"There's a big difference between being here and hiking back 50 miles into the Sierras and having your own wilderness campground," said Doan, 32, now in his 18th year at the lake. "This is more of an urban campground."
At Campground O, aerospace worker Steve Jimenez, 24, and his buddies tried to decide what to do with the rest of their Sunday morning. They came to Casitas the night before after the Wheeler Gorge campground staff threw them out for making too much noise.
Here, a few neighboring campers griped, but no one had called the rangers as the group joked and talked into the early morning hours, then crashed.
"You don't need no shower, you don't need no phone, you don't need no gussying up," said Jimenez, sprawled in a folding chair as the cool, post-dawn light revealed a campsite littered with 20-ounce King Cobra Malt Liquor cans and a collapsed tent.
"Our motto is, 'It's just camping--don't worry about it.' "
Campsites at Lake Casitas, including parking for one car, cost $10 per night, with a maximum of six people per site. There is a $6 fee for each additional vehicle, with a maximum of three vehicles per site. A site with power and water hookups costs $14 per night in the off-season, and $16 per night in the summer. Group campsites cost $25 per night, plus $10 per car. For day-trippers, entrance costs $3 per motor vehicle, $3.50 per boat and $10 per bus. Daytime visitors must pay $1 for each pet they bring, and the fee is $1.50 each per day for campers' pets. For information call 649-2233.
Campgrounds at Lake Casitas
Lake Casitas Recreation Area has 455 campsites for motorists, hikers and bicyclists, plus overflow campgrounds outside the main entrance for summer weekends when visitors exceed the park's capacity. The park has a policy of never turning away campers.