We are in our fourth week as full-on camp hosts, and have finally settled into the rhythm of our jobs. In addition to bathroom and camp site cleaning, we are available for camper questions, do golf cart rounds to check on things, and, two days a week we sell firewood and ice.
Unlike last time when we felt an urgency to get our work done, this time we’re not waiting on edge for our campers to vacate their spots so we can clean. Partly because we are now living IN the loop we’re cleaning, so we can see when folks pull out. But more, because I understand that some campers are going to wait until check out time to actually pull out. Maybe even later.
Yes, someone else might be waiting for the spot, but technically, check IN time isn’t until 2. So there is time. Some of the other hosts are a bit more edgy about it. Because they want to be done with their work so they can do their own thing.
And yep, that used to be me, too. But then I remembered that, when we’d go camping, I used to want to linger at the camp site, not wanting to rush home. And so I’m fine with the folks that pull out three minutes before noon, or twenty minutes after.
And so the hosting is much more relaxed, even on the days we sell firewood and ice. After we clean the bathrooms and campsites, we’re available from 9-1 and 3-7 to sell firewood and bags of ice. The vending area is up a slight slope at the entrance to the loops, right next to Jeannie, the Mallard Host who is the main sales person. But on her days off, signs direct campers to our site for sales.
On the first day, I was on alert the entire shift, watching out the window, craning my neck to see the vending area. Every time a vehicle pulled up I scrambled to grab the money boxes (for making change) and get up there before they bothered Jeannie. The first few times, Jeannie was calling me on the radio as I was climbing the six tiered steps from our site to the top of the hill. One time I brought the change box but forgot my keys and Jeannie handed me hers. We felt terrible that people were bothering her on her day off, and that she was having to call us to tell us we had a sale. But then we realized that she keeps her radio on all of the time, so she must not mind.
On the second day, I sat outside, facing the vending area and tried to relax a bit. Jeannie didn’t have to call as often, and she said she even got to take a nap.
Now, on wood and ice days we sit outside with the dogs, reading, relaxing, keeping an eye on the vending area, in case someone drives up. And in between, we do our midday bathroom check and drive around, making sure our campers are settling in (and abiding by all of the rules).
And in the evenings we do our 7 pm drive around, stopping to watch the sun set over the lake. One evening we watched the two local elk mosey through the campground. First they were eating the grass along the side of the road, then they stopped at our neighbor’s bird bath for a drink. The larger of the two males nosed the empty hummingbird feeder, then checked the empty seed feeders, then they both ambled down to the lake.
It sounds like a pretty easy life. And it is. Still, by the time our days off roll around, we are tired and a little sore, and ready for the two-day break.
Two weeks ago I finally got my boat in the water. Marika and I folded the kayak into the back of the golf cart and drove down to the boat ramp. We inflated it then carried it to the water. Marika helped me push off and then I was gone without even a wave good bye. And it was glorious.
The boat listed to the right, but I guessed it was the slight current in the water. Then I wondered if I had the seats facing the wrong way. But then I heard the lapping of the water against the surf valve, and began to relax into trusting it was correct. I found my paddling rhythm quickly and there was no one on the water in view.
And the sky was big and blue with puffs of white clouds, and the water was cool and still, and the rock formations along the walls of the western banks were stunning. There were people fishing along the banks and I could hear their conversations as if I were right there next to them.
I paddled past the camp loops, beyond the tents sites, toward the narrowing of the lake where it meets Show Low Creek, until it was just me, in my boat, in the middle of the water with an Osprey overhead. I leaned my neck against the inflated seat back, so comfortable and supported that I could feel my heart opening. And then I ommmmed long and steady, for several sweet minutes, knowing how the sound carries across the water.
Since then, the monsoons have arrived, with gorgeous afternoon lightning and thunderstorms, which means no boats on the water. Instead, we sit under the awning as the rain pours down, until we have to go inside because we are getting too wet.
This week we have a break in the rains, and it is sunny and warm again, so I’m hoping Marika will join me for a paddle one late afternoon.
And this Friday we’re going with some fellow camp hosts to the extravagant Seafood Buffet at the nearby Casino. And in between all of our camp hosting, I’m still helping folks with the Mac and iPhones.
Yep, it’s a good life, indeed!