Well, I went to the Tripoli Road camp ground this weekend with a couple friends. We left after work on Friday and pulled in around 9:30pm. After finding the people we were looking for, we found a decent spot near everyone and set up camp.
Our spot was on one of their “hill sites” about a mile in from the gate on the left. There was a short climb to the spot we picked that ran for a distance of about 200 feet, and elevation gain of no more than 50 or so. Not too bad, but just enough to get me panting as I carried our huge, beer laden cooler(s) up to the site. All in all it took us about 30 mins to get everything set up and ready – so far so good.
Ok, I know it’s a holiday and I know we went there to hang out with some peeps, drink some beers, play some guitar, see some nature and relax, but let me tell you – this place was FULL of party-heavy people. From the second we got there, the hills echoed with screams, music, megaphones (yes, megaphones), cars beeping, and about every other college party sound you could dream up. At one point, around midnight Saturday, there was even a parade of drunken people cheering, beeping, and kicking up an enormous dust cloud as they drove back from another set of sites up the road. It should be noted that the “other” set of sites had a live band… yes, a live band at the campsite.
We were rowdy, but the overall noise and party level around us shocked me. If you are looking for a tear-it-up night wearing togas and playing beer pong, this is the place. If you want to get out with the family – don’t bother.
Another interesting issue that took me by surprise was the number of ticks. I grew up working outdoors and I know that ticks are out there, but the number of these things was absolutely incredible. No joke, I reckon that out of about five people I talked to, there were twenty or so that people plucked off. I shooed about four off me, and few off the tent, tables, beers, and food… and just about everything else around. They were bad, no two ways around it. Just getting home and unpacking produced about three or four more. One of which was attached to one of our legs… yikes.
Once you got past the constant feeling of something crawling on you, and the echoing banter of the dunk bonehead with the mega-phone across the street that felt the need to constantly remind people that they were camping and if you’re not drunk you’re not really camping, it was pretty nice.
About half way through the second night (sat) two park rangers came walking up the hill to our sites to see if everything was ok. I was beat from the heat of the day and was pretty mellow, but at the site just up from us the other crew we were there with were just getting going. They had a huge fire, music cranked, and beers everywhere. The rangers didn’t seem to care; they said, “Looks like you are having fun, that’s cool.” I talked with one of them for a couple minutes before he left and asked a few questions about the park. He was nice, and seemed eager enough to answer my questions. I asked if the noise was uncommon. He chuckled for a second and told me no, not at all. In fact, he was the person that told me about the live band up the road.
After I talked with him a bit it became obvious that he was actually going around to the sites to tell the campers about the bears. In fact, there were already two confirmed sightings at the campground this weekend. The bears were there, and they were curious. He told us to put all food in our cars, no exception. I thought about that as I slept, listening to what sounded like Brontosaurus in the woods behind my tent during the night. Good thing we had the occasional “Hey F*ckers! I’m hammered… ” being broadcast around the park from the guy with the megaphone across the street. From the sounds of it, he was intent on sharing that fact until the wee-hours of morning. If there were bears around, I’m sure he helped keep them away.
We woke up this morning (sun), packed up and headed home. All in all it was a good time. We didn’t get to see much, or do any hiking. In fact, the only thing resembling a hike was the frequent trips up and down the trail to the other campsites or the car. These walks generally went well, aside from the occasional confrontation with a growling rottweiler-boxer that someone’s girlfriend’s friend brought and thought it was a good idea to give it free, unleashed reign over surrounding campsites. I didn’t even mind when it stopped me, looking like it wanted to surgically remove my ribs with its teeth. It was just a little startling in the pitch dark walking alone.
The weather was nice. As far as the temps go, they pretty much went from 40(ish) over night, to 60(ish) in the morning hours, to something like 250(ish) in the tent or in the direct sun by just after lunch. I’d say it would be good hiking weather, assuming you get out early and bring water. I must say it was a little warm when sitting around the coals of last nights fire sipping a semi-cold Sam Adams. I just melt in the heat…
Tripoli Road campsite is not the kind of place to bring the family; unless you want have a keg-party at the same time. On a scale of 1 – 10, I’d say Tripoli Road was about a 3 – 3.5. It’s a nice place, but just too many party sites and ticks this time around. I’d try it again.
Just my $0.02