Today I am taking an unprecedented turn away from the bitchy, snarky and foul-mouthed persona which I have decided makes you all love me so much to talk about something serious. Seriously.
So there’s a campground on Mt. Hood which my group of friends have been returning to for years. We used to have wild parties there and now some of us take our kids camping there. I go at least once a year. I’m not going to tell you where it is because honestly, the last thing it needs is more people, but it’s on a river and it’s very pretty and secluded. It’s been decommissioned by the Forest Service so it’s free, and there’s no running water or bathroom, no campground host to come around and sell you firewood or tell you not to drink beer. There’s also no one maintaining it. Over the last few years the river has washed this campground out several times. It seems that every time I go back there’s a new shoreline, a new geography. Roads get washed out and people move rocks and smooth sand to make them passable again. Once after a flood a friend set up a small rock cairn by the river. When we returned a month or two later there were hundreds of little vertical stacks of rocks populating the riverbank. I have always assumed a sense of community and like-mindedness with the others who come to this spot.
In recent years it also seems that every time I go there is more garbage. More fire rings full of half-melted plastic, more evidence of human waste, more beer bottles smashed among the rocks. More disregard.
I was raised in a family that was in the outdoors regularly. We camped quietly; priding ourselves upon leaving as little trace of our presence as possible. I know that my social group holds a similar mind set. We pack out our garbage, bury our toilet paper, and try not to let our kids rip branches off trees. But not everyone who uses this campground looks at things that way, and frankly, it’s pissing me off.
So instead of just complaining and secretly hating people even more, I want to do something about it. I propose a clean-up camp-out. Date and details will be decided, but I’d like to aim for early September and invite you all (especially those of you who have gotten as much out of this place as I have) to perhaps come for a night of camping and a day reminiscent of our time in community service. Maybe we bring trash bags and gloves (seriously, gloves) and we give a little back without a court mandate this time.
P.S Aren’t you proud of me for not calling anybody white-trash?