My wife and I usually go to Allegheny County every December to visit one or another of the choose 'n' cut xmas tree farms there for our holiday tree. This year we decided to take our Casita
to Stone Mountain State Park and camp there so that I could get in some hiking and so that we could leisurely make the short drive from there to Sparta to find our tree.
We had not realized that the park had just opened its new campground. We were, in fact, staying there the first night this new campground was open. (I'll try to add photos later.)
The old section was closed down, although I could not get a straight answer as to whether this was permanent or temporary. The old section is all in trees and is very nice, and I was disappointed we could not stay there. The new loops are very nice in that they have very excellent asphalt runs, enormous
tent pads and nice fire rings lined with fire brick, with both electric and water hookups. There is also an extremely nice, modern bathhouse with flush toilets and hot shower stalls.
However, there are no trees at the sites. Just open grass. It's going to be very hot there come the summer. And there's not a lot of personality to an asphalt run and gravel tent pad with no trees to speak of.
All very nice, as far as functionality goes, but I'd rather be camped out in the trees.
I suppose they will eventually plant some trees, perhaps some pines. They can't plant hemlocks (which should be the logical choice) because the introduced asian pest, the wooly adelgid, is killing all of the hemlock trees in North America and they will soon be extinct here. (I could tell that the hemlocks in the park are already dying out.)
Since we were the first (and only) trailer to arrive at the campground on Friday (its opening day) we picked out a site next to the creek and I backed in my Casita
and plugged in the power and hooked up the water and turned on the water...only to discover that there was no water pressure! So I drove back to the office to inform them that we had no water (I'd also checked other sites on the way back to the office and they, too, had no water pressure). The woman in the office told me they were having trouble with the water system and that I should go to the campground host (who was set up in the old campground) and ask about the status of the water. So I drove back to the campground and found the campground host in the old abandoned section (easy since they were the only ones there) and she told me that there was not going to be any water, that it wasn't working.
So back to the office to ask if there was a private campground nearby where I could get full hookup. The woman at the office got on the phone at that point and called a ranger who told her that he would come to my site and turn on my water (so much for the knowledge of the campground host). As it turned out, they were trying to isolate a leak in the brand new pipe system and were turning the sites off and on one at a time to find the leak. The ranger soon arrived at our trailer and turned our water on for me. He was very interested in our Casita
since he was thinking of buying a fiberglass
trailer and had not been able to look at one.
We ended up having a wonderful time. We took it easy on Friday and I went hiking on Saturday and we then drove up to Sparta to Crazy Fox Tree Farm and picked out a tree, then returned to the park where we hiked to a waterfall and then went back to the trailer to spend the evening. We left about mid-day on Sunday.
For the first time we used the furnace
in the Casita (which worked perfectly) and the shower (we didn't feel like going to the bathhouse in such cold, wet weather).
All in all, despite the misinformation of the campground host, we had a really nice, relaxing weekend.
Oh. The fee to stay at the new campground in the park is $20 per night for sites with water and power. Not sure about the non-electric sites.