My name is Christina Grant. My husband, Dusty, and I have been attending Grey Fox for a few years now and, of course, we love it. Thanks for helping to plan and host such an amazing event!
Last year we won Best Campsite. I noticed that you have updated the Best Campsite page on the website and would like to humbly share our story with you, and some pictures from our camp last year. As I was reading the new requirements for Best Campsite, I was thinking, ‘Oh, this is fantastic!’ That’s what we are always trying to do at our site – reduce our footprint for Grey Fox and for the planet. We had 18 people very comfortably camped at our plush site last year in a space of about 50′ X 50′. We had a big eating and kitchen area, a music ‘lounge’, a shower, and lots of tents. We kept one truck and a flatbed trailer parked at the site, but all other cars were in the car corral.
Photos from the Best Campsite from 2007
I am probably like many other Grey Fox enthusiasts’ spouses/partners in that I live with a talented carpenter who also happens to be a pack rat! Every time my husband finishes a job and brings back a trailer load of construction debris to dump in our garage (that no car can fit in!) I inwardly (and sometimes outwardly) groan. To this he will invariably passionately relate to me his latest Grey Fox scheme that involves the debris. ‘Plus,’ he always adds, ‘otherwise I would have to take it all to the landfill, and this is a gold mine of materials!’
From this pile of ‘junk’, and lots of help from our friends, we have built a Grey Fox campsite with style and comfort. Our giant ‘facade’ that attaches to the front of our largest tent is made almost entirely from recycled materials. The plywood and paint is reclaimed material that would have been scrapped. The musical instrument mosaics are made from remnants of left over tile, mirror scraps from a local glass cutting shop, and bits of broken dishes from our group members’ households. The copper flames on the instruments were scraps of copper roofing material. The tin can ‘sconces’ are recycled industrial sized cans from local restaurants that we punched holes in with nails. Those same tin can lanterns were placed all over our sight last year. It seemed like every time we got together with friends for dinner in May and June last year, we ended up punching holes in tin cans! Our friend Jaime really had a natural talent for this and designed most of the musical note sconces and lanterns, like the ones on the front of the facade.
My husband also got his hands on an old farming water/iodine container that friends cleaned out and is now our shower and dish water container for all of us the entire week. We strap it to the roof of his truck and fill it with water before we leave home. We’ve had a lot of stares on the highway as drive along with that giant blue cylinder strapped to our roof! We set up our small shower tent right underneath it and hang the Sunshower. My husband’s greatest pride is in the cherry hardwood floor inside the shower that keeps our feet out of the mud! Again, made from construction scraps that he just couldn’t bear to burn or take to the dump.
This story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the water wagon. Again, my husband made a great idea happen. He decided it would be easier to haul drinking water from the water truck with a wagon, but he didn’t want to spend a penny on a new wagon. Instead he started collecting ‘junk’ materials to build his own. Some old lawnmower wheels and scrap wood and aluminum later, and he had his wagon. The teenagers at our site enjoyed lots of wagon races down the hill!
Ok, there’s furniture too I guess. All of the furniture we bring goes home with us. No couches in the trash. We bring our own lawn chairs and stools for musicians, but our big ‘kitchen’ table and benches, along with smaller tables and shelving in our kitchen area are all reclaimed wood that’s assembled on the spot and then taken apart and used for other purposes throughout the year until another Grey Fox rolls around.
And then there’s food. We try to bring one set of dishes per person and reuse it all. We compost organic waste and bring it home with us to our compost piles. One couple is knowledgeable about edible plants and made us various sun teas and berry pancakes with plants gathered from the woods around the farm. (They are careful not to pick too much of any plant from one spot.)
So really our story is one of thrift that happens to be ‘green’. My husband doesn’t like to spend lots of money on things he thinks he could build himself, but I like a plush and attractive site that I hope adds to everyone’s Grey Fox experience. Plus, we have to find a use for all of that clutter in our garage! We have found a compromise that we both can live with in our site. Now we just need a name…
My hope in writing all this is that our story could inspire others as they plan their Grey Fox experience this year at the new location. We will challenge our group this year to reduce our camp size further and continue to try to ‘leave no trace’, but also have similar, if not more, comforts. We also aim to provide excellent hospitality at our site. So we welcome everyone to come on over, pick a few notes with us, and enjoy some watermelon and smiles!
Thanks again for all that you do, and I hope our story can be a springboard for more fabulous and creative campsite ideas this year!
Until the ‘hill’,