While traipsing about Oregon we had some business to attend to in Grants Pass and decided to spend some time exploring the area. In this instance we chose to see what our friends at Freecampsites.net had to offer, found a place called Burma Pond in their listings that sounded interesting and headed that way. It is about 25 miles up Hwy 5 above Grants Pass and then about 6 more miles on a mix of paved and less-than-smooth dirt roads to get there.
When we arrived it at first appeared to be an awesome spot. A man-made pond situated within a densely forested area with a vault toilet and garbage service although no potable water.
Sadly it was obvious that people of the scumbag type had been there before us and graciously left us a broken plastic garbage can as well as some garbage left sitting on the ground next to the garbage can (talk about lazy).
This even though there are garbage cans available right next to the vault toilet all of 100 feet to the left of the photo above. Lazy bastards. I guess now is the time we introduce our offerings for a suitable Binomial nomenclature (a.k.a Scientific name or Latin name) for such a despicable species. We have not yet made our final selection but the front-runner so far is Odoriferous blitei (smelly tasteless/worthless/useless stuff, trash).
Once we settled in we started seeing some more details such as the hundreds of cigarette butts littered all over the area like a stinky carpet. Many people obviously find joy in standing still in such a pretty place, smoking cigarette after cigarette ad nauseam and then dropping the butts at their feet.
“Hey, we’re in a forest, lets throw our hot cigarette butts all over the place. No forest fire was ever started that way right?” Sadly, Eugenics is illegal.
After we had set up camp and picked up a bag of garbage so we were not tramping all over it in our site we pulled out our fishing pole to see what was biting.
I would highly recommend that you not eat anything you catch out of the pond. Regardless of the fact that fire belly newts seem to be thriving in the environment, each morning there is an oily sheen on the surface that hides itself when the late morning breeze inevitably kicks up. If you forget about that and go fishing you will certainly catch some of the aquatic flora and soon realize that the strong skunky petroleum smell is wafting off the plant you just pulled to the surface. The water was full of aquatic grasses and reeds and it was a rare cast that we didn’t bring up some plant matter. It smelled really bad but we saw, literally, hundreds of Fire Belly Newts cavorting about both on land and in the water so figured the water can’t be that polluted if such an indicator species is so successful.
One morning we witnessed a mass suicide of hundreds of thousands of winged ants or small termites who took flight at first light and immediately flew directly into the pond where their wings popped off and they struggled for a while before drowning. We’re not sure what caused that but could tell that the Fire Belly Newts were thrilled and were swimming around gorging themselves on the easy prey.
In celebration of their fat bellies we saw numerous pairs slowly swimming together clasped in a mating embrace.
While the spot initially looked promising the sheer number of people stopping by to do this or that was extremely intrusive. Some came to fish in the pond. Some came to stand around smoking and then litter their butts all over the place. Others arrived to let their dogs loose and repeatedly yell at them to come or sit or stay which the dogs repeatedly ignored and the owners repeatedly continued with the yelled commands hoping that maybe once the dog might do something different (I believe that is one of the classic definitions of stupidity). They also paid zero attention to the dogs pooping all over the place and made no effort to clean up after them. Some came to do all of the above.
There was also the nightly occurrence of people showing up well past dark and fumbling around with headlamp or flashlight to find a suitable camping spot. On Thursday night they arrived at 10:30 and spent a half an hour stumbling around with headlamps, opening and slamming their car doors shut dozens of times, arming and disarming their car alarm a half-dozen times and generally making a nuisance of themselves before finally setting up camp for the night. Thankfully they left Friday morning. On Friday night at 11:40 someone with muffler problems showed up and did a couple of noisy loops around the campground before racing off into the night. On Saturday night someone showed up at midnight on the dot and proceeded to take 15 minutes driving around and around the campsite, pulling U-turns and multi-point turns to change direction in a campground that is one big loop (with headlights on) before finally finding a spot (that they had passed at least twice before) that met their needs. Not content to just go to sleep they then made several stealthy approaches towards our camp on foot without using any light source. Kind of suspicious activity don’t you think? I congratulate myself on showing such restraint as to not shoot first and ask questions later.
So, even though this post might have a bit of a negative tone to it we are not going to write Burma Pond off altogether. Now that we know what to expect we will arrange our next visit so that we arrive on a Monday and leave on Friday morning so as to minimize our interactions with the sketchy locals.