“People would arrive at their destination and send him notes to thank him. ‘We still think of the yummy chocolate chip pancakes,’ one note said,” Conrad recounted.
Even though a train runs through the park, “Ranger Doug” was a welcome sight, and helped Conrad feel secure as he kicked out the day users at dusk and locked the gate behind him. Dailer, who hikes and paddles himself, said whether it’s on a hiking trail or a water trail, “I try to be a kindred spirit, to make a personal connection with people as a ranger.”
“Meadowdale is a much needed spot on the trail,” Dailer said. “Because of the location” as one of only three trail stops that offers a campsite on the eastern shore of the entire 2,500+ miles of trail. The system provides a way to paddle the waterways of Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and around the San Juan Islands up to the Canadian border while having places of respite. Every pull out has a picnic table, latrine, campfire pit and an easy in-and-out piece of shore to pull a kayak up.
“It’s very civil camping,” Conrad says, adding that in Alaska you may not find a level, rocky spot to pitch a tent.