Every site was spoken for on the sweltering weekend we overnighted at Battle Ground Lake State Park; advance reservations were required to secure one of the cheek-to-jowl spaces.
The grounds are shady in July, but many cons outweigh this pro: the cool canopy of towering trees also blocks X-M Radio reception and prevents solar panels from charging. One dirty, coin-operated shower stall serves forty sweaty campers. (Don’t even go unless you reserve a full hookup.) The stagnant lake is choked with children and a glossy scum of Water Babies sunscreen and god knows what other excreta floats on the surface. “It’s like the Ganges,” said Ralph.
“I mean this in the kindest possible way,” he continued. “Who the hell would really want to come out here?”
The answer is, those who are towing their Airstream to Gig Harbor from Bend who thought they deserved a break from the seven-hour drive; those with a horse (the area is crisscrossed with forested riding trails); and those with kids and their cousin’s kids and all their requisite water toys—a shady, spectacular lawn adjacent to the lake is the perfect site for a family picnic, if that’s your thing.
Don’t forget the Deep Woods Off.