Monday, March 28, 2005

05-27 Confessions of a Camp Host

Lake Louisa St Park, Fl
Confessions of a Camp Host

Week 27,28,29 of 52
Oct 1-25

Secrets and Confessions As you know by my previous messages, I’m a camp host for two months at Lake Louisa. So I thought I’d give you a behind the scenes pictures of what goes on at a state park.

We have another couple that arrived last week as camp hosts. Bruce and Evelyn. The two camp hosts have been at the park now for three years and they know how to “work” the system. As soon as Bruce got hear he asked for a truck. When he didn’t get it, he automatically came over and started using the gulf cart I’d been given to use. Of course I would expect we would share it, but I was a bit surprised that he didn’t even ask before using it.

We have all types of campers. Mostly lots of retirees who are easy to clean up after and they hardly ever mess up the bathrooms. Since that’s my major duty here, that’s a great thing.

Next we have the families who always have to have a campfire. Even when it’s been in the 90’s during the day, high humidity and 80’s into the evening hours.

The tenters are another group. There are the young folks just getting started in life and it’s a cheap and easy way to enjoy a small vacation and the outdoors, fishing, hiking canoeing the lakes.

Then there’s the mother who’s overweight and has trouble walking, with her daughter and little boy who has a councilor who comes to see him once a week. They are basically living in a two room tent. The mother claims she fell in the bathroom around midnight the other week and is trying to get money out of the state. The police and rangers were here talking to them again today. There were 3 police cars and 2 ranger cars. I feel sorry for the little boy who is so well behaved and very polite. Wonder what abuse he’s gone through to need a councilor. They finally packed up and left yesterday.

Oh and we can’t forget the “couple” on site number one. They knocked on my door around 10 o-clock one evening and asked if I could help them. They couldn’t get the power to come on at their campsite. The Older, slender smallish women, with white/gray hair, appearing to be between her late 50’s and early 60’s, let me know that she and her husband would greatly appreciate my help. When I got over to the campsite and saw the 20 something Spanish young man, dark hair, tall and gentle in nature, who immediately let me know that he and his “wife” were ever so grateful that I’d come over to help, I of course was ever so grateful for the dark night, so they couldn’t see my expression on my face. As some of you know, I can’t hide my thoughts what so ever and I’m sure I was rolling my eyes at one point. I hit the breaker reset button and their lights came on. I skid addled my way back to my campsite and contemplated this unusual couple. Another couple that has remained here for about two weeks.

I’ve met two adventuresome couples, both on their 24 or 25 anniversary, traveling the state of Florida. One couple was doing it by car camping the other couple had a camper and two motor cycles and made the park there home base for about 1,400 miles of traveling through the state on their bikes. P.s. they recommend Cedar Key as being a great gulf coast town where you’ll find the real Florida and no commercial shops what so ever. Both fun couples that truly knew how to enjoy every moment of life, between raising kid and jobs, that had them traveling across the country.

Then there are the fishermen. One, a black guy, Barry, recently moved from the Crystal
City area near the Pentagon outside of Washington D.C. He has a jazz band up there and is a jazz singer. Loves to fish. Did you know real fishermen usually have 4 or 5 fishing poles in the water at a time? He’s found the life style he loves and became a jazz singer in his 40’s by chance. And discovered he loves it, having always listened to jazz, it became a natural. The other fishermen and women hear are relatively young. In there late teens and twenties. A number of them are real Florida Crackers. The rest are Spanish. Bringing their kids and moms and dads to fish and enjoy the park.

The rangers are a special group of people. Each loving the outdoors in their own way. Many would prefer being in the mountains or cooler climates up north or out west. I’ve learned so much about the local flora and fauna of Florida. From the creation of Florida millions of years ago, to the present day environment. I’m camped out on the top of an ancient sand dune! Some of the rangers are very quiet and don’t like to talk a lot. Others share their love of the land and wildlife in the area. Many of the rangers have spouses who work in the park or other careers that complement this life style. They don’t get paid much so when you go to a state park, treat them well.

Ok and now for the real secret. A camp host is expected to work about 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, but I’ve found that if you get the work done in less time, they really don’t care. Many days I can get the bathrooms cleaned in about 2 hours. As the park gets busier of course, that time frame gets extended.

The only thing I don’t care for is that even working a few hours a day, It does seem to put a damper on exploring and doing fun stuff. However, I have found that the park is a great place to ride my bike and lake Louise has the best swimming beach in the area. The water although a dark burgundy color from the tannin in the water, is warm and calm. It’s almost like having a private beech, as only a few people visit it during the week days. Many by boat or pontoon boat. I’ve really enjoyed going to the beach recently and enjoy riding my bike in the late after noon, just as the sun is setting. It’s cooler and so quiet as I ride along the rolling hills in the park. I often see deer in the fields. Going down to the dock on Dixie Lake each evening to watch my sunsets is a great way to finish each day. Speaking of that, I’ve got to stop writing this so I can go catch the sunset….

Sure hope you find your own special way to enjoy life as much as I do….

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