Coho Campground, part 2

Day #2 at Coho Campground

My first night at Coho Campground was a Monday night.  Even though it was August and the height of summer, I had no neighbors in any of the surrounding campsites.  I saw and heard no one.  Just the birds and they are the most wonderful of neighbors. 🙂

Besides exploring and enjoying this area in general, I had three specific items on my agenda for this August week of camping:

1.  Test my electricity usage vs. the trailer’s battery capacity to see how long the trailer’s battery would last without being plugged into shore power or charged from an outside source;

2.  Drive up and down some of the Forest Service roads around Lake Wynoochee and look for more dispersed or “boondocking” camp sites;

3.  Check out the Satsop Work Center Campground for possible future camping options.

But first off, I hadn’t done the dinner dishes yesterday evening, so I washed up the dishes from yesterday and from breakfast this morning.

After the chores were done, with the campground mostly empty this early in the week, I took myself for a little walk-about to check out the two loops of this campground.  I figured it was a good time to check out specific campsites for future use.  My habit has been to take photos of campsite numbers rather than write the numbers down.  Numbers jotted down on note papers might get lost and I hadn’t yet set up a larger notebook as a “log”, so photos worked well in that they were dated so I would always know where and when they were taken.

Doesn’t tell you much, does it?  But it works for me. 🙂

The photo above was the view of the lake through the trees from campsite #34.

Just before lunchtime, I walked through some forest trails inside the campground and then down to the boat launch area that’s centered between the two campsite loops.

The remains of old logging operations were in evidence.  There were many monstrous stumps like the one above that was at least ten feet in diameter.

And then I arrived at the boat ramp and the lake (Wynoochee) and sunshine!

Perfect timing, here comes a boat!  The open run-about boat had two adults and two kids on board.  They pulled the boat up onto the rocks along the shore (did not go to the sandy area next to the boat ramp); the two kids jumped out over the bow of the boat and raced up to the bathroom and then raced back to the boat; and off they went again with lots of fishing gear on board.

After I had lunch back at the campsite, it was time for a drive in the afternoon to explore the Forest Service road that runs up the east side of Lake Wynoochee.  There were lots of boondocking spots along that road and just off that road.  I liked two of them in particular that were right on the lake or on the river that fed the lake.  On that previous day-trip this past March, my friend and I found several boondocking spots.  I found even more today.  The best of them got marked on my map for future reference!

The photo above is on a side road heading into some of the boondocking sites.  With lots of potholes, it would be slow going if I had the trailer in tow, but nothing the rig couldn’t handle.

Here’s just a small portion of a map (below) of Forest Service roads that are around the north end of Lake Wynoochee.  The large map book with all of the Forest Service roads looks like a whole mess of inked up worms crawled all over the page.  There are hundreds of roads that clamber all over these hills and mountains, with boondocking sites tucked in everywhere.

This map shows that red and yellow roads were closed, but all of them were open when I was there.  Some roads are closed certain times of year for breeding seasons.  As well the Forest Service has permanently closed some roads because traffic on those roads tends to move wildlife out of the area and onto private land.

Here’s a short video (below) of the Forest Service road that runs along the east side of Lake Wynoochee and heads up into the mountains north of the lake.  After a long time with no side roads, no turn-outs, no views, not even any other vehicles, I decided it was time to turn around and head back to camp.

Back at the south end of Lake Wynoochee, just before the turn to the right into Coho Campground, another Forest Service road took off in the opposite direction, east, and a sign said “Satsop Work Center Campground“.  That was on my list to explore so off I went.

It seems odd to me that I didn’t take any photos of Satsop Center, but I didn’t.  On the other hand, the camping facilities weren’t attractive.  The sites for RV’s were absolutely right smack beside each other, just a few feet apart, and immediately behind that row of RV sites was a large open grassy area for a couple dozen tents.  There was no privacy anywhere, either visual or sound.

The RV sites each had electrical and water hookups however.

The man who manages that facility said they are working on creating RV sites in the woods, more like the sites in Coho Campground.  Satsop has internet wifi available, so it will be very popular if they improve those RV sites.

What was attractive at Satsop Work Center were two buildings (photo above taken from the internet) that contained lodgings for rent.  I think there were four units, each with a small kitchen and four small bedrooms (each bedroom with two twin beds).  There was one shared men’s bathroom/shower in one building … and one shared women’s bathroom/shower in the other building.  [Originally, these buildings housed workers, all men, so there was no need for facilities for women.]

Each of the rentable units is small and has only a curtain instead of a door at each bedroom, but they are only $35/bedroom or $120 for one unit (sleeping 8 people) so are quite affordable.  The manager told me they get groups of folks there all year round.  In the winter, friends and families will gather here to celebrate the winter holidays, especially when it snows.

Eventually, the big white truck took me back to my my little trailer, my home away from home on Lake Wynoochee in Coho Campground.  As I drove around Loop B to get back to my campsite, I noticed a campsite that had been occupied but was now empty so I stopped to check it out.  It was great … level, private, wide and easy access, with a super view of the lake.  Campsite #33 goes on the list!

Back at my trailer in site #39, I checked battery voltage and amperage.  It certainly was dropping, but was still ok for the night, or so I thought.  In truth, right about 9:30pm, everything in the trailer shut down.  sigh … well, I guess it’s bedtime.  The propane alarm was squawking at me because it didn’t have 12v any more, so I turned the propane off at the tanks and turned the propane alarm off and slept like a baby.  Of course that was after dinner and another piece of pie.  Tomorrow would be soon enough to deal with this.  I had dreams to dream and logs to saw.

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8 Responses to Coho Campground, part 2

  1. Ginger D says:

    Ha ha, love the sound effects in your video when you hit a bump.
    All the pictures are pretty, but I really like the ones of the lake.
    When I used to go camping in Utah I kept a log of camp sites too.

  2. marif says:

    What is a boondock site? I’m loving your blog! Travel vicariously. Only way I can do that now.

    • Ann says:

      Hi Marif,
      Well, glad you asked! 🙂 “Boondocking” is camping at free sites that are not in a maintained campground. They have no electricity or water hookups of course. What I know about them is information that I’ve gleaned off the internet, off other people’s blogs, and a limited amount of first hand input from National Park Rangers, and my own little bit of experience. National Parks don’t have them, but National Forests do have them and most other federal land (BLM, Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Reclamation, etc) has them and other organizations offer them as well. I believe that, in National Forests, there has to be a fire ring at the site/spot and that’s about it … then you can camp there. However, one can also “boondock” at most Walmart’s around the country, truck stops, Cracker Barrel stores, some casinos. There are huge lists online and even books listing places to boondock. The official government word for boondocking is “dispersed camping”. People who are in the know, however (like me … and now you), say “boondocking” .. tho I’ve heard a few folks say they are going “boondoggling” which I like too. You and T are always welcome on this journey, that’s for sure.

  3. Kristin says:

    How I would love to take Grace on those paths/roads!

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