Author Topic: Camping Diasters  (Read 3468 times)

Offline TxMom

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Camping Diasters
« on: June 16, 2010, 08:43:55 AM »
After the flash flood that hit the Albert Pike campground in AR last week, killing 20, I've been thinking much about the storm and dealing with storms while camping.   

Albert Pike/ Little Missouri river is a beautiful area, great place to hike and we always enjoyed cooling off in tha falls area.

Cell phones don't really work there.  First time we drove in, we questioned whether we were on the right road.   Something like driving on a small dirt road through chicken farms till you hit the park land.   

We often camped at nearby Shady Lake as the albert Pike camps were often full, strung up and down the river.

Loss of life could have been much greater if the campers weren't helping each other.  waking them up, helping to higher ground etc.  pulling each other out,  The river, often 3 ft deep, raised another 20+ feet between 1 and 3 am.

The weather radio tower in the area has been down since hurricane ike.   

My husband suggested some kind of float device attached to a siren that would go off if river started to flood for the campground.  I think we depend too much on the rangers being responsible for weather related disasters.   and not all camp in public campgrounds.

Don't picture myself camping next to a river in a narrow valley any time soon if a storm is rolling in.

One of the problems for the clean up crews is accounting for campers as the sign in spot was washed away.   Important to let someone you know where you are camping and for how long.

Many years back went camping with my brothers, woke up in storm, something different about this one, felt silly waking everyone up to head to cinderblock bathroom.  Few minutes later heard the tornado.  when it calmed down our tent was still there but flooded, ranger came to check on us, let us know it took out a bridge and alternative way to leave.

Open to suggestions on dealing with weather related and other disasters while camping.

Offline Ken325

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Re: Camping Diasters
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2010, 09:13:10 AM »
I have camped at the Albert Pike campground at least 6 times.  Beautiful area and great hiking trails. It is really shocking to see coverage of this disaster.  You have to think “that it could have been me”.

 It is important to watch the weather forecast before you go camping.  Carry a radio and tune in periodically to make sure that things are OK.  I am more afraid of freezing to death than a flash flood.  I see a lot of people on the trail who are not carrying rain gear and are not prepared for a rapid drop in temperature. You can freeze to death in 50 degree temps if you are wet and the wind is blowing.  It is important to keep your gear dry.  If you’re canoeing you need to keep things in dry bags and tie everything down.  Flipping a canoe and losing your gear 20 miles from civilization could get you killed.  It is also good to use the buddy system and travel in groups.

Offline OKGranny

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Re: Camping Diasters
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2010, 11:44:07 PM »
It is a gorgeous area for sure but it is a bit frightening to think even those with weather radios had no warning since the National Weather Service tower was the one that was down and had been for 2 years. Even with family that knew you were camping in the area you could have been nearly impossible to find. It makes you think twice about just how fast water can rise in a short period of time.


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Re: Camping Diasters
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2010, 08:23:33 AM »
When I was a ranger I was always amused that folks always wanted the campsites closest to the stream... right where all the mosquitos were.  I certainly understand the attraction of water for the aesthetic pleasure of going to sleep to the sound of a gently babbling brook, but considering the trade offs of bugs, flooding, and it's where everybody else wants to be, I'm not sure it's where I need to be sleeping.  I'm happy to walk a couple hundred feet to the stream to drop my line in the water first thing in the morning and rest assured that I'm not in harms way.

On the larger issue of camping disasters, my closest calls have always been lightning strikes and wind threatening to bring trees down on my fragile little tent.  Whether it's those 8' spindely, flexible aluminum poles for dome tents or those 6' rigid aluminum poles in wall tents, they sure seem like they'd make excellent lightning rods when that storm rolls through.  I can tell you I've made promises to God I have no ability to keep during nights of sheer terror when Thor's Hammer was landing all around me.  Not exactly a disaster that'll make the news, but it sure wouldn't make your day, either.