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Re: Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp

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Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp
June 30, 2010 08:42AM
So it appears that my camping reservation is legit, yay! At the end of August I will be taking my family (me and DW, DS and DD ages 5 and 2), along with a few in-laws and their kids. We have two housekeeping camp sites booked, will arrive on Friday and leave on Sunday.

Being in Orange County, I've been lucky to get dragged to Yosemite a handfull of times over the years by my parents. We've stayed at different campgrounds, although I was so little I could not remember all of the exact details. My only firm memory of Yosemite was 5 years ago, when I went with 4 of my BIL's and got a campground at Upper Pines. It was fantastic, although roughing it in a tent, a very small bear locker and no electricity was kind of a bummer.

Probably I would love to see Yosemite by staying at the Ahwahnee, but at $500/night per room it would be a little bit on the high side. Is Housekeeping Camp a good middle ground? Anything I should be aware of before I get there (like where we would get water, how much showers cost, what we need to bring, what to do, where to pick up food and supplies, how and when we can cook, etc). While I figure myself a pretty smart and self-sufficient person, I'm not much of a Bear Grills survivor kind of guy, so any advice on actual camping would be appreciated. And it will make me look like hero Dad to my family.

Thanks so much!
avatar Re: Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp
June 30, 2010 08:59AM
I have no idea why but "Vacation" comes to mind.

(Grills... Griswald... perhaps)

smiling smiley

<i'm sure others will help u>
avatar Re: Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp
June 30, 2010 09:46AM
I stay in the campgrounds myself, but I have friends who have stayed in Housekeeping.

where we would get water : There are water faucets all over Housekeeping, and you're drinking good, clean, Yosemite water! smiling smiley

how much showers cost: Showers are free to you, and included in the price of your reservation. Towels are handed out by an attendant
at the entrance to the showers.

where to pick up food and supplies: There is a small (very basic) grocery store located in Housekeeping (showers and a laundromat also), and there is a much larger grocery store located in Yosemite Village.

how and when we can cook: You have electricity in your Housekeeping unit, and you can cook any time of the day you want.

Also, they will rent you sheets, blankets and pillows for the beds, but you might want to consider simply bringing your own pillows and sleeping bags.
I have heard (but cannot substantiate) that your reservation also includes a free box of firewood daily. That is important, because a box at the Housekeeping Camp store cost about $10. You might wish to phone them back, and ask if that free firewood story is correct?
Ice can be purchased inside the store, or outside there is a mammoth ice machine that dispenses both bags of cubed and block ice.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/2010 09:48AM by PineCone.
avatar Re: Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp
June 30, 2010 09:49AM
Honestly, I'd prefer actual tent camping to staying at Housekeeping Camp. When tent/RV camping, one is allowed to prepare meals at the campsite and have a fire. Cooking is not allowed anywhere in Housekeeping Camp. However - it's still Yosemite, and one advantage to being a Housekeeping Camp guest is access to their showers at no extra cost.

http://www.yosemitepark.com/Accommodations_HousekeepingCamp_PhotoGallery.aspx

What I would consider a good middle ground would be either a hard-sided cabin (with not many left) at Curry Village or a room at Yosemite Lodge. Again - Housekeeping Camp technically isn't a campground, where you could either set up you own tent or park an RV.

So to check off your concerns:

**where we would get water

There should be access to water there.

**how much showers cost

Free if you're a Housekeeping Camp guest. I'm not sure what the procedure is though to show you're a guest.

**what we need to bring

Blankets or a sleeping bag and pillows. You can rent a set, but you might prefer your own gear.

**what to do

This is Yosemite. Ask a park ranger.

**where to pick up food and supplies

Housekeeping Camp has a small store, although there are far more options nearby at Curry Village.

**how and when we can cook

I believe you can cook there if you have a camp stove. I don't believe they've got fire rings or grills.
avatar Re: Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp
June 30, 2010 09:58AM
y_p_w, I think there is definitely cooking allowed in Housekeeping Camp. I've seen both propane and charcoal BBQ grills being used there, along with portable camp stoves. And there are the same fire rings as the campgrounds have, with built-in fold-away grills as well.
I think Housekeeping is essentially the same as a campground site, except they're furnishing you with the shelter and beds! smiling smiley
avatar Re: Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp
June 30, 2010 10:56AM
Quote
PineCone
y_p_w, I think there is definitely cooking allowed in Housekeeping Camp. I've seen both propane and charcoal BBQ grills being used there, along with portable camp stoves. And there are the same fire rings as the campgrounds have, with built-in fold-away grills as well.
I think Housekeeping is essentially the same as a campground site, except they're furnishing you with the shelter and beds! smiling smiley

I sort of compiled my previous post thinking cooking wasn't allowed, then seeing the pictures of a set up site complete with grills.

I frankly would prefer my own tent, although I do understand the appeal of not having to bring along a tent and having less cleanup afterwards.

I would note that privacy at these sites is less than one would have in a tent-camping campground. There's only a curtain and not even a zipper. One advantage would be limited electricity and electric lights. Also - it's close to the laundromat, although I'm not sure if that's an issue for only two nights. How far is it typically from the parking lot to the sites? I rather liked knowing my car was right there.
Re: Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp
June 30, 2010 11:52AM
ask away about housekeeping - stayed there for decades. showers are free - depending on where your units are your car can be as close as right outside or within site of your unit. electricity in sleeping area and in seating/dining area. we would bring rope and the open areas between the fence stopping and your unit starting we would bring shower curtains with the rings (not plastic curtains - light fabric kind) strung thru the rope. gives you privacy when you want it and wide open when you don't. depending on what you are bringing - not many outlets - so a power strip is a consideration not a necessity. there is a housekeeping camp store where you can get coffee in the a.m. if you aren't making it. various supplies available there although the store isn't open as late as stores at camp curry and the village. various water spigots located thru out camp - housekeeping unit map at office should indicate where they are located. you can rent lots of stuff at the warehouse - you can cook at the fire rings but fires aren't allowed at all hours - last i knew just for certain hours in the evening so don't count on that for breakfast or lunch. you can use grills or cook in your unit with hotplate (your own) or cookstoves or electric frypan. make sure you bring flashlight/s!!!!!!
Re: Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp
June 30, 2010 03:33PM
Thanks so much for the helpful advice. I feel like a HKC expert now. I'm already excited looking forward to the kids first time in Yosemite, and I'll be sure to bring back lots of pictures.

It's nice to know we can cook our own food, as we prefer that. We plan to rent a portable cooking stove when we get there.

Fizkid - do you know if the sites are pre-assigned, or do we get assigned as we show up? is there a polite way to ask for one closer to the water, for example? Having been in Yosemite camping before, I know about using bear lockers for any smelly stuff, and to take everything out of the car that's attractive to the wildlife as well. Free showers included is such a bonus, and not being camp-savvy I'm glad I don't have to try to set up a large tent by myself.

Is it possible to bring our bicycles with us? Or would they most likely get stolen when we're not watching them? I think it might be fun to ride around the campgrounds, to the grocery store, etc. I remember last time we had to pack all of this perishable food to bring up with us, and then we discovered the store in Yosemite Village - which had everything we would even want, and the prices were reasonable too. So this time we're just bringing some dry goods and supplies with us, and hopefully just pick up the meats and perishables from the store.
Re: Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp
June 30, 2010 03:55PM
Absolutely take your bikes. And lock them up. Bikes do get stolen, and I wouldn't use a $5000 carbon fiber whiz-bang bike there, but an ordinary bike is as safe in Yosemite as it is outside your library back home. You see lots of cheap bikes sitting around unlocked.

If you have a quick release seat post, just take the seat inside overnight. That, and/or a lock, is enough to send a potential thief looking for an easier target.

I've always felt that a bike ride around the valley was far superior to hiking or to the scenic bus. This time of year, it's also a lot cooler than flat-trail hiking in the Valley. When you get to the Lodge, follow the path across Swinging Bridge (it's not a swinger any longer), and head east on the other side. Biking west of there is on the road, and you wouldn't want to do that except very early in the morning, unless you have a death wish.

Remember that the NPS requires helmets. Come to think of it, so do any sensible mom and dad.

My recollection is that the computer assigns you a place according to your reservation type (riverside, roadside), but otherwise the attendant is free to reassign you to any empty unit of your type when you check in. So check in early.
avatar Re: Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp
June 30, 2010 04:31PM
Quote
wherever
. . . snip . . .
Remember that the NPS requires helmets. Come to think of it, so do any sensible mom and dad.
. . . snip . . .
grumble >nanny state<
Only those under 18.
NPS: Yosemite: Your Safety
Re: Pros and Cons of Housekeeping Camp
June 30, 2010 04:00PM
bring your bikes - you can park them right next to your units or even right inside! they are preassigned. when you make reservations you can request section and unit numbers but no guarentees. i am letting my secrets out - but 39/40 have a huge horseshoe section between them and the river that is nice if you have kids nothing between you and the river (units long ago removed from there) don't stay near the huge trash containers -- VERY loud early in the morning when pick up happens. housekeeping camp main office phone number was 1-209-372-8338 if it hasn't changed - you could call and see what they have assigned you - at least try to insist on BACK to BACK units no matter where you are located then you will be together. 30/40 are close to store - office - showers & laundry - the camping that was allowed across the river from them is no more - but a great beach. bridge close to those units as well - great view of yosemite falls one way and glacier point-stair case falls and half dome the other way. you take the bridge to get to that beach. the housekeeping camp beach is on the same side of the river as housekeeping camp and is at the far end of the camp. long walk to store and office. parking i think you will find is pretty good there but i would bike, hike, walk, shuttle or you could loose your prime parking spot but there will always be a place to park. shuttle stop is directly across the street from the housekeeping camp office so very easy to find. curry village is a short walk, bike ride from there. taft point is about a 2 mile round trip hike (trail head is same as sentinel dome just off the road you would take to glacier point) kids and grandparents can do it pretty will. just keep a close eye on the kids once you get there - the fissures can be treacherous if you let the kids 'run wild). parking can be tough at that trail head during prime time during the day but if you are driving to glacier point it will be on your left and it really is a lot of bang for your buck - great vistas for the not ready to really hike long distances in the high country type. i would call housekeeping camp office if your reservations are coming up quick otherwise you can always call where you did for your reservations. hope that helps. really - go the kmart or someplace and get some cheap shower curtains and rings bring your rope. they are light weight - don't take up any space and wash up great when you get home. they make great doors - most units take 2 - occasionally you will get a weird shaped one that has a great big opening but that is the luck of the draw. also - units with the old fashioned fences you can see thru - for more privacy we put tarps up around the outside but for 2 days that is not really necessary - units 37 and 38 i don't like as well but they have new fencing as i recall that you can't see thru. they are still nice. 40 and 41 are right next to the path that goes by the river. all those units help for the arc that surrounds the open space where units used to be - great if you have kids. get there early and look around - if they tell you your units over the phone (sometimes they will sometimes they won't) you can check them out and see if you have problems with them. there is NO free firewood but it is available at the store and often in the office. when you check in they will give you a housekeeping camp map, shower passes (request more if you need more than they give you right then.) padlocks aren't a bad idea if you want to leave things at your camp you can put expensive items or purses etc in the long narrow food locker and lock it. anything that looks like a cooler, back pack, or fanny pack will interest the bears and the racoons will take them from your units and go thru them elsewhere. BE A FOOD NAZI-if its not in your hand to eat - put it away. i have seen bears take food right from a guys elbow while in camp. no one was hurt but ya just gotta do that. hope i didn't overwhelm you but i love my housekeeping camp. lots of people bring a string of christmas tree lights - they find their units easy and the kids love it. up to you.
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