Hmmm. Well Henry Coe, I’m just not sure what to think about you. This is the second time I’ve arrived thinking, “I’m never driving here again,” only to end up really enjoying myself. I still say the twisty, terribly maintained, road up to the campground is at least four miles too long. And I still say there are at least two spots within the campground loop where you need to post a sign or something stating: “It’s ok. The road does not actually disappear off a cliff. Just keep moving. There’s a road there, I promise.” And no, this campground is not meant for trailers, I get that, so every approach into a site makes it impossible (or at least really exciting in the dark) for backing. However, the views are beautiful, the vast expanse of wilderness is impressive for where it is located, and the LTE inside the campground can’t be beat.
We actually got out in good time Friday afternoon and were rolling by 3:30. It’s not that far a drive to get to the point on 101 where you head East and into the hills. But once you’re on East Dunne Road, it just keeps getting narrower, bumpier, and scarier because huge chunks of road have fallen off into the abyss and have yet to be repaired. In two spots, we encountered signs saying, “One Lane Road Ahead.” And I’m thinking, “Really? Because this already pretty much feels like one lane.” And you turn a corner to find that, for fifty feet or so, half the pavement has relocated to some lower point in the valley below. Then, when you finally reach the campground, it is already dark because you had to drive so slowly. Then, you need to follow a very steep and narrow “road” through the campground to get to your site. I opted to forgo any attempt at backing in and just pulled in straight. That actually turned out to be fine and it’s what I would do in the future, assuming we try again.
Once in the park though, you are rewarded with acres and acres of wilderness trails, plus stunning views over the hills. Because the place is not that easy to get to, it is also not very crowded in the campground. We were definitely the biggest rig there and almost everyone else was tent camping. You might see some vans or truck shell campers, but no one is going to haul a big rig up there. So it’s quiet and peaceful and very beautiful in the spring. It gets too hot up there in the summer, which is too bad because the extended light of day might make that drive easier. We got out on Saturday, after I banged out a report, and did a lovely 4 mile loop. Some wildflowers are starting to come up now and the backdrop scenery is all lush and green. Very peaceful.
Our evening entertainment got a little jolt of adrenaline when Richard knocked over the movie projector (he would probably assert that it was because I moved the speaker, causing the audio cable to be too tight, but the important part is that it was not me doing the actual knocking over). The first thing we saw when he quickly set it back up was the image of a very cracked lens. I can tell you the words coming out of our mouths did not include: “oh darn”. Fortunately, it turned out that the intro to the show we were watching just happened to land on this effect and it had nothing to do with the projector. Still, exciting. Time for a glass of wine.
When we left Sunday, it was not difficult at all to back out of the site and get out of the loop. In fact, I wonder about the idea of going the wrong way for just a little bit in order to get to site 16. That would avoid the parts where you truly cannot see the road under you until you start to go down it. It would also put me at an angle where I could maybe back in. It wasn’t a problem going car first, but Dory’s door then opened into a bush, rather than into the picnic table area. It was too cold for picnicking anyway, so no biggie.
The drive down did not bother me, probably because it was at no rush and in the daylight. We lunched at Andersen Lake again and noticed the water level was significantly lower than the last time we saw it. We chatted with a Sheriff, who was drawn to Dory, and shared some good campground recommendations.
All in all, I think this place would be great if I could do the drive in the daytime, and not after a full day of work. Sort of like how I felt about Salt Point. Maybe good for a three day weekend in the spring or late fall.
Site 16. I didn’t take data (just wanted to get out of the car, then forgot). I’d do this site again if I could approach it going the wrong way. Excellent LTE for us both. Water spigots, vault toilets, but nice bathrooms in the visitor center, which is nearby.