Bob Spiwak Monkey MazamaBy Bob Spiwak

As of the month’s end, the Methow Grist is no more. For the past three years the local Internet provider owned by Jeff Hardy and Maria Converse had what might be termed a general-interest online magazine, with many topics offered by writers, photographers, artists, organizations and more. Its staple, the community bulletin board, will still be around.

Having been one of its contributors side-by-side with a lot of talent in many realms of “entertainment and information,” the end is a bittersweet experience. I’ll miss the atmosphere and the crew. At the same time I understand that, like one’s child, this one had grown up bringing with it the expenses of rearing a teenager, if not a collegiate undergraduate. Many others and I wish Methownet the best of wishes for continued success.

Last Sunday (June 29), I took the new dog for a ride and we pulled into our destination at Early Winters campground to visit with campground hosts Daryll and Yvonne Dufresne. This is their first year at this endeavor and they are having a great time.

Daryll was the lookout on Goat Peak half a century ago, and was the postmaster at the Winthrop Post Office going back to the days when it was occupying the ground where the new outdoor store now stands. Just writing this puts me in mind of one of the ongoing flaps we live with hereabouts, that being the very idea of moving the post office from downtown “where it belongs,” cried many, to the suburbs where it has been since Reagan was president.

Yvonne had a dog grooming business on the East Chewuch in those days and the pair have been married for almost 20 years. They sold everything they had, bought a motor home, and have been living the gypsy life, following the sun for many years.

Being a host is actually fun, both proclaim. Along with meeting a lot of new and generally nice people, their tasks can be done usually at their own leisure — stuff like cleaning the latrines on both sides of the highway, cleaning the fire pits when campers depart so that they are spiffy for the next arrivals at the site, picking up trash and, of course, answering questions and giving advice.

As hosts, they are not camp cops. They are not allowed to and don’t want to handle any money. The nightly campground fees are put into a box at the entrance and the money is collected by U.S. Forest Service personnel. Their only association with money, says Yvonne, is “to gently remind them to put their paid campsite cards on the car.”

Both are in good health. Daryll has some major back problems, but is still able to function at all the tasks. Outside their wheeled home there is a large exercise machine, and the couple each walk about five miles a day doing their business and keeping in shape.