Campers love Moonshine Creek and envy Work Campers being able to stay for the entire season. The sound of the rushing creek cannot be escaped. There are always flowers blooming (wild and planted). The canopies of tall trees keep things cool and lush. The tiny ground squirrels are so cute. The migrating butterflies are marvelous all season long until the night air gets down into the forties. Their numbers and variety of colors awe even those usually oblivious to the joys of nature. I love all those things too, but there is another side of the coin.
This area of Appalachia is eccentric because of influences most of us have never experienced much less dealt with in our modern world. It wasn’t common for every home to have electricity and indoor plumbing until the mid-fifties and the locals are still fighting for modern conveniences we often take for granted.
The owner of the campground has a battery of satellite dishes on a high ridge to provide “cable” TV to campers. He’s done this because there is no cable service, satellite reception or DSL available in the campground. Earlier this season there was a county wide plea for those interested in subscribing to high speed DSL to speak up and be counted. The leaders of Jackson County hoped to show potential companies there is a big enough demand to make it worth their while to invest in Jackson County.
All reservations for campsites are recorded manually in a big book. Converting to a computer system would be a disaster because of power glitches and outages. It’s not unusual to have daily glitches. We have batteries in digital clocks so we don’t have to continually reset the time. There is a back-up generator for the credit card machine and another for the water pump when power stays off for extended periods of time.
Because the campground is in a gorge, phone service can be slim to none. It isn’t unusual to see people standing in the middle of a camp road, talking on the phone. The roads are away from the mountain sides so offer the best reception area. Verizon and AT&T are the only services that work some of the time in some places. We get two or less bars in camp but five bars outside the campground and no service in other places. A ‘Hot Spot’ is the only way to get internet service and that can be iffy at times. Forget Skype, webinars, podcasts or Youtube. It ‘ain’t gonna happen’. If you’re used to watching streaming videos and movies, you better dust off your DVD wish list and have those videos snail-mailed.
And then there’s your GPS. Part of our phone spiel to folks making reservations by phone, is to tell them not to use their GPS when they get close to camp. It’s not as critical if you are in a car only, but if you are towing a vehicle, are in a tall vehicle or on a bicycle or motorcycle it could be damaging, impossible or life threatening to follow your GPS directions. Tight switchbacks, steep grades, a single lane bridge and a low clearance train trestle are part of the ‘scenic route’ your GPS may guide you through. We aren’t the only place in Western North Carolina that has the problem. It’s not completely the fault of the GPS. Towering thick trees and mountains can cause reception problems, but the human factor in the way mapping was uploaded for the area seems to be the main cause.
So maybe this side of the coin has its own special appeal. It makes the area a viable escape from the rat race. It becomes a quiet, slow paced place to unwind, read, and enjoy relationships with humans and pets. I’ve heard yarns about some dogs making special requests for their owners to return for additional visits in a season.
The simple pleasure of entertaining one’s self is a lost art for some, but once learned it’s never completely forgotten and can be a wonderful vehicle to recharge our lives.
So, after six months of being ‘out of the rat race’ I hope I’m super charged and looking forward to my next adventure.