Monthly Archives: May 2008

Miscellaneous points in southern Utah

Since leaving Moab we’ve had a series of one-night sites, all of which have been great compared to the parking lot we were in at Moab. The campground there had some nice facilities, but they really pack you in so close that I couldn’t even have set up my awning if I wanted to. The three campsites we have had since have been fantastic, and this last one is my favorite. We have a ton of room and privacy, there is a trailhead right in the campground, and it’s beautiful.

The plan upon leaving Moab was to stay in the first Dixie NF campground west of Capitol Reef NP, but when we arrived it was snowing. A quick question to some semi-locals (the only people in the park besides the host, and they were packing up) pointed us toward Calf Creek, which was only 45 minutes away and at least 20 degrees (F) warmer.

The view from our Calf Creek site

We expect pretty good things from government-run campgrounds and try to avoid private ones unless we’re looking for wifi or laundry. Most of the time during the trip so far we have had electric hookups, but they are becoming scarce out here. It’s only a small inconvenience at the moment, and as soon as I get the fridge running on propane it won’t be one at all. I think I discovered the problem, too: a cracked fitting. It isn’t evident until you rotate it so I couldn’t see it before, but when I try to light the pilot I always get a flame over this fitting instead. Hopefully we can remedy the problem in Kanab.

The view from the Panorama Trail, Kodachrome Basin State Park

Angus the red-nosed reindeer, about ready for a nap

I considered staying a second night at Kodachrome Basin because it has a variety of trails, some of which are good for running, a camp store (for ice), and warm daytime weather. It’s been getting cold every night recently, in the 30s or 40s, so we bundle up. The ranger at K. Basin said those temperatures are unusual for this time of year, and that usually they have severe heat by now. It’s supposed to be just as cold here tonight, too, in Dixie NF (it’s everywhere) at Red Canyon campground, which is just west of Bryce Canyon. We got here pretty early in the day and set up camp right away so we could go for a run. Conveniently, there is a paved running path along hwy 12 with access right at the entrance of the campground so we ran for a short distance along there with Angus in the stroller–or the “Burley,” as maybe you call it. He seemed to be feeling great this morning during our hike–he even tried to play with Lucy a couple times, but when we got out of the car here he was limping again. When I walked with Angus in the stroller before I tied Lucy’s leash to the handle, but I found that while running, I have to put Lucy’s leash around my waist or she keeps pulling on one side of the handle, steering us off the path.

[For the record, usually when I go running I just leave Angus in the camper.]

Later in the afternoon I had a sun shower, some sardines, and a little sunbathing in jeans and a hoodie.

Memorial Day weekend in Moab, UT

Sorry folks, I am still unable to post pictures.  I can’t get them to upload to flickr so I can copy/paste and I can’t get them to load directly into wordpress from my computer (which I avoid anyway because it always takes a long time).  But here’s what we’ve been up to:

Friday

 Instead of staying in Moab the usual two days I stayed the weekend, primarily because it’s Memorial Day weekend and I didn’t want to scrounge around for a camping spot. Fortunately, it’s a pretty entertaining place to wind up because the hiking is great and there is plenty to do in town. Friday we did a hike in Negro Bill Canyon, which is only about two miles one way (supposedly, but you hike at least a half mile and then find another sign saying it’s 2 miles one-way) and ends up at an arch. We didn’t make it all the way there; Angus was feeling better, but I didn’t want to tax him too much on his first hike back.In the afternoon we went to Arches NP, but I am so disappointed in my pictures of it. They really don’t do the amazing colors justice so I was tempted not to post any of them, anyway.  It was mostly rainy; maybe sunny pictures would have been better.

Dinner was at Eddie McStiff’s, a brewpub where I got two more hike recommendations from Marcos the bartender, who grew up here, and I tasted some good beer.

Saturday

Moab hike #2 was really entertaining for me, but a little rough on Angus. It required a lot of rock scrambling and creek crossing, both of which he became increasingly reluctant to try. The trail was a little hard to follow and a few times we almost turned around because we had lost it, but then I would spot it again at the last minute. Supposedly it ends at a waterfall, but again we missed the spectacular ending, having lost the trail. And you know?  It’s a canyon, right?  There are only so many places it could be.  Well, I never was good at finding things.

 

We went back to the camper for lunch, naps, and book time and then later on walked around downtown, where there is an arts festival going on this weekend.  They have a number of dance and band acts scheduled for Saturday and Sunday and we listened to Tempa & the Tantrums play for almost and hour before heading back for dinner, which I have to mention because it was really good.  At the natural food store downtown I bought Rising Moon Organics garlic & gorgonzola ravioli and they are delicious. I put canned diced tomatoes (+ one leftover real tomato, diced) on the portion I ate, but wish I had only used some olive oil. The package tells me they’re from Eugene, OR, so I hope to eat them again soon.

Sunday

You know, Moab is pretty cool, yeah.  The scenery is great, it’s way bike-friendly, they have a farmers’ market, etc.  But I’m not sure about the people here…no, that’s not fair.  Most of the time if I smile and say hello to someone I get a hello back, but more frequently than anywhere else I’ve been, in Moab sometimes I just get a stare.  And the worst was this morning when Lucy and I went running.  We ran up 191 and just before turning around passed an older man on a bicycle, to whom I smiled and said hello.  (He just stared in return.)  Then we crossed the road and headed back and I was surprised to see that he had done the same, so we would cross paths again.  As we passed each other I smiled at him, friendly-like, but he sneered “you want a cigarette?”  Being a little slow about these things, I had said “no, thank you” before I realized he was being rude.  I try to tell myself that he must feel like crap to say such a thing, so I should feel sorry for him but so far I’m just irritated and childishly want to push him off his bike. 

I am doing laundry in anticipation of a few days without access to it and the dogs are hopefully napping.  We set off to do a hike this morning, but started off at the wrong trailhead and by the time I figured out where the trail I wanted probably was, I realized Angus needed a day off anyway.  I am looking forward to a change of scenery tomorrow when we head to south central Utah.  Wish me luck getting the fridge to run on propane without setting the camper on fire. 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Unexpected pleasures

This is how I’m trying to view my current situation: unexpectedly, I have the pleasure of wifi and showers and proximity to town.  I came up to the Moab area a day early (Thursday before Memorial Day weekend) thinking I could snag a first come, first serve spot on the Colorado River, but no luck!  I have a spot at Portal RV park for one night, and am covered until Monday next door at a different park, but may have to move the pop-up once while I’m there.  [shrug]  At least now I can just worry about recreation.

I had a couple pictures of Mesa Verde and Utah color, but flickr and I are fighting, so maybe I’ll try to post them later. 

Dreamy Durango

[sigh]

I like it here.  I am surrounded by mountains, there are four microbreweries in town and a drive-thru java joint, bicycles are everywhere–including, I think, public bicycles each with their own personalized license plate, lastnight I sat next to a brewer during dinner at a wind-powered brewery, and while walking afterward in perfect weather during a breathtaking sunset I witnessed people hugging on the sidewalk.  I am also staying at a fabulous campground, Lightner Creek, which not only has Fritos, a creek, and wifi, but a Pet Park and petsitting service.  I took advantage of the latter this morning when Angus wasn’t quite in hiking condition but I didn’t want to miss out on the scenery.  To boot, when the owners knew I was going hiking they asked me to check in when I got back so they wouldn’t worry about me.

{While I type this, Lucy is playing with a snake skin, of which she is just as wary as if it were a live snake.}

I took this soon after discovering the remains of a deer carcass, and I’m not talking about one of those little Maryland deer–this was a big ‘un.  They say if you meet a mountain lion you should act large and back away slowly, but I can’t act as big as that deer was and he didn’t make it… 

Lucy is impatient with pictures

Onward to Utah!

You gotta do what you gotta do

Taos, NM

(Saturday)

Oh it’s such a good day when you wake up to that swishing sound that means your dog is about to vomit. Fortunately, the little tantrum I threw last night over the faucet issue (more on that later) involved doing only dishes I needed for coffee in the morning, so my dinner plate was right next to bed and I plopped it in an advantageous spot, saving the sheets from today’s wash. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky with my computer bag in the car later.

We did a hike this morning (see Orilla Verde post for pictures) and then I was planning to race off to a laundromat, desperate for clean clothes. But back at camp my neighbors were gone so it was really quiet and I knew Angus was hankering for a nap, so I put the dogs in the camper and went for a run that I had been itching for for a couple days. I wish I could remember how important it is for me to run; it has such a huge impact on my sense of well-being and I get so irritable if I put it off. My mom knows this. I can’t seem to remember it.

Taos plaza

Oh right, the faucet issue. Sometimes it lets me have water; sometimes it does not. When I first set up camp here I had water from the faucet, but later in the day it gave out. Poof! Just like that, just like it happened before. I filled the water bowl with no problem. A little while later, nothing. I reconnected it again last night and still got no water, but I left it hooked up. This morning it gave me water! Now I can’t have any. Is it temperature-related? I can’t figure it out.

 

Orilla Verde Recreation Area

(~Friday, May 16th?)

We are staying at Orilla Verde Recreation Area, which is about 12 miles south of Taos. The Rio Grande is just across the street and its gorge is the main attraction here. Our first afternoon here we did a short hike called Vista Verde, which was interesting because it offered petroglyphs and a good view of the gorge.

Vista Verde Trail, beginning

Rio Grand Gorge

This morning (Saturday) we did part of the West Rim trail, which the ranger hadn’t been psyched about and now I see why. The scenery doesn’t change much and most of the trail that we saw was jeep track. It’s not as picturesque as singletrack, but did have the advantage of making Angus easier to keep an eye on in the sagebrush. He lags and I like to keep him close enough to prevent a recurrence of the Pandapas Pond episode, where I called him and he took off at full speed in the opposite direction, thinking that was where I was. The ranger here, Ben, told me to keep an eye out for large black rocks, in which Spanish priests, “for lack of anything better to do,” carved crosses in the 1600s. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any priest doodles. We saw the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the Rio Grand gorge,

View from the West Rim Trail

And some pretty flowers.

Taos, NM 010

But again (I think I said before) I jettisoned my wildflower book, so I can’t identify them.