When our RVing friends offered a free four-night stay at Rocky Point Campground, we couldn’t resist.
Rocky Ford Campground is just one of four campgrounds located within Tuttle Creek State Park, a popular camping destination for folks surrounding the Manhattan, KS area. But it’s also the most popular campground within the state park because of its nearly 100% shade from old growth cottonwoods and it’s lake front camping on the shores of River Pond.
Originally, our friends had booked the four-night stay there for themselves over the Memorial Day weekend. But at the last moment, they had to change their plans. Because they could not cancel the reservation, it remained open for them throughout the weekend. When they learned we were headed east through Kansas, they offered it to us.
Sash and I arrived on the second night of the reservation. Backing the trailer was only a little bit challenging due to the longer fifth wheel trailer parked in the next space. But once we got settled in, it seemed like a beautiful place to camp, albeit in the middle of several dozen other campers.
Shade was everywhere to be had.
If you came with a bank of solar panels on your roof, it wouldn’t do much good here. Fortunately, the campsite came with 50 amp electricity along with water and sewer.
Sash and I were not really geared up for activities around Tuttle Creek State Park. This place is better suited for bicycling due to it numerous paved trails. There are a couple of hiking trails, however. Aside from fishing and boating, it’s really more of a place to get away from home and light up a campfire.
On the second night, our friends who offered us the campsite came by for a visit. We grilled up some steaks and drank some beer. We even lit up a campfire and got our first taste of “Kansas Crack” a variation on smores using chocolate-drizzed pretzel thins instead of graham crackers, and Reese’s peanut butter cups instead of plain old chocolate.
Keep in mind, it had been raining heavily for months throughout Kansas and the greater midwest. Water levels at Tuttle Creek Lake were nearing capacity. Tuttle Creek Dam had already reached its maximum water mark, but the Army Corps of Engineers could not yet release water due to unfinished work on the spillway.
As our second night wore on, the rains began pouring heavily again.
The Army Corps of Engineers gave the evacuation orders for our campground.
Oddly enough, the camp host was supposed to come by to every campsite and officially notify everyone to pack up and leave. However, he didn’t do so. He was busy packing up himself. If you know camp hosts, they have a ton of stuff laying around their camp simply because they live at the campground for months at a time and accumulate a bunch of stuff. And now, there he was having to move it all out within hours.
By the next morning, Sash and I had left camp. I pulled the trailer north into Nebraska and then east into Riverside, Iowa. Sash headed east in her Suburban into Kansas City and then north into Des Moines to visit another client.
I kept my ears open for news about Tuttle Creek Lake, and whether or not the waters crested over the dam. As it turned out, it did not. The Army Corps of Engineers were able to do some really fast work on the spillway, and finally began releasing water. Rocky Ford Campground became submerged.
Rocky Ford Campground, as I’m told, should reopen soon. If you’re thinking about camping here, then book early. Rocky Ford has a pretty long waiting list.
Tuttle Creek State Park
Location: Manhattan, KS
Phone: (785) 539-7941