I stopped to wait for them when I arrived at the spot where we planned to camp. A forest road crossed the trail there, and I scouted around to see if there was a good spot to set up our tents.
Up the road and away from the creek, the road climbed steeply. It was too sloped and washed out for setting up tents and there were no flat spots next to it.
The tire tracks I saw on the road were another reason it would not be a good place for tents. There was no telling when someone might drive on the road.
Down toward the creek, past a sign that confirmed the area was for day use only, I found a few spots that might be suitable for camping but worried about the legality and ethics of that. They were also too close to the stream. Generally, camping should be done at least 200 feet from streams and lakes.
The only suitable place I saw was directly on the road where it came to a dead-end near the stream. The road wasn’t ideal, especially because it was inside what I presumed was the day-use area, but I didn’t see another choice.
I didn’t set up camp here, though. Instead, I decided to walk up to where a bench had been installed at the intersection of the trail and the road, and wait for the tramily there. They arrived about 30 minutes after me.
We all agreed our only camping option was to set up at the bottom of the road. We remained worried that if a ranger caught us we could be fined.
Soon after we began to set up our tents, we heard a vehicle drive down the road. It stopped at the trail junction.
Was that a ranger, we wondered? Were we busted?
The vehicle turned out to be a rented ATV loaded with a family out for an afternoon excursion on their vacation. They walked down to where we were camped and chatted for a few minutes, then left.
Feeling like we dodged a bullet, we finished dinner and went to bed. The temperature overnight was comfortable and I slept well.