Camphost Post #1

We made it!

It was so strange to wake up and not know what our new home looked like.  The campground is huge, with over 140 sites, and heavily forested with pines.  We opened the curtains, and discovered that we have the best site in the place!  It is a double site, long enough for another RV beside us, and in front of us, too!

We have full hookups in that brown doghouse beside the RV with water and electric, and a private sewer for dumping our tanks.The black cage in front of the RV is where we store our firewood to sell to campers.  The site is mostly shaded, with full sun only for a bit in mid-day.

That first day, we wanted to get oriented to our surroundings, so we first headed to the Big Bear Discovery Center, right down the road from us, to go on a hike with a naturalist. (Is that the right word?  I mean a botantist/geologist sort, not a nudist!)

We learned so much about the plants in our area!  The forest around us is primarily Western Juniper and Jefferey Pines, with lots of fragrant Pinyon Pine trees, too.  Thanks to that hike, I can name all the species of plants that I can see at my campsite!

We drove all the way around Big Bear Lake, to see the locations of important places like the grocery, laundromat, and Library!  Of course, I also located the ice cream shops in town for future reference.

On Sunday, we went on a self-guided hike that is also just down the road from us.  Thanks to that trail, we added about 10 species to our knowledge base, and learned fun facts, like the Jefferey Pine smells like vanilla (really!) and there’s a plant (Yerba Santa) commonly called Indian Chewing Gum, that is a close approximation to spearmint, and quite cleansing to the palate.  I spent a lot of time watching out for rattlesnakes.  I’m not scared of the snakes from Ohio, but I’m nervous to run into the venomous variety.  Seems that looking out for where you place your feet and hands is the best way to avoid a confrontation.

I’m also proud to say that I used my Easy Bake oven and made a frittata, and I made chili in the pressure cooker.

Monday and Tuesday, we attended training for all the camphosts in the San Bernardino Forest area.  About 40 folks attended, and we were teased for being the youngest in the room, by far.  The training was superb–I feel like we have joined the Grandview Library of the concessionaire world.  What I mean is, it’s a company that takes pride in knowledgeable, customer-service oriented employees, good looking campgrounds and vehicles, and empowers camphosts with autonomy to make decisions based on common sense.  The company insists on doing things the right way, even if that means spending a bit more money, or more time to train folks.

It was fun to meet so many other full-timers, and to see that half of the room was returning employees.  When people come back to a seasonal job year after year, they must be happy.  I think we picked the right company to work for!

We now have the task of learning “The Bible”, the company policy handbook of about 500 pages.  This is a completely new world to me, and I’m starting from scratch on all my knowledge.  We have tomorrow off, and then will work with seasoned camphosts on Thursday to learn the ropes. We already have been entrusted with a golf cart.

Tomorrow we may hike the Cougar Crest, which connects our campground with the Pacific Crest Trail…we could hike all the way to Canada if we felt like it.

So far, it’s all really good.

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