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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Maple Canyon Memories - Free Camping

Lol, just remembering Maple Canyon Utah Rock Climbing and Camping - long title, but it pretty well fits.

Back in August we went to Maple Canyon just outside of Fountain Green Utah for some Rock Climbing with some acquaintances from Momentum Climbing (a climbing gym in Sandy, Utah).

DW, being the prepared person she is purchased Maple Canyon Utah Reservations at ReserveAmerica.com for two sites for us and our friends. She printed up her reservations and we took them with us to the Maple Canyon Campground.

When we arrived there were people in our spots, one of which had our reservation posted with the wrong day, the other of which had no posting of our reservation at all. The rock climbers who already had the spots refused to leave, saying they were there first. We decided to wait it out, for the Maple Canyon Utah Campground Host to arrive, but it never happened. Turns out the Host is only there once or twice a week.

So we took the group camping site, which has a sign posted saying if you didn't make reservations and no one was there you could have it for $15/night. Good enough - about half the price of the ReserveAmerica ripoff fee.

With a bad taste in our mouth about the friendliness of climbers and the value of reserving ahead, we made our camp and managed to squeeze in a few lines of climbing on the Maple Canyon conglomerate in the Schoolroom area. Then we hung out and tried to sleep amidst the screams and howls of the people in our reserved campsite, apparently college age coeds who weren't quite sure who was sleeping in which bags that night and were trying to sort it out with drunken singing and poking games. Gotta love those young climbers. (in an aside there is almost nothing quite as amusingly ironic as a bunch of upper-middle-class college kids whose parents have bought them everything they ever wanted participating in a luxury sport while singing about how da man is oppressin dem)

We were pretty fed up with the whole mess and decided to just bag it and go home the next day, and after a lot of struggles with our car (battery ran down and none of the good rock climber people in the area wanted to risk damage to their small foreign cars by jumping us - "call AAA" they all moaned - probably used to being rescued by their parents all their prolonged childhood) we finally went home.

DW called ReserveAmerica and the US Forest Service. The Forest Service said that ReserveAmerica was jerking us around and explained how to get a refund from them. ReserveAmerica is apparently used to those tactics, and routinely sent us to the wrong division, for the wrong campground, the wrong state, and even threatened to charge our card triple for the Group Site we apparently stole from them (they even told us the USFS fee sign for $15 was not there and we were liars).

Morals of the story?

1 - Never ever reserve with ReserveAmerica - if there is any way to rip you off they will and there is no guarantee your reservation is even valid.
2 - Odds are 3-1 there is no Host at Maple Canyon Campground.
3 - Hence odds are 3-1 that camping is FREE at Maple Canyon Campground on any given day.
4 - Sport Climbers don't have jumper cables and aren't overall very self-sufficient.
5 - Sport Climbers don't share or play well with others.
6 - Drunk Sport Climbers spend way too much time worrying about sleeping-bag partners (could have just split the deck or something to save time).

Anyway, despite a small amount of tongue-in-cheek, that's what I learned that weekend.