I pulled up to the ranger station at Camden Hills State Park with the usual site-anxiety that grips me upon entering each new campground. Would our site be spacious? Would there be room for the boys to play and scream? Or would we be staring at a 50 foot RV’s sewage lines all week and yelling at our boys to get out of our neighbors dirty fire ring? It may seem greedy for me to always expect a really big site–but when your kids wake up at 5 am each morning with 1000 AMP energy you don’t want to be 10 feet away from your (temporarily) sleeping neighbors.
We don’t want a huge site because we don’t like other campers. We want a huge site because we really do like other campers and we want them to like us. Waking strangers up at 5 am is no way to make new friends–if you don’t believe me try it sometime.
After I filled out the registration forms the ranger pointed to a huge field to the right of the station and said, “your site is all the way at the end of that field.” “Field,” I thought. I don’t want to camp on no stinkin’ field! When I reserved the site in March the ranger told me that we were at the edge of the woods. I assumed that this meant that we were in the woods and the field was right past that. Here we go again–another stinky site reserved months ago after extensive research.
I grumpily drove through the woods and pulled onto the single lane of sites on the field at the edge of the woods. Our camping buddies had already arrived and set up their Jayco pop-up and their kids where playing on the grass. Then I started to lighten up a bit.
It was just one single row of sites. No campers in front of us. No campers right behind us. We had the site at the end of the row. So no campers to the right of us either. Our camping buddies had the site to our left. Then I really started to lighten up. Our campsite was huge! This was no pie slice of a site, this was a genuine piece of central Maine real estate. I could have built a home on this site and started a new life. These sites were about three times the size of a site at a private campground. The photo below is of just the two sites that we occupied with our friends and the field in front of us!
As I raised the roof up and extended the bed-ends on our pop-up I could only hear shrieks of laughter and pure joy. My first impression was dead wrong. This place was heaven. The sun was very intense in the mornings–so we did leave early for each mornings activity to avoid the heat. We returned from each activity at about noon to feed the boys lunch and give them a nap. When they woke up from nap time each day our site was shaded and cool and the filed was warm and bright. Perfecto!
Oh, and did I mention the panoramic view at the top of the park from Mount Battie? It’s just a short hike or an even shorter drive from your campsite to one of the most famous spots in Maine. It’s not as cool as the magic drainage ditch, but you can jump and dance up there too, and you won’t wake up any of the other campers if you do.