My wife and I completed our first summer as hosts this past season at "Ophir Creek Campground" in the "San Carlos District of the San Isabel National Forest" in Colorado.
We have been camping around this area of Colorado most of our lives, and Ophir Creek is a very special place for myself because it was the site of a life changing experience for me, which also lead to the eventual meeting of my wife!
So we already had a very special bond to the area to begin with.
This was by far one of the greatest experiences of our lives!!
We had the misfortune of taking over a position due to an illness of the previous hosts, therefore we missed out on alot of training, and were, pardon the expression, thrown to the wolves..lol
Needless to say we had alot to learn in a very short time. Being troopers we handled it very well, and took on the challenge with great enthusiasm. Being very responsible campers ourselves and loving people in general was a valuable asset.
By the end of the season we had grown to love our campground very much, had learnt a great deal not only about our jobs and what was expected of us from the USFS and RMRC, but about people in general.
There were very very few negative experiences, our district manager was awesome and so very helpfull, the rangers were very friendly and a great source of knowledge to any questions we had, the local sherriffs were also very helpfull on the big holiday weekends. 99% of the campers we met were very courteous and took great care of our grounds, which helped us alot.
The few negatives were minor incidents with loud parties after hours, but of the 2 times this happened only once was it an issue, and we dealt with it accordingly. The biggest problem I had on a daily basis was getting people to slow down in our campgrounds. With some people, I had a very hard time getting through to them the point of all the people walking on the roads, especially children who we all know are sometimes oblivious to traffic in general, but most people after having been explained the true points of the speed limit agreed to and would honor our requests.
We only had 2 instances of bear issues, alot of this was attributed to the fact that we educated each and every camper in proper camping/hiking ettiquitte as well on the seriousness of the issue. Once you have a bear problem its not going to go away easy, and in some extreme cases can lead to youthanising an animal, which none of us want. Our campers were great in helping us with this very serious issue!! Thank you all!
We met so many wonderful people it was incredible, even made some great friends that we continue to stay in touch with here at home. I even met a couple from Michigan that travel here every year to hunt wild mushrooms. They gave me some excellent tips, offered me some resource materials and even took us out on a few outings. I must say its a wonderful hobby, and the mushrooms if you like them are simply the very best Ive ever tasted! Thanks to you two for sharing with us this great hobby!
When we had to pack up and leave our newfound home it was a very emotional day, my wife just couldnt put a stopper on the water factory which made it hard for me to do the same. We had to say goodbye to our district manager not knowing if any of us would be back next year, a very tearfull event.
It truly does take a certain kind of person to undertake a host position. In our case there were few amenities, to start it was a "dry campground" meaning no full hookups. There was no electricity, no dump stations, and no cell phone coverage. The few amenities we enjoyed were restrooms, potable water, and trash service.
Ive listed below a few of the attributes that are a must if you are considering a host position.
#1 - Being a people person is a must
, friendly helpfull and considerate every minute of every day. Moodiness can never be an issue. You also have to be forcefull in some rare situations so if you hate confrontations turn back now, this job is not for you.
#2 - In some cases being without certain amenities for up to a week can be the case. This includes but is not limited to, electricity, phones, showers, groceries, fuels etc. Also some emergency services(law enforcement/medical) can be some time away. If you cant do without the above or cannot possibly handle certain situations turn back now.
#3 - A great love for our outdoors is an absolute must
! Cleaning our forests is a full time job, believe me, there was never a day that I did not have at least a pocket full of trash. Also stopping people from dealing damage is a have to. Carving on trees, chopping green trees, leaving hot fires, and picking protected flowers are just a few of the issues that fall under this catergory.
#4 - Work ethic is the final point, it is more than a full time job. It is not a hard job, but it truly does never end. Yes you do have your days off and time off, but that does not mean your services will not be needed. Be ready to go to work at anytime. One example is that party that flares up at 2 am and is disturbing at least 1 if not more of "your" campers.
There are many many more attributes that can be helpfull, but these are the "Must Haves". The Last one on the list is HAVE FUN and enjoy your opportunity!
With RMRC no one knows if they will have the same campground from year to year or even if they will be asked back as hosts at all. But we are certainly crossing our fingers that we end back up at our favorite little piece of heaven to take care of our great campers
and further nurture this beautiful tract of land.
Anyways I could go on forever but I wont
Heres hoping we see you out there next year! If we end up back at Ophir Creek next year, come say Hi to us! I may even relate my "life changing experience" over some campfire dinner and drinks! It really is an amazing tale
One last note, our computer with all of our pictures is down, but once we get that pc back up I will share a few of the pictures from the past summer there.