allow to camp one night and then you have to ask the owner of the land. Sure we have them too but I Think we are rather good in Sweden to be careful of our nature

  19. Can't believe people want to camp in the nature but don't respect it...

  20. People are idiots, nuff said.

  21. amazing post
    love all your images
    except of course the irresponsible campers
    wishing you a good summer
    with better visitors to your mountains

    love the bear photos

  22. I can't believe people do that! I mean, I can, cause I've seen it too, but I just don't understand the thinking there at all. Thank you for cleaning up what you are able to though - that is a big help. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own internal rants that I forget that ranting doesn't clean it up and I just leave whatever I see there instead of trying to help and clean it up. There will always be disgusting people - I guess it's just up to us that care about keeping the outdoors clean to pick up after them. It certainly isn't fair, but imagine the mess if we were all like that!


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