Dissapointing Experience At Escalante
I would like to relate a very dissapointing experience I had at Escalante this past weekend in an effort to give others a heads up that not all boaters are the type of people some of us would like to think they are.
I headed out to Escalante this past Friday evening with my girlfriend and dog to meet up with some friends that had boated Escalante on Thursday and to get my first run of the year in. I have been to Escalante many times before and had great memories of nice weather and great camping. My girlfriend came along to get out of the Eagle county and to run shuttle. She had never hung out around boaters before, but I assured her they are some of the friendliest people I know.
When we got to the place where my friends were camping (they had arrived on Thursday) there was another group there with them. My friend advised me to pitch my tent well away from the campfire as the other group (some of whom he had boated with before) was known to party late and get rowdy. I pitched my tent a reasonable distance away and began to have a few beers, socialize, and relax. At about 11:30 some guys from the other group walked off and then started shooting off a gun. My dog totally freaked out and ran off. I approached the 4 guys that were shooting and asked them to stop as it was scaring my dog. They weren't too friendly but they did stop shooting.
I found my dog and had another beer then went to bed around 12. At about 1 I was awakened by another round of gunfire. I was concerned about my dog but also about my safety and the safety of my girlfriend because these guys were drinking heavily and there had been talk that some of them might have taken mushrooms earlier that night. I got out of bed and approached the campfire where 4 guys were still hanging out (everyone else had gone to bed). Their names I think were Conner Finney, Alex Holtz, a guy named Chris from Gunni or the Butte, and a fourth guy whose name I did not catch. I asked them again to please stop shooting. They were very aggressive and basically told me they were rednecks camping, could do whatever they wanted, and if I didn't like it I should camp somewhere else. I told them I would have if I would have known they would be shooting guns all night. I again asked them to stop shooting. Three of them were very abrasive and rude and said they would definetely not stop. Chris tried to mediate and told me he would try to stop them. I have never been treated like that at a boater campfire. As a school teacher I am usually very patient and not easily angered but I really wanted to kick their asses at this point. But, given the fact that their were four of them and only one of me and they had guns I decided to head back to my tent and hope for the best.
Sure enough, about 30 minutes later they opened up with more gunfire. As I sat thinking about what I should do, one of them came over and shook my tent. I stuck my head out but he had run away before I could put my shoes on. At this point I felt these guys had it in for me and I was extremely angry/nervous. I woke my friend up who knew a few of them and asked him to talk to them as I was either going to call the police or get in a fight. He talked to them and they assured him they were going to bed (this was around 3am). They did, but I was up for a while.
In the morning, I found that they had stolen some things I had left by the campfire, including an expensive bottle of tequila, 2 bags of ice out of my cooler, beer from my cooler, and some food from my cooler. Chris and Alex both apologized and Alex gave me some ice and offered me some money for the tequila. However, the other two (Conner, and the fourth guy) said nothing and in fact gave me some dirty looks.
I have been boating for twenty years and have hung out at many campfires with many different types of people and have never had shit like this happen to me before. I have always felt safe and at home around other boaters. With these guys I felt unsafe and uncomfortable. I'm happy nothing worse happened and I just wanted other folks on the buzz to know what this crew is like and what to expect if you are around them.
Have a great season,