Our weekend outing this weekend was to be at Kettle Falls Campground in Washington. It is along the Columbia River and is part of the National Park system. All sites at those serveral different campgrounds are by reservation only, no first come first served at anytime. The facts of which are clearly posted on many signs as you come into the campground and are also posted at every camp spot post. Also, the little paper form where you write your information on it has it clearly saying it is by reservation only and to put down your reservation number. There can be no mistake the sites are by reservation only.
So I was really pissed off when we drove up and someone was parked and setup in our site. Of course no one was around to speak with. We stopped and talked to the host who knew there was an issue. She said her manager had left a note on the truck the day before as they were not hanging around during the daytime. So the host and manager knew they were there wrongfully and also knew someone was coming in as the site was reserved. Did they even bother to contact us that there was a squatter in our site? Nope. Why was a Ranger not called in to have them fined and removed? Questions we will be discussing with the Rangers office this week.
The host said we could take another open site as there were several but they were either too small or had no view of the water. I was not too keen on paying for a site we did not want. Yeah, the squatters took the most premium site to boot. We left the campground. Something I knew would be better because I would have said something if we saw them and I just did not want to be put in that situation. So yes, I was pissed off but we were not going back home.
So where to go? Winter has been hanging on and we cannot get too far into the woods and mountains as snows would block us out for access. I had an idea of where we could go. So we drove that way to see what we could see. Our distention would be to Lake Ellen. There are National Forest campgrounds on both ends of the lake but I also knew those were still closed for the off season. But, there was this one spot I remembered seeing but could not remember if it was a day use area or not. I knew we could also park along the road of the lake if we had to. It would be about a half hour drive away.
Once we got to within 3 miles or so from the lake, we started seeing snow patches. But the road was fine so we kept going. We arrived to the spot I had in mind, snow was no issue there. Now, was it no camping in the spot or what? There was a sign there but it was blank, no signs posted to the board. So, nothing saying we could not camp there, so we did. It is a smaller area to park and is pretty unlevel. But with some ramps and finishing leveling with the camper jacks all was good.
Our new unexpected spot to camp was amazing. Far better than what we were suppose to have. Even better that it was more remote. There was a couple others camped along the road, where I thought we might have to camp at, about a 1/4 mile away. Nope, this spot worked out for us. We wondered if maybe when the Forest Service campgrounds are open for the year that maybe that is when they have postings on the sign for this spot? No idea. We did a little walk around to check our area out before getting dinner ready and to settle in for the night.
We had a good evening and a great nights sleep. The next morning after coffee and breakfast we set off to use our inflatable kayak made by Sea Eagle. We brought it in thoughts of paddling on the Columbia River but now it would be perfect for Lake Ellen.
After the paddle around the lake, about a 1.5 mile paddle…we went back to camp and relaxed there. We listed to some music and the calls from a numerous amount of bird variety. There was even a pair of Loons at the lake. We have not come across loons very often. We loved listening to their calls and I was kind of amazed at how loud the calls were. The other loud calls came from the Canadian Geese. Joanne said it at one point that they were like dachshunds. We have dachshunds and anyone with them would understand the analogy. Loud barking and for many times…no reason at all. I walked around camp, looking at some spring flowers in bloom. The grasses were still laid down from the snows weight but spring was finally arriving in this area. The area was really pretty.
Later we started up a campfire and let the day slip away. I opened up a couple special beers I have been holding onto for a couple years. What a great day it was.
Sunday morning and after making our coffee I went out on the kayak for a morning paddle. Joanne stayed back at camp while I was out on the lake. I did another lap around the lake listening and watching the wildlife around us. I saw the bald eagle that we saw the day before and heard the calls of the loons and many other birds. On this lap around I picked up a few pieces of trash that was floating along the waters edge. There was more to pick up but having some waders would be needed as I could not paddle in close enough to pick it up. But at least I got some of it taken care of. Overall, our camp spot and the lake were pretty clean. A nice change from what we have seen on some of our other dispersed camping places.
After returning to camp and after having breakfast we packed up and made our way home. The trip started off pretty bad but in the end it turned out even better than what we had planned. Having a truck camper and the ability to go darn near anywhere because we do not have a huge RV, made things easier. We still wondered if that spot is a no camping area for at least part of the year. Guess I wont know unless we call the Forest Service. But it worked out for us on this trip. So in the end, the people who squatted in our site did us a favor. Thank you.