One of the best kept secrets in camping is that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (or USACE, as my friend, Francis, pointed out) has a whole network of campgrounds, mostly located near or on reservoirs created by dam projects they’ve run. Almost all of them feature big sites, electric and water hookups, and easy access to watersports. I’ve camped in USACE campgrounds from Idaho to Virginia and every single one of them has been a nice experience. For those interested, you can make reservations at them through the recreation.gov website.
I bring this up because last week my campground was indeed a USACE spot, next to the W. Kerr Scott Reservoir (not to be confused with Kerr Lake farther east along the VA/NC border). There are actually three USACE campgrounds around the reservoir, but this one, Warrior Creek, was the only one that had a Saturday night opening. That was my only requirement, to be honest. I had gotten canceled out of my original five nights at Pisgah campground near Asheville, so I needed a Saturday spot PRONTO because August camping is cutthroat when it comes to weekend reservations.
I arrived Saturday mid-day, and got a little surprise. The spot described as “shady” was actually shady only in the early morning and late afternoon. In between, the sun was merciless, beating down on my tin can of a trailer with a vengeance. I survived one hot afternoon and then switched sites on Sunday to a shady little spot across the road. It was definitely worth the packing up and hitching up to move 200 yards!
There’s always surprises in the vagabond life, some pleasant, like a shady site, and some not so pleasant, like a slight case of food poisoning. Let’s just say it will be a long time before I buy another onion… I was kind of wiped out most of the week, so although there was a nice boat ramp and kayak potential, I didn’t engage in paddling at this stop.
The other surprise was the heat and humidity. Coming down from the cool mountains back to semi-flatlands country had not been my original plan. Daily highs here at Warrior Creek were in the low 90s and I was not thrilled with this development. But, sometimes, the vagabond has to go where there’s room, not where there are cooler temps.
I did fit in some short trail hikes and took full advantage of the paved roads to get my morning constiutional in before I started feeling nauseous and feeling the heat and humidity.
At the end of the loop was a bit of water that made for some nice views. Not sure if it was some of the reservoir or a separate lake, but it was enjoyable regardless.
With only five nights here, I didn’t actually take a lot of photos. But I did have a favorite one…
Warrior Creek USACE Campground
- Site 30, then site 24. Mostly level, loose rock surfacing. The campground has two RV-specific loops, from #22 on up. Site 53 and then 54 would be my choices in the one loop. Site 25 is definitely the first prize spot in the other loop. Reserve through recreation.gov website.
- Services: electric/water, two dump stations, one bath house in the upper loop, vault toilets in both loops.
- Cell service: Verizon (two bars without any antenna), ATT (none, not even voice).
- Groceries: All the stores are in Wilkesboro, about a 15 minute drive east.
- Boat launch in the campground.
Improvisation is the power of spontaneous observation.