Welcome! Now get to work
When we got to the camping area of Wayfarers, the 2nd group of the welcoming committee tried to guide us in to the spot of our new home for the next 3 months by having us make the loop around the campground 1st, to get in to our site.
FYI, if your rig is longer than 35 feet, you will NOT make it around the loop at Wayfarers or you’ll barely make it — as we did — but you’ll sacrifice a few tree limbs in the process.
We got the rig backed in and parked and made some introductions. One of the people we met was who I’ll call “MR” — she’s the maintenance/grounds person and one of the park’s paid staff members.
“Sooo…how long will it take you to get all set up? Could you help us out as soon as your done?”, MR asked.
We came in to this knowing I would probably be put right to work. “30 minutes? We’ll get it unhitched and leveled and then I’ll come help” (Courtney would finish up the little stuff and start settling in).
As we worked on getting unhooked, it wasn’t hard to see the chaos of 4th of July weekend all around us:
the day use parking lot full, cars parked up and down the road to the day use area, rangers and park volunteers directing traffic while in constant contact with the entrance station at the park entrance regarding the parking situation, people asking the rangers and volunteer questions non-stop.
It was going to be an interesting afternoon!
After Courtney and I finished the basic unhitching, I walked over to MR and let her know I was ready to get to work.
“Great! Here. Take my safety vest. Here’s the high band radio to talk with the entrance booth. Hang out with S and she’ll tell ya what’s going on.” (“S” is one of two AmeriCorps members working with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP); the other is “A”).
A lot of questions were asked and lots of information acquired and much walking was done. So much.
So here’s a quick wrap up of what I learned and did on my ‘first day’:
Wayfarers is by far the busiest of the 5 parks surrounding Flathead Lake. It’s IN Bigfork, and that means on nice days, and especially weekends, when Bigforkians decide “Hey! Let’s go to the lake!”, Wayfarers is the place.
A beautiful, sunny 4th of July makes it even more popular with locals — from various vantage points in the park, 2 to 3 fireworks shows in the area can be seen.
With so much going on, there is bound to be some level of “excitement” and my first day was no exception.
The Park Warden was present, as was the local sheriff. Why? Two reasons:
- An under-age girl got extremely drunk and passed out in someone’s car (it was her friend’s car, but still… bad teenager!)
- Someone drove around a corner in day use too fast, rear-ended a car parked on the side of the road and drove off, but not before causing a chain reaction causing said rear-ended car to move forward and hit another car.
My first day thankfully was an easy one, all things considered. Although, I was told a couple of stories about things that happened over the weekend before we finally arrived:
Someone drove their truck and trailer through the campground at around 35 MPH. They drove straight through a walking path, dragged a boulder 15-20 feet with their trailer before the boulder sheared! The driver finally stopped when a camper pounded on the truck and yelled “HEY! WTF ARE YOU DOING?!?!”
Yes, the driver was drunk.
Before that, ANOTHER idiot also drove through the campground at relative high speed BUT they took out one or more camper’s tent. When confronted, the idiot got belligerent. Things happened, things said. The next morning, the tent camper that confronted the driver found their camp furniture in the fire pit and “douchebag” painted on their vehicle.
To date, I haven’t experienced anything remotely as insane, but this gig ain’t over yet!
My next post, I’ll be talking about a typical day for a camp host (typical for this camp host, anyway) — as it is mostly already written in my head, it’ll probably be more like my Expectation vs Reality.