We don't mind the process of getting wilderness permits. In fact, we often enjoy the conversation with the rangers, and sometimes we learn a bit, and sometimes we're able to tell them a bit about a place that they might not have visited. But our experience at the Groveland Ranger Station (part of the Stanislaus National Forest) was a bit odd this spring.
P called them to ask about permits to hike down to the Tuolumne River over the coming weekend. P talked with a pleasant woman who explained the rules and clarified a couple of questions that P had. She pointed out that there might be a few problems with fire damage and other things, but that the trail to Preston Falls was open.
P told her that we planned on hiking in this weekend as a backpacking trip, and she immediately informed me that we'd need to stop in to get a permit.
No worries, we'd done that many times before, and that we would see her on the weekend.
She said that would be fine.
What she didn't say was that HER ENTIRE OFFICE WAS CLOSED ON THE WEEKEND!
So we arrived on Saturday morning, and everything at the Groveland Ranger Station was locked up tight. Jeeze!
In the end, there was so much poison oak and enough other visitors that we decided not to stay the night at Preston Falls, and hiked back out again. So we didn't need a permit for that. But we did think that a shower might be in order after all that poison oak.
To her credit, when P called her back on Monday to talk about this, she was quite apologetic, and suggested that it really would have been fine, since we had called and talked to her, to do the trip anyway. She admitted that she didn't understand that we were going to be hiking that very weekend...