Joy (cithra) wrote,

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Back, and much refreshed, from a trip to Battleground and environs this weekend. The Battle Ground Lake State Park has some lovely campsites, including two cabins with electric heat, one of which our Silvermist group had reserved. (More about that later.) The lake itself was well-stocked with fish and fishermen both, including one guy puttering around in a combination hip-wader/personal-flotation device that actually looked kind of clever. We were also privy to a real, live 'one that got away' story: hiking around the lake in the afternoon we heard a loud shout of "woohoo!" behind us. Turning to look, it was a gentleman who only moments before had been lamenting his 'not a nibble' compared with some child who'd wandered past him with a catch of nine. He was wrestling with an extremely good-sized specimen, compared with the other catches we'd witnessed. As we watched he lept into the lake, and there was much splashing - then a heartfelt "Fuck!!" and silence. "Did you see that?" he asked mournfully, when he noticed our commiseratory moans, and we assured him that we had. He was quite broken up about it, and stayed in the water for some time, seemingly intent on finding the fish again if he had to scour the entire lake-bed to do it. Sadly I didn't hold out much hope for him; any fish of size in a lake that popular has got to have been pretty wily to survive.

Such is not the case with humans. Backing up to our arrival on Friday night, we rolled into camp around 8 p.m., a bit after dark, with a minimum of fuss considering that the directions omitted one major turn that fortunately was indicated by a sign. There are two cabins, as I mentioned earlier, at sites 17 and 21. tani_chick had reserved #17 for us several months ago, so we were a trifle surprised when, as we pulled up to the seemingly unoccupied site of 17, a very disagreeable-looking woman popped out onto the porch. We inquired if this was cabin 17, and were told peremptorily "No. Seventeen is down there." with a vague gesture further down the road. 'Hmm' we said to ourselves, and got back into our cars to head further down the loop. Oddly enough (or not so oddly, considering) the numbers only got bigger - we saw 18, 20, 21... I was sure I'd seen "17" on the post outside the first cabin, and we returned to ascertain that indeed, 17 was the first cabin. Paperwork in hand, the intrepid tani_chick knocked on the door, only to receive a repeat performance, ruder that before (if possible) - this wasn't cabin 17, the ranger had checked them in earlier, 17 was further down the loop, etc. Maybe we had better go see the park ranger.

Maybe, indeed. We got back in our cars and proceeded around the loop to the trailer of the campsite hosts. As we got out of the car, a very pleasant older couple came out to speak with us. "Oh, you must be the folks from cabin 17," they said. It seems there had been some oddness surrounding the situation already. When the other set of folks had been checked in by the ranger, earlier in the day, there must have been some mix-up with the keys and the paperwork. The cabins, however, were identical in furnishings, so we took the key to 21 and headed off to commence unloading our stuff.

However, this was not the last of it. A few trips into the unloading process, there was an ominous "click" as the door swung closed. Sure enough, we were on the outside of the still-locked door, and the key was on the inside. So I held down the fort while the other two headed back up to the host to find out if they (please!!) had a spare key.

Yes and no, it seemed. Strangely enough, they had no spare key for 21, but two 'spare' keys for 17. Hmm... A call to the ranger ensued, and the upshot was somewhat amusing: as it turns out, there had NOT been a mix-up with the keys. The ranger had given the earlier party of the unpleasant woman the key to cabin 21 - however, they had apparently found cabin 17 unlocked, and simply moved themselves in without bothering to pay attention. In fact they quite willfully ignored some potent clues that they were in the wrong space - they'd showed up back at the ranger station some time later, complaining that the 'wrong ticket' was on the post for their site. This, of course, was the ticket with OUR name on it - so these people had in fact removed a ticket that said "site 17" (and someone else's name) from a post labeled "17" in large white numbers, all without noticing (or caring, at least) that the number 17 did not match the number 21 on their key. Yes indeed - if these folks had bothered to stir from in front of the TV they'd brought to their cabin and been watching on our arrival, they might have had a rude shock to find the key wouldn't open 'their' cabin on their return. Innumerate? Delusional? Stubborn and inadverse to lying? Who knows. The other odd thing about it was there was nothing to indicate anyone was in residence from the outside, saving the porchlight being on (not necessarily a diagnostic, you must admit) - no vehicle, no campstove, no nothing.

After that, though, things went swimmingly. The camp was a trifle eerie at night, but we weathered the strange noises and unusual shadows. The rest of the group arrived over the course of the following day, and all of our plans came off with smashing success. I got to build a lovely fire, though I never quite seem to arrange for enough wood - that's the part I need to get better at estimating. It was delightful to see everyone, and I am much the better for it. Even if I am still going to be late again for work. *laugh*

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