Category Archives: Simple Living

Catching Up…Part 2

Part 2 – Getting Through Utah

 

(May 21 – May 24, 2014)

Near Goblin State Park. 

We didn’t actually go to Goblin State Park.

"Guardian of the Cave"
“Guardian of the Cave”

The Park is named for rock statues that look like Goblins all over the park, especially popular with the younger generation. When we arrived, there were no campsites available, so, as we do, we found a magnificent (do I dare so better) spot to camp just outside of the park. Therefore, we didn’t spend the fee to go inside the next day either. We enjoyed our own Goblins, and as people do in the desert, create their own entertainment by naming the rocks.

 

 

Arches National Park

Just when you think, there’s nothing new to see, geologically speaking…

 

 

And then…  Canyonlands

See why I’ve fallen so far behind here. Utah is such an underrated state to visit.  We could spend a year here exploring!

 

 

 

Around Our Dispersed Campsite 

 

 The flowers and solitude of the vast high plateau deserts are such a welcome homecoming after days of visiting scenic canyons and vistas. It brings us back to the simple details and up close comforts of    whats within our reach without the drives and roads and parks and people.

 ❧

For further information on the above parks, check out these wonderful websites below.  Of course, we usually don’t do this, we just show up, and check them out after the visit.  Probably not the best plan of attack, but it works for us…

Goblin State Park

Arches National Park

Canyonlands National Park

 

Over The Hills And Through The Snow…

To Bryce Canyon we go…

Via the scenic route.

(May 14-15, 2014)

Before leaving on this epic adventure, we had read and jotted down some notes of places to see along the way. Hwy 143 in Utah was one of them, supposedly one of our most scenic highways!

So off we go, looking for more scenic views! We hadn’t ventured far, when I spotted this little trail I had read about as being a good place to stretch tired legs. Hidden Haven it was called.

A bit more of beautiful cold fluffy snow to deal with, but nothing our trusty hiking boots couldn’t handle. It was a gorgeous sunny blue sky day, so we trekked on up to this lovely bench. (thanks to some random boy scout, getting his eagle badge)

me in snow
Hidden Haven Trail

As we continued to climb the mountain, we realized when the sign said “Road Open,” it was really just opened. With a 15% grade to climb, and the road sometimes one lane, we were sweating it out a bit. But lo and behold the Great White Van performed superbly, although at one point I really knew I could run faster alongside Ms. Keevan.

Brian Head, Utah
Brian Head, Utah

Brian Head. The top of the world! A very cute (what we could see of it) little community renowned for  being the highest community in Utah. Obviously we were between seasons here, as it was deader than a doornail, and we saw I think one person in the whole town.

Brian Head 2
Heading Down, Clean Plowed Road

One thing for sure, it was a picturesque and scenic drive.

IMG_0044
Lovely Day in May

Just one of those little surprises, venturing between desert and mountain ranges. The terrain changes so quickly. As do the temperatures.

IMG_0052
Pass at Brian Head

Needless to say, all the side roads, and national forest service roads were closed, so um, no camping here.

Down we go…

and go, and go, until we are bombarded by more brilliant red rocks.

Red Canyon
Red Canyon

Which signifies the beginning of Red Canyon.

Welcome.

IMG_0119
Passing Through

Drive right in and stay awhile.

Thank you very much, we’ve made to it our new home for a  few days…

IMG_0141
Home Sweet Home

A bit of a challenge to get leveled up, but with a little effort, we settled in nicely for a tasty dinner and good nights sleep!

Fred Puts on Shorts!

Since I’m becoming quite behind in this blogging thing, I’m now adding  accurate travel dates to the posts, as the posting dates seem to run about a week behind. Since I am doing this sort of as a reference, it seems like the weather should at least be when it really happened, instead of like the snow falling in the middle of June or something, when it actually fell in May…

May 12, 2014

We left Lee’s Ferry campground taking a scenic route into Utah through Jacobs Lake. We again decide to forgo the Grand Canyon, since the road to the North Rim (where we are now) doesn’t open for another three days, and we are anxious to get into Utah.

At the junction of our turnoff, we see this cute laundry, and needing to do some, stop in for a quick wash and dry, before heading out.

 

Marble Canyon Laundromat
Marble Canyon Laundromat

 

And this was next door!

 

Marble Canyon Showers
Marble Canyon Showers

 

It can’t get any better than being able to take showers, while the clothes are washing. Little did we know that 95% of the washing machines didn’t work, and 98% of the dryers were inoperable. And that the washers were sort of antiques and took forever…and the dryers took even more forever…

But oh well, while there we met two lovely ladies who were about to embark upon a six day river rafting trip down the Colorado. These ladies had been friends for over 30 years, have lived in different states for over 20 years, and decided to venture out together for this once in a lifetime trip together. They were awesome!!

We shared stories, histories, and soon photos and videos of our grandchildren. I can’t remember the names, but I’m sure they had a fantastic trip down the river, and have many many memories to share and take back to their families.

 

Leaving the Vermillion cliffs
Leaving the Vermillion cliffs

 

Hours later…we continue winding away from the Vermillion Cliffs, and head up to higher elevations. Much higher!

 

Fred Finally Dons Shorts
Fred Finally Dons Shorts

 

Those of you who know Fred, know he’s not much of a shorts kind of guy. In fact our kids have probably never seen this picture of their dad. So it’s pretty ironic, he decides to finally put on shorts…and we come across this. More snow.  (O.k., he did just wash his two pair of jeans – which maybe explains it.)

 

Pia Enjoying the Snow
Pia Enjoying the Snow

 

Pia, on the other hand, rather enjoyed the snow.

We made it to Jacob Lake, at almost 8,000 feet, just as it was about dark, and the one and only campground wasn’t open yet. It obviously opens the same day as the Rim Road to the Grand Canyon. Anyway, we found a nice forest road that wasn’t too muddy, spotted a wide area, and pulled over, popped the top and yay…turned on the heater!!!

You see, our Eurovan has a propane heater with a built in thermostat, which we’ve enjoyed quite liberally with all this cold weather.

 

Walker Creek – Wildlife and Cows

We pulled into a beautiful little campsite and had it all to ourselves. Well we thought we did…until we realized how much life was here along this little red slick rock lined creek.

slick red rocks along walker creek.
Camp Area Below Where the Van was Parked

 

After spending time in the van, we  were eager to relax for awhile on these beautiful rocks. Pia was enjoying getting herself cooled off in the water, and started exploring a bit upstream. Gladly I was following her very closely, (always cautious around these parts) as we were soon met by this big dude taking his daily bath…

apr. 4 foot long diamond back rattle snake.
Western Diamond-back Rattlesnake

 

He was at least 4 feet long, and when first spotted was in the middle of the creek, bathing, hunting, or just cooling off, not sure which. He was actually quite relaxed about having visitors, and we gave him a wide berth once we spotted him. And rest assured, I retrieved my camera with the zoom lens on it. No close up iPhone photo here.  We spent probably about an hour, watching him make his way out of the creek, around a tree, under some rocks and across the road. (On the opposite side of the creek from where we are camped.)

Then the birds came out! We have been going wild with all the different birds here. Note that neither Fred nor I are expert ornithologist’s, but we do carry a good birding book, and a few bird apps on the iPhone.  We love to just sit and watch them and try to identify the species. Since being here, we’ve seen: Summer tanagers, Northern Cardinals (a southwestern species) Bullocks Orioles, Yellow Warblers, White-crowned Sparrows, and I think a Lark Sparrow. That’s in addition to the normal Juncos, Jays, Ravens, etc. It is so fun for us seeing the red and yellow birds. There is so much variation here!

No photos of the birds, as I was just enjoying sitting and watching them flutter around. Sometimes it’s good to look at life without seeing everything through a camera lens.

When the days get hot here, the birds settle down, and out come the lizards. More new species to identify. We are like a couple of little kids in a zoo.

And…when all else is  quiet, our camp is surrounded by cows. They too keep us entertained, coming to the creek to get water, mooing to each other,  and generally being cows! It is amazing watching them maneuver their mass of hulk around on these slippery rocks.

Lizard peeking over the rock near Walker Creek
A Small Visitor

 

Golden calf posing for a photo
A Large Visitor

 

Fred sitting in a chair by the creek with dog pia by his side on slick red rocks
Fred & Pia Relaxing

 

Entertainment is quite cheap in the desert.   ❧