America the Beautiful

November 9th, 2008

America the Beautiful Annual PassI know a lot of fulltimers swear by various camping club memberships to keep their camping costs down throughout the year, but at Hitek Homeless, our focus is on avoiding camping fees altogether. That being said, sometimes it is just more practical to stay in an established campground overnight and some sort of discount card sure would be nice.

Recently, we stopped over in a national forest and it was getting too late to be out looking for a campsite in the dark. The fees posted for this campsite were $5/day. You can’t beat that with a stick, right? Wrong! For the first time, I noticed that our America the Beautiful pass would allow us to camp for HALF PRICE somewhere.

Now, I happen to think this interagency pass is an excellent deal for folks that want to check out the national parks as they travel, so we picked one up while visiting the Wright Brothers memorial in Kitty Hawk, NC. At the time, we joked about buying an $80 pass to avoid paying an $8 entrance fee. But, you’ve got to remember that the interagency pass takes an all you can eat approach to entrance fees. It will get you and up to three other people into just about every federal area where they charge an entrance fee for free. This includes national parks, monuments and historic sites, forestry service, bureau of land management, bureau of reclamation and fish and wildlife sites as well as federal recreation lands.

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Building a bat gate

September 24th, 2008

Well, we’ve got more than a bar of Internet tonight, so I figure it’s time we got caught up on some blogging.

Horn Hollow Cave

After we spent a couple of weekends at the Great Saltpetre Preserve caving with some great people from the area, we headed towards Boone, NC to start our next stint as carnies. However, we got sidetracked leaving Kentucky as Jenn noticed Carter Caves State Park was just a few miles out of the way. As this is where Crawl-a-thon is held in January, we decided it would be worth a quick stop over and looksee.

We got up bright and early and explored Laurel and Horn Hollow caves. Both are rather short trips, that have been ‘prepared’ for tourists, but they are still unlit, self-led trips. Horn Hollow has a beautiful entrance, but is otherwise not much to look at from inside. Laurel was quite a pretty little cave and we were able to get off-trail and explore the upper passage as well as climb a small waterfall that most non-cavers would have never seen.

Roy and Jerry. The gate is now complete.

Once we got to the camper, covered in cave mud, and I got stripped down to my high performance underwear, a couple of guys walked up, and rather than running away, they wanted to chat, which marked them as cavers and not afraid of dirty, half-dressed hippies in a parking lot. This was our introduction to Roy and Jerry. They were in the area building a bat gate, which is designed to let bats in, but keep people out during bat hibernation season. Since we were the only muddy folks around with a bat sticker on our vehicle, they assumed we’d be good suckers, err… candidates, to volunteer to help out.

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Mommy, where does the Internet come from?

June 17th, 2008

hummer01

It turns out that our new campsite wasn’t quite as deserted as we had hoped. Every couple of hours this Hummer drives by with a tour group. Since they never come back down past us, I assume they’re just driving a loop through the national forest. A few other folks drive by on occasion, but for the most part, they don’t slow down and point.

As we hadn’t been out for a hike in a while, we decided to hike up one of the less improved roads to the top of the mountain. We were keeping an eye out for a new campsite, hazards we might have trouble crossing with the camper and halfway hoping we were on the right road to reach the lookout tower.

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Water, Water Everywhere

June 11th, 2008

We’ve been in the Nantahala National Forest for nearly a week. We found a beautiful primitive camp site in the Highlands/Franklin, NC area. It’s only downfall is that its a good ten miles from the nearest phone service and internet connection. Since Sunday afternoon, we’ve seen a few people come back in the area to hike, but not a single camper.

I’m sure there will be a few coming in for the weekend just as last weekend, but the sites are quite spread out. Unless you are specifically wanting the single group site with four picnic tables, you can’t hear or see your neighbors except when they drive past.

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