Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's Fall!

The sky is a little bluer, the air is a little cooler and leaves are taking on the look of an artists palette. In many parts of our country, fall offers the best in the way of camping opportunities for two reasons. First the biting bugs are all but gone as the colder nights force their retreat. Second, the other campers thin out considerably so the best camping spots are often available.

Kendrick Mountain as seen from the Humphrey's Peak trailhead at the Arizona Snowbowl - Oct 2007.

A few years back, I went camping at Diamond Rock on Arizona's Black river two weeks before Labor Day and could hardly find an available campsite. Two weeks after Labor day I went back to the same place and could have camped almost anywhere. It's just astounding how a little chill in the air scares off the masses. But not us hard core campers - this is when we get serious.

The other important camping recreation issues are the fishing gets better as it gets colder, the hunting seasons are starting and hiking & biking are way better when it cools down in autumn.

The fall colors visually signal the start of the best camping season. So turn on those football game recording devices ( so you can watch the games when you get back ) and get out there and bring this fall in with a few memorable camping outings. You might even want to try a big campout.

Go camping!


1 comment:

  1. Ken has a nice video on group camping in this month’s newsletter. I thought I’d share my experience so it might help others.

    My family has an annual family camping trip. If everyone, Mom & Dad, all 9 siblings/step-siblings, spouses, grandchildren, & a few great grand children, were all able to come, we would have 50 people. And it’s grows every year. Typically we camp for 4 to 5 days.

    No matter how big or small your family is, or getting to be, you can never really get everyone to agree on where to go, what to do, or even what meals to eat. And ours is no exception. So there are 5 of us siblings that take turns "hosting" each year. And the main rule we try to use is you that can go wherever you want, do whatever you want, however you want, when you’re hosting. You may not like it this year, or wouldn’t do something a particular way, but you get to do it all your own way when it’s your turn. (And if you are one of the sibs that doesn’t host, shut-up and just enjoy the trip.)

    This past summer it was my turn. This particular year was tough to schedule since I had a niece expecting her first child (my sister's 1st grandchild) early in the summer, and 1 brother that would be unavailable during the rest of the summer. So right at the start we had to choose who wouldn’t be there. So we decided what was best for us & our children. Also my wife is in nursing school, so we picked a spot close to home in case she needed to commute for her clinicals.

    But hosting does have its challenges too. Some of our group have big 5th wheel RVs and some are tenting it, while most have small camp or tent trailers. So our camp sites have to accommodate everyone. We happened to choose an undeveloped camping area that had plenty of room for everyone.

    Because it was undeveloped we knew we would have issues w/ human waste. I shopped around and found “jobsite” type toilets for anywhere from $50 to $200 per week, depending on whether or not delivery was included. The average was about $100 delivered, if you can get them to deliver to where you are. Ultimately we chose a tow behind unit for about $120. It required an extra trip, but we were close to home anyway. We split the cost between us all and called it our site fee, since we didn’t have to pay for an undeveloped site.

    The typical portable holds between 60 and 80 gallons, and are usually rated for about 200 -250 uses. (ANSI standards call for 1 unit per 10 people for a 40-hour work week.) Other things to remember are: 1) Men often use the trees when they can, while women will use the toilet every time; 2) men “sit to do their business” an average of once per day, while women “sit” every time; 3) the presence of alcohol generally doubles the need. Most vendors’ websites have data that can help you decide how many you might need. We got away with just the one since we had about 30 people for 4 days, but some also had the use of their RV facilities.