30 January 2015
The Brighter Side Of Boondocking
We had the most amazing boondocking experience the other day at Hagen’s Cove, which is part of the Big Bend Wildlife Refuge located in the panhandle region of Florida. After our previous experience parking overnight at a municipal parking lot in Panama City (click here to read about it), it was such a pleasure to discover what boondocking is like when you’re camped out in the great outdoors.
There wasn’t any cunning plan to go boondocking at Hagen’s Cove. It was one of those places we just stumbled upon. They’re often the best kind. We saw a dirt road, turned down it and ended up in a little slice of paradise.
I imagine Hagen’s Cove is a popular place for birders and picnickers. Part of the Florida Birding Trail runs through the area. We tried walking down one of the trails, but it was pretty swampy due to the recent rains. So we turned back – I’m not a big fan of wet feet.
We were never 100% sure if it was okay to boondock at Haven’s Cove. We didn’t see any signs that said the refuge was closed after sunset or notices prohibiting overnight parking/camping. We looked online to see if we could find anything out about camping there, but drew a blank. A Sherriff's car made a circuit of Hagen’s Cove a couple of times checking to make sure there weren’t any kids getting up to mischief. Scott stopped the deputy and asked her if she knew if it was okay to stay overnight. She said she wasn’t sure if you could. She personally wouldn’t toss us out, but couldn’t vouch for whoever was on duty at night and what stance they might take. We decided to chance it. Fortunately, no one knocked on the door in the middle of the night to roust us out.
Sometimes you just have to take a chance – most of the time it pays off. Like this time. Which meant we got to enjoy our coffee on the observation tower while watching the birds scampering about in the water the next morning. The horizon and the water were the exact same color. It was hard to tell where one began and the other left off.
While a few people drove down to Hagen’s Cove, the only people that stuck around were duck hunters. Sadly, they didn’t have any luck. We were hoping for a handout of duck meat to put on the grill. But, I imagine the duck hunters were more disappointed than us, given that they had come from Georgia to hunt there.
If you aren’t familiar with the term boondocking, it is basically dry camping (i.e., no water, electric, sewage connections). Lots of folks boondock for days, if not weeks, at a time. Some have systems in place to provide power (e.g., solar or generators), while others do without anything that requires electricity. Whether you need power or not, everyone needs a water supply and a way to store their gray water (from dishwashing, showers etc) and do something with their black water (basically sewage). We have pretty small tanks in our Scamp travel trailer, so we’re pretty limited by how long we can stay out. But with our experience living on a small sailboat, we’ve learned a few tricks to make our water supply last and live with limited power. Hopefully, we’ll get some more boondocking opportunities, like our time at Hagen’s Cove, to put them to the test.
What’s been your favorite boondocking experience?
Want To Follow Scamper & Us?
If you're interested in following along with our adventures with Scamper, you can like us on Facebook, follow us via Google+ or add us to your Bloglovin' or Feedly feeds. We're also on Pinterest and Instagram. You can also sign up to get our posts via email - just submit your email address in the box on the right hand side of our blog page.
We would love to hear what you think - so please leave us a comment below or feel free to email us!
We took our chances boondocking at Hagen's Cove on 24 January 2015.