While ranging off trail recently I came across a bootleg camp along a small spring-fed tributary of Cedar Creek in Sespe Wilderness. It was situated right in the creek. Branches and fallen trees had been lashed together with synthetic cordage and fashioned into a crude roof frame. A rolled up sheet of heavy, clear plastic was stuffed into the branches of the framework for storage and was apparently used to make a waterproof ceiling. There was a pile of charcoal and some scattered trash including the obligatory crumpled beer can or two, the trailings of the slouch class of American recreationists, who in this case thought it wiser to ensure their plastic makeshift ceiling was carefully rolled and stored for later use rather than leave the area free of garbage and their charcoal.
Five to ten yards away there was a perfect grassy bench above the creek, at the foot of a slope and beneath the drooping branches of a cedar tree, which was a far more intelligent and hospitable place to locate a small camp. It would have been a warmer, dryer and roomier place upon which to work, relax and sleep.
Yet some clowns had set up shop as close to the water as possible, nearly in the muck of the brook, in the dampest and coldest place around, hemmed in by the tiny trickle of cloudy late season water and several trees, with little room to work around the fire or relax let alone roll out a bedroll. The whole thing looked clumsy and silly.
The real, official, Cedar Creek Camp
Your photo of the real camp is gorgeous. The red of the tree against the blue sky and yellow in the background, the textures, etc. Very well done!
The guerrilla camp … not so much. I agree it looks clumsy. My own personal feeling is that there are people who hike and backpack to integrate themselves into nature, and there are people who put themselves in the woods to carve survival out of nature. I have no questions about what type of people build the guerrilla camp.
I was always taught to camp so nobody would know I was there afterwards. I wonder for how many centuries people have camped under that overhang…