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#5 (and last) essay on my camping trip to Staircase in the Olympic National Park

I love walk-in campsites. They are farther from the road, closer to the water, no RVs. And this one was the best ever, except maybe for an exceptional site in North Carolina. But this one had a bear box—my own personal cupboard—so I didn’t have haul everything to the car every night.

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They arrived about 4:30 on my third night while I was sitting on “my patio” above the river with my wine and cheese appetizer reading: the husband on the backside of 70, the younger wife with her very clean artificially straightened long hair, the pregnant daughter with her sweatshirt reading “Camping Sweatshirt,” the small dog.

“I don’t want to be rude,” the wife said, when she walked up from behind me, breaching my solitude. “We’re expecting a lot of people and I just wondered when you are leaving.”

I was thinking she could have looked on the registration board and found out when everyone in the campground was leaving. Did she not see the barrier around me? The neon “KEEP OUT” sign? Have I mentioned it was my third night, and my hair was not clean and I smelled like a campfire, and I didn’t give a rip? I don’t know if my answer “tomorrow” was good news or not.

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Apparently they were providing for all of the “lots of people.” The husband carried stuff from their truck for three solid hours. And their site was a good bit farther from the parking area than mine. I’m sure they would liked to have had the one I was occupying.

I finished my appetizer; he moved stuff.
I built a fire; he moved stuff.
I sat by the fire with a second glass of wine; he moved stuff.

He dropped something and stuffed the huge, loosely rolled piece of foam under his arm, shifted the sleeping bag in his other hand, and reached down to pick up the broom. That was my first unconstrained snort of laughter.

I decided I really wasn’t hungry and didn’t want to cook supper; he moved stuff.
I had my first s’more and some solid grapes; he moved stuff.
I put the food boxes and cooler in the bear box; he moved stuff.
I made a second s’more and ate it; he moved stuff.
I walked down to the bathroom to brush my teeth as he moved the last load—except for the three chairs left in the truck.

The next morning I got my stove, food box, and cooler out of the bear box while the husband and the pregnant daughter unloaded her car.

They were staying four more nights the husband told me as I loaded my car to leave (in five trips). Okay, that’s pretty long, I guess it requires a lot of stuff for “lots of people.” I will not judge. Much. Rain was forecast for the following day. The wife’s hair will frizz.

I moved my car to the trail parking lot and went for a hike.

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I checked the registration board when I returned to the car, they had snagged my campsite.

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Lake Cushman