Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Definitions: Campground Host

Your non-official buddy.

A campground host is an unpaid, volunteer "eyes and ears" at a campground, providing the paid, non-volunteer rangers and bureaucrats with information about what you are up to, or what they think they suspect you might get up to if you are left unsupervised too long. Like what facilities you use, and how you use them, if you sighted any wildlife and what you tried to do to it (or them, and when, etc.).

And safety stuff. Did you go around reading a suspicious number of bulletins? Well, maybe your campground host took notes.

And what about the time you ended up with your head and shoulders stuck in that bear-proof garbage can trying to get your car keys back? Thought nobody saw you? Thought you got out of it without embarrassing yourself, didn't you?

But betcha they grabbed a photo of your butt up in the air, and got that photo pinned to the wall in the main office by now. Betcha. Maybe they even throw darts at it. (Photo credit: camp host.)

If you want to give up backpacking and join the other side, you get to wear a Volunteer-In-Parks (VIP) uniform, and will be reimbursed for it if you are a good toad.

Sure, there is a training period, so they expect you to put in at least three months doing that, and you have to be on call in all weather, and at all times of the day or night, and they won't let you carry a gun or handle money, but there are probably ways around that, and you might get to see some interesting people in their underwear.

You'll have to disseminate information about campground regulations (boring) and food storage regulations (boring). But you can make up plenty of stuff about bears and mountain lions, backcountry camping, hiking, fishing, road conditions, poisonous flying lizards and so on.

As an experienced backpacker you probably already know enough to ad lib plausible stories about any of these, at any time. And more.

And if a family of six from Denmark suddenly packs up one evening and scrams back to the old country because of what you told them — about mountain vampire mice and how they hide in sleeping bags and chew off toes and such — well hey. It's not like you're going to see them again, is it?

And you get to keep the uniform. Could be a babe magnet.

Keep in mind that the word "host" originally meant army, and "guest" originally meant enemy. So the host is kind of the lord overseeing all the dangerous strangers, and is expected to act like it.

If you try the volunteer campground host thing and it works for you, well think about joining the Park Service and getting paid for it. Maybe they'll let you carry a gun too. Legally this time.

A uniform and a gun: Babe Magnet Combo special of the week.

Source: how to talk in the woods.

2 comments :

  1. I’ve been a VIP for the last month. Many people don’t realize when they sign up that talking to bears and directing processions of elk is only part of the position, so thank you for clarifying the other aspects.

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  2. Jeez, so now after about six years someone leaves a comment, and it has to be THE SMART ONE who does it, which means I've got to go and keep doing these blog post things to keep up appearances, and HAVE TO SOUND SMARTER THAN I AM which is harder than you'd think, given what I have to work with and stuff, and there's probably no end in sight, ever. Or whatever. And I can't remember how to leave comments on my own stuff that "reply" thing still doesn't work and all oh crap this is probably not going to turn out well at all maybe I should just change my name and wear a paper bag over my head. Again.

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