Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Roughing it

California has some of the cushiest campsites I've ever been to. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. Especially since there was no natural water near by. It's just that I don't remember anything more than a portapotty at the campsites we used to go to when I was a kid - that's if we were lucky. (Oh, and by the way, yes, I did walk to school in 8 feet of snow. Uphill, both ways.) But seriously. I was quite impressed with the facilities at the Juniper campground on Mt. Diablo, where I camped with some friends recently. In this lovely structure you see above, there are a fair number of flush toilets, with sinks and mirrors and, yes, toilet paper, in the units. There were the two outdoor sinks, one of which had warm running water. And - AND! - There were showers.

They weren't showers like you would have in your home, so much, but they weren't bad. They were the Navy type showers, or like the kind I encountered in a hostel in France last year. You hit the button once, and you get about two minutes of continuous water before it shuts off automatically. So that way, you can douse yourself, soap up, then rinse off, without wasting too much water. (Hint: if you keep hitting the button, the water keeps running :). Only major downside is, there was no way to adjust the water temperature. So it was great when I came down from a hot hike to the summit of Mt. Diablo in 95-degree weather, and the water was just a little bit cold. But not so great, I guess, if you were hoping to get a warm shower in the morning.

Now, the only problem with this brilliant watering facility was that it was a fair hike from the campground where we were stationed. There was a faucet for cold water, to use for cooking, etc. And, at the top of the loop, there were two "long-drop" style outhouses. A long-drop is basically a permanent porta-potty. It looks something like this:

I might have mentioned there were two. In fact one of them was "out of order" due to state budget restrictions. I suppose it's good that that one was out of order and not, say, the shower house. I manged somehow to not use the long-drop, and toughed it out with long walks, but in case you're wondering, the entrance looked like this:

And inside it looked like this:

At least the scenery looked like this:

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