For those of you who don’t know, I organize the biggest Dachshund activity club in Seattle – the Adventureweiner Club. Our activities include hiking, dog park play dates, local pet events and the like. Now we can add “camping” to our list.
I organized a camping trip to Deception Pass State Park, located a couple of hours north of Seattle. This was my first experience with this type of event so I went into it with my eyes wide open but in total information gathering and learning mode. I could see potential problems with getting a lot of Doxies together in a public campground because they tend to bark more in packs. I kept the group number low. About 10 people came with 13 Dachshunds total.
Before checking into our camp site we hiked around Rosario Head on the north side of the pass. After we set up camp we hiked on the beach and did a small parade through our campground loop. The goal was to tire out the dogs to reduce any potential issues.
The camping trip was fun overall but I certainly learned some things to consider next time I organize a group camping trip.
- Call the campground before you go with a big group to verify how many tents are allowed and will fit on the site. The website led me to believe that 8 tents would fit between the two sites we had reserved but when we arrived there were only 4 good spots and 2 marginal ones.
- Don’t pick a campsite in a high traffic area. Our site was about 3 feet from the road and on a busy corner. This meant that people were walking and kids were riding their bikes past us all of the time…which led to “intruder” barking pretty frequently. This particular campground is VERY popular and crowded. Reservations start to fill up a year in advance. Next time I will remember to make a reservation early so we can pick a campsite a little more out of the way or just find a campsite that is less crowded.
- When camping in a large group, potluck-style meals are great. Everyone can chip in, you only need to set up one or two stoves and everyone can eat at the same time instead of waiting for their turn to make their food.
- Remember that not everyone on the trip may be comfortable with alcohol. If alcohol is allowed in the campground there are two ways to approach the issue respctfully. Either make it a dry camp or make it known that alcohol is allowed but only in moderation. If someone doesn’t follow the rules, they won’t be allowed to attend future camping trips (make that known up-front too).
- If you are the organizer, sleep in your own tent. Because of the space issue I shared a tent with my friend. That would have been ok but every time she got up, or our dogs moved around, the crinkly floor or tent zipper woke me up. Good sleep is extra important for the event organizer. It’s also nice to have your own space to retreat too.
- Bring earplugs. As the group organizer I wouldn’t be comfortable wearing them myself. I feel a responsibility to monitor what goes on with our group at all times to head-off any potential problems…and that includes in the middle of the night. However, I would suggest ear plugs to other people in our group so that they can make sure they get a good nights sleep. Besides potential issues with our own group, there were hundreds of potentially obnoxious campers, screaming children and barking dogs at the campground. The morning us much more pleasant if everyone is rested.
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