The Man and I got up the mountain early and started our season of work. He was hired to be the camp host at the campground where I’d held that position for two seasons as well as to work at the parking lot for the trail. I was hired to work at the store, but it wasn’t scheduled to open until Memorial Day Weekend. Before the campgrounds were even open, The Man was working to get his and the one next to the parking lot ready for campers. I worked at the parking lot on the weekends, collected the day use envelopes each evening, and spent my nights babysitting yurts.
We worked on the mountain for six days, then went back down in the valley for staff training. We spent two days in the conference room of a shabby hotel with our work camper peers, learning about the company we work for and how to properly complete paperwork. Our two days off (Friday and Saturday) occurred immediately after our training. Friday was payday, so we stayed in town Thursday night and did our shopping on Friday morning. We were back on the mountain by early Friday afternoon. All told, we spent two nights away from the campground.
On Sunday I worked at the parking lot while The Man did more prep work at the main campground. On Monday I spent my entire work day reconciling the money I’d collected at the parking lot over the last eight days while The Man wroked at the main campground again, this time removing tarps from yurt platforms. We ate breakfast and dinner at our campground on those days, and The Man spent his nights there while I was away guarding the yurts, but neither of us ventured far from our campsite.
On Tuesday we planned to spend our morning at our campground. The store yurt was up, and the box truck with all the fixtures was supposed to arrive on Tuesday afternoon. The Man and I were going to help unload it. Before that, I wanted to give the restrooms at the trail a good sanitizing cleaning. The Man and I decided before we headed to our work down the road, we’d spend the early part of our morning working at our campground.
I was in a restroom on the back side of the campground wiping down the outside of a pit toilet when I heard The Man yell.
Honey! Honey! he shouted. Someone stole a fire ring!
A fire ring? I wondered. Those things were made of metal and heavy. How could someone steal a fire ring? Doing so would not be a casual endeavor. Why would someone steal a fire ring?
I walked out to where The Man was standing on site #1. Sure enough, it was lacking a fire ring. I remembered seeing it while raking on site #1 before we went to civilization for training, so I knew it hadn’t been stolen over the winter.
The thieves had pulled the fire ring up from where it had been partially sunk in the ground. We could see the marks in the dirt where it had been dragged across the site.
The Man wondered if someone he’d told the campground was closed and sent on their way had stolen the fire ring as a form of revenge.
I doubt it, I told him. No one in a Volvo stole the fire ring to bring it home to suburbs. I bet someone in a truck took it, but there’s no way we’ll ever know.
The Man said this was a wake-up call for us; we should put our things (water jugs, stove, propane tank) away when we left the campground. I just mentally rolled my eyes. I always put my stuff away before The Man came along and told me I was being overly cautious.
I can’t believe someone stole the fire ring, The Man said for the tenth time.
Actually, I counterd, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before.
If you enjoyed this story, check out my book Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. It’s all about my two seasons as a camp host and parking lot attendant at a very popular trailhead.