We had a generally good time at Hillsborough, but the experience was tempered somewhat due to the authoritarian manner in which the park is managed. The rangers tended to be douchebags for no reason, trolling through the campground and along the park road looking for anything that might constitute a reason for admonition. A couple of the rangers looked like they were not enjoying this opportunity to be assholes, so my suspicion is that their top manger has brought the hammer down so that they act like soup Nazis.
I understand that a park like this needs to be managed carefully and effectively, but one can go to extremes. This one has obviously gone overboard on enforcement to the point where it looks like they actually want to make the park less attractive for visitors. That’s one way to lessen human impact, I suppose.
One thing about the park that I did like is that it obviously employs a lot of local people. From groundskeepers to rangers and clerks, that place was busy with salaried employees. A good way to spend tax money, as far as I’m concerned.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that the park was very quiet and peaceful and uncrowded during the weekdays. Carole and I were able to hike park trails and encounter very few other hikers, which made for wonderful solitude. It’s great to be able to walk about and experience the forest and rivers without other people tramping about, talking, and generally making too much noise.
|Forest canopy along the trail beside the Hillsborough River.|
|The Class II rapids on the river.|
|Our campsite. Plenty of room. Complete with our Clam screenhouse.|
|Paddling along the Hillsborough River.|
|I counted seven alligators during our paddle trip. So there were probably ten times that many I couldn’t see.|
|Carole on the suspension bridge over the Hillsborough River. Hike beyond and you come to the trails into the back country.|
|Picnic shelter and retaining wall. This was where we put into the river, just a very short distance from our campsite.|