Checklist For A Camp Site

We’re travelling down a bumpy gravel road in a state forest near Buckland. The road is narrow and some of the overgrown bushes scrape the side of the van as we pass through. The van sways from side to side as I negotiate the dips and holes in the road and avoid the rocks that lay upon it.

I hope there’s somewhere to turn around, I think to myself.

We’re looking for a camp for the night. Somewhere nice to park the van and enjoy the bush. I’m hoping to make it across the forest on the old logging roads to find a spot near the river.

Ahead, the road narrows further and dips down to a dry creek bed. The depth of the ruts in the dried mud tell me that we’re not going any further.

Fortunately, there’s a small gravel lay-by on the left. I pull in and cut the engine.

But, we’re not the only ones parked there. Beside us lays the chassis of an old ute, and by the look of it it’s been there a while!

I open the sliding door of the van and Willow jumps out to explore.

Willow jumps up onto the bonnet of the wreck as I take a look. The old ute has been gutted inside and out, the engine removed, and anything of value taken. But this old ute isn’t as old as it looks, and it certainly didn’t make its own way here.

Looking at the charred trees around it, it’s clear the chassis has been set alight, no doubt a stolen vehicle that was stripped before being dumped in the bush.

Willow sniffs at the wreck before lying down on the roof.

Now, finding old wrecks in the bush is an all too common occurrence for us. Then I think about why this is.

We have a checklist for finding suitable campsites.

  • Private and away from other campers.
  • Quiet, away from busy roads.
  • Level so we don’t need to chock the van up.

Following these rules we have found many a beautiful campsite. But, unfortunately there are a group of people in our society who seem to utilise this same checklist.

These are the people who believe it’s okay to dump their refuse in the middle of the forest. The people who steal cars for profit or joyriding and then dump the chassis. The people who can’t be bothered taking their trailer load of rubbish to the tip.

  • Private, so no other people will see them dumping.
  • Quiet, so no one driving past observe their vehicle.
  • Level, so they can quickly offload.

This is the reality of many of the camps we find. The juxtaposition of being surrounded by nature yet sharing the experience with an old washing machine.

Though, Willow doesn’t seem to mind.

I get out my laptop and start looking at the satellite maps of the area. It’s hard to tell from above which of the old roads will be passable.

Willow sits under the van for a while before jumping back inside. The ferns are beautiful here and the birdsong amazing, but I think I know another spot just on the other side of the forest.

It shouldn’t take too long to get there!

* * *

Finding dumped rubbish in the forest is an all too common occurrence. It’s frustrating to say the least but sometimes makes for an interesting photoshoot! When we camp somewhere I like to see if I can pick up a bag of rubbish and leave the place cleaner than when we found it. Though, those car bodies will be staying where they are!

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