Rob H.
Oshkosh, WI
Joined July 2017
Hewhalem, WA - A great combination of Hiking and Kayaking - Shore of Skagit

I am a full time employeed engineer. I believe my 30 years of materials and process engineering combined with OEM manufacturing experience of aerospace and automotive platforms combined with my love of camping makes me ideally suited to be a Dyrt Ranger. In my career I do alot of failure analysis and know what goes into a product that delights the customer. Especially, critical gear like a camp stove that needs to light when you want it to, or not become a flaming disaster due to a fuel leak, or a tent that keeps solid during the most violent of wind storms. I have not written a formal campground review but have done a significant amount of camping with my daughter and son throughout the years. My last trip was with my son of 25 years last summer in Northern Cascades National Park. We stayed at Newhalem campground. I live in Wisconsin and he lives in Tacoma, so my usual method is to fill two large army duffles with the camping gear and check it on the plane. I have done it this way for 25 years. I get everything I need in those two bags and they still work. We throw the bags in the truck, stop by the grocery store for provisions, and pitch camp. The problem with Newhalem was that I specifically selected a walk in site to get away from as much noise as possible. Unbeknownst to me there were two other single walk in sites on either side of ours. So the reward for hauling our gear and water into the site was one of our neighbors didn't understand what a single site was nor why people go through the trouble of using them. They turned it into a group site, which unfortunately was highly distracting from the crackling of our campfire. This is so unfortuate, because this is why I like to camp and backpack, to get away from the work pressures and enjoy nature, the fire, the conversation, the quite. Others enjoy the party opportunity and have little regard for anyone who is next to them. Other than that I found the campground very clean, easy to get around and centrally located to the hikes we wanted to complete. Namely, Hidden Lake, Sourdough Mnt.and I believe Blue Lake Trail, but I think I am wrong on the latter. In my 25 years of camping with my kids and my wife, the Northern Cascades are brutal. I have climbed Long's Peak, Sky Pond, Loch Lake, Flat Top Mnt, Hallett Peak, etc. Angles Landing, Observation Point (I one day - just through I would mention it), Hidden Canyon, the Narrows, Zion National Park, Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone, Yosemite Falls Hike, etc. Been caught in a wind storm in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park that bent the poles of my Eureka Timberline 4 man tent. Withstood a tornado in Minacqu, WI where I witnessed a electrical transformer explode from a lightning strike. And had the incredible experience of watching a storm come into Badlands National Park and by evening take over our site with a perpetual lightning storm. But what is different with all of these an many others that doesn't exist in the Northern Cascades is you can actually see your final destination. The destination in the Norther Cascades is typically hidden by trees, and when you think you are making great progress on the incessant switchbacks that climb 1 verticle foot for each step you take, a passing hiker will say, when asked; "oh you are maybe 1/4 of the way there", your heart and mind drop and in the dense forest, coping with the heat you ask where is the end. The Northern Cascades are brutal in the mental and physical games they play with a hiker. But ultimately it was an awesome experience with my son, I flew back to Wisconsin with a lot of great memories. Not a campground review, but the ramblings of an outdoor enthusiast, that loves looking up from the fire to see the stars, and the best mornings are those dry in the sleeping bag listening to rain fall on the tent fly. I have been blessed and love what you guys are doing. Thank you. Sincerely, Rob Hathaway, Oshkosh, WI