Thursday, May 29 (continued)
We’re hitched up and ready to go. Inside the Perfect Tow Vehicle Bridget and Spike wait expectantly for me to climb behind the wheel.
“Just a minute. I’ll be right back.”
I walk down the bank for one more look at the creek, one more listen to water cascading over rocks.
“Oh, the camp chair! I almost left it behind!”
The PTV carries me and the crew east on Route 50 to Salina.
The Best Little Trailer smoothly tags along behind us. I’m only aware of her when I look in a side mirror. From Salina we turn onto Route 89 to proceed northward through the wide Sevier Valley.
Shortly past Gunnison, we travel up the road toward Six-Mile Canyon and pull into Palisades State Park. Here I fill the fresh water tank and dump the waste tanks. I take the crew on a short walk-around on-leash. Before pulling out, I stop at the entry booth. I’m surprised when told there is no charge to dump tanks. (State parks usually charge around $6 or so.)
It’s less than fifteen miles to Ephraim and Badger Mountain.
We pass the Mormon Temple in Manti and shortly thereafter arrive at Ephraim. I turn right at the familiar brown sign pointing the way into Manti-La Sal National Forest.
With a deep intake of breath and a firm resolve, I point the PTV up the mountain.
This is a very steep, dirt/gravel road with switchbacks. From the valley floor to the top of the mountain one travels about 15 miles and gains about 5,000 feet in elevation.
I shift into second gear.
“C’mon, baby, you can do it!” We pass the entrance to Lake Hill Campground. After five miles of steady climbing, I park in a pull-out to give the PTV’s engine a break. We’re in aspen country now!
The nutcakes clamor to get out.
They zig-zag over the grass, sniffing here, sniffing there, excited at this new world. We’re going up awfully high. I hope it isn’t too cold. Gee, I love this mountain air.
“Pretty nice, isn’t it? C’mon, get back in. We have more to climb.”
We continue upward.
We go around a curve and . . . “What!” There’s water running across the road!
The PTV is chugging along in first gear and I don’t want to lose momentum. I have only an instant to decide to stop or to plow through. It’s not deep. We go through! I glance to the right. Water spurts about five feet into the air from a busted pipe.
Finally we arrive at Bluebell!
Yay! No one’s here. I park the PTV to inspect the campsite. Uh-oh. Not good. I study the narrow stream of shallow water crossing the entrance to the campsite.
Hmm . . . Not smart to camp beyond flowing water, especially in spring. There’s mud for Spike to get into. And the creek is so powerful! Too dangerous to let Spike outside at night. He can’t hear the water.
You may recall the upper camp.
It was there that The Lounge Chair Incident occurred. In a three-stage collapse, both me and the chair wound up flat-out on the ground, me looking up at the aspen leaves and laughing at the shock of my sudden descent.
At the entrance to the spur, the campsite comes into view.
It’s occupied. Well, no Clinger am I! I make a U-turn, once again thankful for our short turning radius, and park in the pull-out by the entrance to the spur road. I step out to take this photo and to decide what to do next.
A few tries and I find a place that’s level in the short loop that goes from the road, across a bridge, and back to the road.
I can park in the loop. There’s room for someone to pass by, although why they’d need to drive through here, I don’t know. We’re further away from the creek and no chance of being trapped by flowing water. Spike can still get in the mud . . . oh well, I can deal with that.
It’s surprising how a plain, unappealing spot in a road turns into a homey, pleasant campsite once the mat is laid down and a chair set out!
(In the photo below, our former camp was at the far left.)
All I had for lunch was a banana and the mountain air has given all of us good appetites. First I fix plates for Spike and Bridget. Then I pull out a bag of potatoes from the cabinet under the stove, take it outside with a pot, and sit in my camp chair to commence peeling. It’s sunny and warm against the side of the BLT. Bridget and Spike, bellies full, lie down in the sun beside the camp chair.
“It’s nice here. This is going to work out just fine.”
I place the pot of peeled potatoes on the stove, add fresh carrots, a few Brussels sprouts from the freezer, and cover the veggies with water. While that cooks, I putter around inside the BLT, putting everything in order. I go out to retrieve a jug of water from the PTV.
In the meadow above us, a deer watches.
She goes about hers, too. She grazes on the new grass, pausing regularly to watch her new neighbors below.
Last year we arrived at Bluebell Camp in mid-June.
I remember because it was the day after Father’s Day. The aspens were completely leafed out and a profusion of dandelions covered the sloping meadow. The creek was much tamer and there wasn’t any mud.
I think he appreciates our early arrival. He has plenty of water and mud to soak in!
Friday, May 30
I wake in the morning pleasantly surprised that our home is cool, but not uncomfortable. At 9,750 feet during the last week of May, one would expect the temperature to drop very low by morning. Not all the snow has melted yet.
I slept very well, snug and warm, wearing long pajamas and under a comforter with the crew. It wasn’t any cooler during Spike’s midnight potty run than it was next to Ivie Creek. I hope this mild weather continues!
Below is the view from our front door and from the table where I blog on my laptop . . .
A steep climb along with some adaptability and we’ve found our home on Badger Mountain!
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