the first week in the truck was a little rough. we had to work out a routine pretty quick. with working nearly every day and several appointments we had to figure out how to organize the truck based on daily needs, and find places to park depending on how much time we had. a couple months in and we've pretty much nailed down a spot for every night of the week, our favorite being the weekend site up in the mountains.
the area that we camp in is a long forested stretch along a popular fishing river. there's several spots to park and camp for the night, most usually inhabited by avid fishermen or rowdy teenagers. after spending our first weekend scouring the area, we found the perfect spot to call home. or so we thought.
it was pretty early in the season when we set up camp there the first time. it had appeared that the area was last used to burn garbage and shoot things, and that no one had been back for a long time. we decided to claim the spot and clean it up. it's far enough from the river that we wouldn't be in anyone's way intending to fish, and close enough to the road that we can back in at night. the view of the mountains is breathtaking, and the stars are plenty.
the first few weeks we would leave for a while and return with our site untouched. we figured we had made a good selection seeing as no one else was using it, and made our base camp a little more permanent. we built a tipi for firewood to keep it dry, and a couple pieces of furniture. one weekend we had returned late at night in the rain to find that the pit was still hot, and all our firewood had been burned. it wasn't such a big deal except that we were kind of dependant on that stack to keep us warm for the evening, but the rest of our hard work was left untouched.
the following weeks to come, we had slightly different welcomings. one weekend we had come up and the wood was gone including all the posts we had cut to build with, the furniture was smashed and there was garbage everywhere. lucky for them we never found out who it was. the kicker was a few weeks ago when we arrived to find our camp inhabited.
fair enough, it's not really our land technically, so we pulled in just to see what was up. turned out to be one drunken asshole and his girlfriend. the place was trashed again, all our recollected shelter supports were cut and burned, along with several of the young living trees that had been recently planted. we intended to let them stay as long as they kept it clean and respected our camp and the forest.. turned out not to be the case. we told the guy we'd be back early the next day and would appreciate if he didn't burn any more of our work. he agreed that he'd leave as soon as they woke up.
when we finally got back into our camp, it took the entire weekend to repair the damage and clean the place up. idiot managed to run over the fire pit (and one of our built stools) as he was leaving, so we had our work cut out for us. luckily my truck mate and I have a habit of making shit better. this time we left a note for the next people. it more or less asked whoever used the camp to respect the forest, not to litter, and kindly not to burn the shelter posts.
we figured it could go either way from there. people could show up and treat the area well, or people could come and tear it all down. we pondered on the drive up the following week on how it was gonna be. when we arrived, we discovered something completely unexpected. there was a sign. we could see it from the truck as we noticed the camp was left untouched. as we walked up to it we took guesses at what it might be regarding. possibly another 'no shooting' sign as the last one had gone missing. maybe some officials of some sort asking us to move along. we were wrong, in the right way.
it was a sign welcoming visitors to the valley. "User Maintained Site". huh.. 'this area has been cleaned up by local volunteers'. and then advisories on keeping the place clean. our presence was wecolmed. later that sunday evening the fella who put up the sign paid us a visit. the local conservation authority dude himself. he was fully stoked on our presence and what we did to clean up and maintain the site. he said we keep out less desirable visitors that they often have to come and ask to leave or ticket. then we chatted an hour about local wildlife and the weather and the joy of being out in it.
that was one hell of a moment.