Thanks Alvin! We just returned home from the trip - we stayed at the Rock Lake campground, southern part of the park. What a gorgeous place.
We heard wolves howling in the not-super-distant distance almost every morning, a beaver splashing in the creek alongside the campground, chipmunks and grackles all over...such a delight for somebody who's stuck living in the middle of a big city. We rented a canoe for the week and were able to put it in the water right near the campground for some afternoon outings.
Only downside was the weekend campers, the usual get stoned and help the whole campground listen to the collected works of AC/DC and Steely Dan crowd. Not enough rolly eyes for that mess. We were there from a Wednesday, 8 days to the following Thursday, so got to enjoy two quiet mid-weeks.
The shower/laundry house was nice and clean enough. Helpful park staff. Really nice visitor center with wifi that we took advantage of.
The bugs were no better or worse than I'd expected. We came prepared with bug jackets and head nets - basically bug burqas. Out in the woods doing photography we added gloves and ended up coming home not really covered in bites, so that's good. Mosquito coils did the best job keeping the bugs at bay inside the trailer, compared to citronella candles and those butane powered thingies that I also busted out. The butane thing made us feel a little icky, from breathing the fumes, so we only tried that one evening. They're really meant for not-indoor applications. I know there are better times of the year for avoiding the mosquitoes and black flies, but I was unsuccessful in persuading the university where we work to rearrange the timing of the summer term break.
We're definitely planning to go back in the fall
, and probably the winter too. We made some new photographer friends, including one who's connected to some sled-dog folks, so I'm looking forward to a sled-dog adventure over our winter term break! It's a full day's drive from where I live, which really isn't so bad, compared to the three days it takes at trailer-towing speeds to reach someplace like Wyoming.
We went for the wildlife photography, and had a ball with it. Moose, fox, and beaver were the highlights, with some birds and otters sprinkled in. Getting songbirds was pretty hard, with them being so dispersed in that huge area - here in the mid-atlantic you just kind of step outside and they are pretty easy to photograph, by comparison. We had hoped for more bear sightings - just saw one crossing the road, and heard one snorfling in the bushes during a walk around the Mew Lake area. We also saw a wolf crossing the road, which for a couple of wildlife enthusiasts was super exciting, as we know that seeing those critters is a rare occasion indeed.
Anybody traveling in the area should go have lunch or dinner at the Mad Musher, a casual-type restaurant in Whitney, just east of the east gate of the park on highway 60. Excellent elk burgers!
Here are a couple of images from the trip. Anybody interested in seeing more can check out my Flickr page at Flickr: jen britton's Photostream