The Case Of The Encroaching Campers
Meramec State Park

Missouri has this year implemented a new reservation system
whereby almost all of the campsites are reservable; therefore,
if you plan on a trip to one in advance, and have never been there, it seems wise
to reserve a site, not knowing how popular it is.

So was the case with Meremec State Park. I made a reservation on January 2
(the reservation system went into effect on Jan 1) knowing this is a
popular park with floaters, although the state park actually warns you
not to go on weekends in the summer...overcrowded!

Anyway, we got there on June 2, a cool and rainy day,
only to find the park practically empty and that campers had placed their tents,
from a site across the way from our site, all the way up to our "driveway."

Not wishing to camp atop a tent, we switched sites;
in the driving rain, no less, with the park empty, here comes
an elderly man on a scooter to tell us that the sites with the reserveable signs,
even though available, had to be arranged for by calling the 800 number
for the state park service. Now I knew this could not possibly be correct,
as there were most all the sites reservable, so, as my cell phone had
no service down there, I made my way up a steep grade
to the park office, leaving my husband and daughter to start setting up.

On the way up the hill, our 5 gallons of fresh drinking water toppled over
(my daughter usually sits in front of it)and soaked the van.

Upon getting to the office, I was told that of coarse
you can choose a reservable site as long as it is available,
and guess who had the list...the old man whom I had just spoken to!

Upon return to the campsite, I found my husband and daughter
standing in the pouring rain;
apparantly they had been told by the old man to not set up yet
until we paid for the site, and the fee booth was closed for lunch.

Needless to say, this put a damper on our whole trip.
I don't mind camping in cool, wet weather, but the fun had been taken out of it
by this guy's misinformation and sour attitude.

We did go hiking on a trail by Fisher cave, although we did not tour the cave
(we'd had enough of cold and damp, thank you!); one of the few trails that are
actually marked, it is only half mile and scenic.
On a drier day it would have been lovely.

We ended up staying only one night for, with only
about a dozen campers in the wole park, another 2 carloads of campers came and,
you guessed it, pitched their tents practically under our bunk-end and
strung their clothsline about 10 inches from our slide-out dinette (what a view!).

Well, there's always next trip to look forward to!

If for some reason you would like more information about
Meramec State Park, click here

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