Man Camp Stay | VideoEvan Kruegel | 12/19/2012
When I arrived at the Black Gold Lodge, I was a little nervous. The last time I slept in a building with 400 other men was freshman year in my college dorm. But once I found my room, my stay turned out to be quite an experience.
My first stop after checking in: the dinner buffet. This was, hands down, the best meal I`ve had while in Williston. At dinner, I met Angie Colburn, one of only two women living in the entire camp.
"My experience living with all these men? It`s unique, but itís fun, it`s a different perspective on everything as far as comfort level, it`s definitely different being a girl in here, but you are on their level since you work in the same environment," she said.
Colburn is outnumbered 200 to 1, but she says the guys still treat her like family
"We have fun times, it`s like a big family when everyone is together so itís a lot of fun, and it`s not like being away from home when you`re with everybody."
Colburn and the men graciously welcomed me to the camp. After dinner we moved on to the game room, where many of the men spend the majority of their free time. There`s pool, ping-pong, shuffleboard and an assortment of other games to keep the residents occupied.
I felt a little guilty after that dinner buffet, so I hit the workout room before retiring to my single room. The walls in my room were thin and I could hear trucks whizzing by on the highway, but once I flipped off the light, I slept pretty well.
From the outside, a man camp can seem like a very intimidating place. But once you`re inside, you realize the reason these facilities have been so successful in dealing with the housing crisis in the Bakken.
"It`s not so bad, it`s just a home away from home. You learn to enjoy yourself, cause if you ain`t enjoying life you ain`t living right,Ē said Blake Fenn.
After a long day of work, the men are very cheerful upon returning to the camp. For many, they`re simply glad to have a well-paying job and a safe roof over their head.