Forest flowers and faith

If I weren’t such a wuss when it comes to altitude, I’d be all over this mountain.

Instead, Bridget, Spike, and I take a closer look at the area around our campsite at Bluebell Flat.


We follow a path that takes us past lupines in a grove of aspens.


The columbine flower is fun to photograph. 

I love its artistic silhouette.  Columbine appear in shady places where flowers are least expected.  As the crew and I wander, the appearance of bright, white “stars” is a delight!


It’s difficult for me to capture the purple of this flower. 

The light has to be perfect and the skill of the photographer more advanced than mine.


Rarely do winged creatures give me enough time to aim a shot. 

This one is willing to hold still.


The path meanders toward Cottonwood Creek. 

The name seems inappropriate as I haven’t seen any cottonwood trees.  Maybe the name comes from another section of the creek.  If I knew the name of this next flower, I’d name the creek after it.


They lean over the creek bank like a crowd of nosy onlookers.


The crew and I leave Camp Bluebell next Monday, July 1st. 

I want to locate another secluded camp where we can stay away from civilization through Independence Day weekend.  In addition to avoiding the holiday, I want to camp high enough to avoid the heat wave that weather websites predict.

In fact it’s already begun. 

I’ve read where it’s in the mid- to high-nineties down the mountain in Ephraim.  If it weren’t for weather websites, I wouldn’t know because the high temperatures here are in the 80s.


I’ve been researching a location for our next camp.

I use the Manti-La Sal National Forest website, my Utah Benchmark atlas, of course, and the free map given to me by the ladies at the forestry office in Ephraim . . . The “Motor Vehicle Use Map.”


It looks like the primary purpose of these motor vehicle use maps is to show where OHVers can and cannot drive.  I find they’re handy for a boondocker like me to locate forest roads.  I always ask for one when at a forestry office.  (They’re free!)


1-P1050768Our general itinerary is to work our way northward along the west side of the Wasatch Plateau.

The elevation increases quickly from the valley floor.  For that reason I’m hesitant for the PTV to haul the BLT up an unknown forest road.  The road could wind upward for miles with no place to turn around.

Without a recommendation like I had from the forestry office for this road to Bluebell, I need to leave the BLT behind and go on a scouting mission.

What fun!


Tomorrow the crew and I will drive up to Spring City and turn east into the national forest again.

It’s exciting to search for a new camp!

1-P1050603-001I love the entire process from studying maps to driving up a forest road, checking out spur roads.

I also think it’s fun to evaluate potential sites.


What’s the chance we’ll be bothered by people? Is it open enough for me to keep an eye on the crew? Is the site level enough? Is there a buffer against wind? Does it look like bugs will be a problem this time of year?  Will the solar panel be in the sun?  Can I position the BLT so the refrigerator panel isn’t hit with harsh sun in the afternoon? Is it aesthetically pleasing? . .  . and so on.


All this research and analysis is important in the search for that special camp.  It also helps to have faith that we will find it.


A big THANK YOU for shopping Amazon through my blog. Here are a few purchases made recently by some of my readers:
Birkenstock Women’s Arizona Fashion Leather Sandal
No-Spill 1-1/4-Gallon Poly Gas Can
KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer
Tow Tuff Dolly Adjustable Trailer Movers with Caster Wheel
Valterra Brass Lead-Free Adjustable Water Regulator
Vera Bradley Hipster (Indigo Pop)

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62 Responses to Forest flowers and faith

  1. DesertHawk - Las Cruces, New Mexico says:

    Good Hunting for the Next Neat Campsite!

    Maybe you will come upon a Elk or Two. Hope so.

  2. Ladybug says:

    Awwww… cute with their little butts together! And Bridget (I think that’s her backside) looking over the meadow and contemplating the mountain. Maybe she has her eye on the next camp!

    But yes, get your spot picked out and settle in before the crazy holiday!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, that’s Bridget. She’s a contemplative little girl. I wish I could read her thoughts.

      Bridget has enough butt for both of them!

  3. CT says:

    Cute pic of Bridget! She’s like a little queen surveying her kingdom! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I love her ears. One day when she was much younger, her ears were like Spike’s. In one day they popped up like they are now.

  4. I will remember to ask for the Motor Vehicle Use Map at National Forests from now on. I’m hoping to find some good places to overnight along my way east in August, and usually stop at Visitors’ Centers when I find them, and the folks working there are always such a valuable source of info.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Not to discourage you, but many of the forest roads in the national forests aren’t convenient for overnight stops. If your schedule allows spending more than one night, then NF camps are great! (I could be wrong making that general statement, especially about any camping east of the Mississippi.)

  5. Once you get east of the Mississippi, we recommend the Corps of Engineer parks! Wonderful and affordable!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes! Why didn’t I think of that? I really enjoyed the COE parks in Texas. (Be sure to get the COE camping guide.)

  6. Love the picture of the doggo surveying her domain.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Allison . . . Sometimes I think Bridget is a reflection of me. Some dogs are like that. If I’m sad, she’s sad. If I’m excited, she’s excited. If I’m dreaming of our next camp, she’s dreaming, too. (?)

  7. I love your list of criteria for a new homesite! We were deciding where to go next. We were scheduled to leave St. Charles, MO (outside St. Louis) on July 2. When locating places for the holiday, they all included pools or lakes with fishing. These say families with lots of children!! Not my cup of tea. Our present park has no amenities for families…no pool, lake, or playground. So we are staying here through the holiday. Lots to do and see in the area, anyway. I guess this is our idea of quiet. Oh, and we have a large concrete pad with lots of grass in between. We were very tired of dirt and gravel.

    Hope you have a successful search for another beautiful site. Good Luck!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s what is wonderful about living in an RV. You can live where and how you want . . . from manicured lawns with lots of social activities to isolated primitive camps and anything in-between. Many of us move from one type to the other.

      I know what you mean about the amenities that attract children. That’s one reason I shy away from camping near popular reservoirs and lakes. Have a great holiday enjoyed YOUR way!

      • Tesaje says:

        My dog is such fun for children, I almost feel obligated to camp near them. She loves to fetch and does some tricks so well that even their poor commands work. And she love kids. I end up with a pile of human puppies at my camp. But the reality is I prefer camps like you describe. Thanks for the description of your search process. It is helpful.

    • Rev. Mary says:

      doesn’t sound like camping, more like moteling it.

  8. Diane says:

    Great shots Sue! I love the area around your campsite. I find the flowers interesting…I live in the Blue Ridge Mts. of Virginia and our similiar flowers have already bloomed. So I am getting a kick out of seeing a western variety, the size, color and time of the year is different. I like that. Thanks.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Diane . . . Hmm… interesting. I never thought about that.

      I see plants with buds and I want to stay to see what the flowers will be. And then I see plants with blooms that died before we arrived. In a month these meadows will look different. When I come back I’ll try to do so at a different time of year.

  9. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Beautiful pictures of so many different flowers. Curious to know if their smells are noticeable in the air.

    I have no doubt that your next site will be just as awesome as the ones in the past.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No, they aren’t that aromatic. The strongest perfume is from sage which is very short and easily stepped on and from what I think is mint (I haven’t found any of the plants.)

      Tomorrow should be interesting. We’ll be going down in altitude, going northward, and then going up in altitude and then going down in altitude, going southward, and then going up in altitude!

  10. blueyedcin says:

    It is so beautiful, peaceful, and cool there, don’t go, not yet. We won’t tell. Every time I see that water it always looks so clear like it would be so cool and clean. Was laying in the pool in the backyard today, saw a bird and thought of the pictures you take. However, I can hear fire sirens, the neighbor’s loud air conditioning unit, dogs barking, and really bad music in the background. I started to say luck but in your case it is skill in locating your campsites. My fear is that when I get out on the road I’m going to end up in every Flying J and Wal-Mart parking lot.

    Another thing I think I enjoy as much as your posts are the items people buy on Amazon. Why is a regulator thingy ma jig costing over $60 bucks and am I gonna need one of those?

    You talk a lot about parking the BLT in the shade for the refrigerator’s sake. Did you get the refrigerator fan and knowing what you know now would you make the same decision? That mixer is gorgeous too! I never knew Birkenstocks were so expensive.

    Phyllis in Oklahoma

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Phyllis,

      Oh, my heart ached reading your description of the sounds you live in. There was a time I could endure that. Not any more.

      No, you’re not going to end up in Flying Js and Walmart parking lots. (They’re okay when trying to get from point A to point B.) I get the impression several of my readers want to be boondockers some day. If that’s you, don’t start out expecting to camp every night in a free spot.

      One way to start out — the way that worked for me — is to buy an annual pass to NM state parks. That way you can ease into full-timing and, if you want, ease into boondocking.

      I don’t know what you mean about getting the refrigerator fan. Don’t all fridges have fans? I got whatever Casita offers for the fridge. It’s not necessary to have the fridge in the shade but I discovered it cuts down propane use.

      As for the water pressure regulator, I turn that question over to readers who know the answer.

      Isn’t that mixer a beauty? And Birkenstocks look sooo comfy . . . I’ve never had a pair myself.

      Thanks for the feedback on me posting those links. I’ve been wondering if they interest anyone. I enjoy seeing what people buy. That “Vera Bradley Hipster” is nice.

      • Marsha says:

        Great pictures. Love the lush greenery and flowers.

        Birkenstocks are the most comfortable sandals you will ever own. It’s like walking around barefoot and they last forever, plus you can have them re-soled by Birkenstock to make them last even longer. I finally remembered to use your Amazon link.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Yay! Thanks, Marsha, for becoming an “rvsue shopper!”

          I’ve admired Birkenstocks for years and figured they must be a good value due to their long popularity. Looking at the wide room for toes I wonder why I crammed mine into pointy shoes in the past.

          • Connie & Mugsy says:

            Sadly, I have narrow feet and I could put both of my feet into one of them… even their so-called “narrow”

      • cinandjules (NY) says:

        One should always use a H20 pressure regulator when filling the tanks or if you are at a site with hook ups. You never know what the PSI is and the regulator gives you peace of mind.

        Spending up to $60 may seem huge but you’ll be spending much more if your plumbing gets blown out.

        Birkenstocks are really comfortable. Growing up in the Bay Area…near the Republic of Berzerkely…everyone had a pair.

        • Donna in W. Texas says:

          I must be the only person on the planet who did not find Birkenstocks comfortable. I thought I would – many of my friends had them (southern California) and some of them wouldn’t wear anything else – and they had them in purple (favorite color) but they never were comfortable for me…. $75 (price then) down the drain.

        • Connie & Mugsy says:

          I will admit that I have never used a water pressure gauge and haven’t encountered any RVer who actually had a problem. My father RVed for 30+ years and never used one either. We’re probably just lucky…

  11. Debra Larson says:

    Your pictures are so beautiful, I wish I was there. Bridget’s picture is just too cute.

  12. Val R. Lakefield On. says:

    Sue enjoyed the pics these past couple of days. . The last one on Wed post was beautiful.
    Today’s fave was of Bridget gazing over meadow & the flowers. I have white lupines in my garden. Our wild columbine is smaller and rose coloured. That certainly is a beautiful camp your in, seems like you just got there to me. Our lake is warm for swimming now & I have an Osprey who perches on top of the cedar tree surveying the lake. Beautiful sunsets, not a bad spot to be for now while we prepare. I love learning from your blog….the latest is about the free maps…I also wondered how you powered your fridge & by the above reply I guess you use propane. Our on order trailer( to be built in Feb ) is having a go power solar panel, but it is on the roof….So does your solar panel run everything but the fridge & a/c? Monday is Canada day so this weekend all the tourist arrive, I wouldn’t mind spending the weekend at your camp 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Your place sounds beautiful, Val . . . very peaceful.

      Thanks for the compliments on the photos. I like the one of Bridge gazing across the meadow, too. Another favorite is the first one in today’s post. It’s nothing special but I like the contrast between the strong aspen and the delicate flowers.

      It’s exciting having a trailer on order and yours will come to you with a solar panel. That’s great! My solar panel runs everything except the a/c, the fridge, and the hot water heater (which can be powered by propane or by “shore power.” (Solar does power the electronic panel of the fridge.) As a general rule, the solar panel powers those things that don’t involve a lot of heat (tv, computer, LED lights, fan, chargers). That leaves out things like a hair dryer or toaster.

      Enjoy your lake and have a happy Canada Day!

  13. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Aspens in the pines along side Hwy 88 in northern California near Lake Tahoe were so beautiful to the 49’ers coming to California on the Overland Trail. The word ‘sublime’ was used often in the journals and diaries . After the scorching deserts it must have seemed like paradise itself. Your little bit of heaven reminds me of those people long ago and far away.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Very interesting, Joe! I certainly can relate to those folks on seeing aspens in the pines after months in the desert (although in no way does my life compare with the hardships of theirs!).

      I like your phrase “a little bit of heaven.” 🙂

  14. AZ Jim says:

    The weather down here in Surprise is, in a word HOT! It’s almost 10 PM right now and it’s 94. I got to 108 today and the forecast is for 118 tomorrow. I am changing out my birdbath and fountain 4 times a day to ensure cool (or as close as I can get) water for my wild birds. There is not a moment during the day one or more (usually 2 or 3 ) isn’t getting a drink. As to the water pressure regulator, if you are hooking up to outside water they are a good idea. One hookup with water pressure that surges or is just too high all the time can damage RV plumbing. You can buy a good brass one for $11 at Amazon (use Sue’s link).

    (NOTE: I removed Jim’s link from his comment and replaced it with one of my own below.)

    Sue your nature photos are top notch….Hi to the furry little ones….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ve put the pressure regulator that Jim mentions in his comment on the Shopping Links page, “For your RV and home.” (Scroll down to near the end.)

      Thanks, Jim, for the suggestion and for answering Phyllis’s question about regulators.

      That heat must be brutal. You are an angel for the thirsty birds. I’m going to include the bird fountain at the end of the next post. Thank you for caring about the welfare of desert birds. Hope you can keep cool this week!

    • blueyedcin says:

      Thanks Jim and Sue, always learning things on here!

      Phyllis from Oklahoma

  15. mary strasser says:

    Enjoyed your pictures of the white columbine. The ones here in Colorado are a blue/purple. I’ve never seen white ones. Your pictures allow me to feel the scene. Very impressive.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Mary. Blue/purple columbine? Must be a delight to behold. The ones at Ivie Creek are yellow and much smaller. These white ones range from about one inch across to four inches across, the latter appearing in sunnier places.

  16. Pauline says:

    The aspens, the flowers, the babbling brook….what beautiful scenes!!! Bridget overlooking her vast domain is precious. The pictures convey such beauty and serenity…I could sit there for hours.
    My measly purchase from Amazon hasn’t shown up on your list. I wonder if it is because I have an account even though I use your link ….and an Amazon credit card.
    Be safe in your travels. Love to you and the crew

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Pauline!

      If you mean the list I put at the end of each post, that’s not all the purchases. For instance, so far this month my wonderful readers have placed orders for 321 items. I don’t know what you bought, but I’m confident I got credit for it. If you use one of my links, my code is embedded.

      Thank you! (No order is “measly” — They all add up.)

      Love to you and your crew (human and canine 🙂 )

  17. Rita from Phoenix says:

    Beautiful photos to treasure now and later. I have volumes of photo books and also now on disc or computer. Every once in while I look at them and remember what fun I had or remember love ones. I guess I’ll scratch my road trip on Hwy 395 until later in fall…my sistas invited me to tag along to Maui, HI in August so my flight ticket is bought and now just waiting for the day to arrive. It might be a tad chilly in the mts in Sept/Oct to drive to Tahoe. If not, I might drive to Utah…now that you’ve shown some beautiful places to visit. The peach festival in Sept. in Utah sounds interesting…hummm. I know what you mean about the excitement of planning a new camp site and/or trip….so many possibilities. Enjoyed your photos…flowers, butterfly, and the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rita…

      Well, that’s a pretty good reason for postponing your Hwy 395 journey! Maui… how wonderful! Have a fantastic time with your sisters . . . I’d be so happy to spend time with my sisters. 🙁 It wouldn’t matter where. A ratty motel in the middle of nowhere would be fine. Enjoy!

      “So many possibilities” — That’s what I LOVE about a home-on-wheels!

      Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  18. Mary Ann (Pontotoc MS)) says:

    Sue, the photographs are wonderful. I’ve been enjoying seeing the white columbines–I’ve only seen yellow. But of course the lovely Bridget and Spike stole the show again.

    It’s fun to see the purchases others have made and keep any eye out for my little ones–that’s a great idea to post those.

    I was thinking that the Forest Road maps may also be helpful in showing you where to stay away from (i.e., the places those ATVs are allowed).

    Can’t wait to see your new camp!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Mary Ann!

      Thank you for your purchases. The small purchases are important, too. The more products sold through my blog in a month the higher my commission percentage. I appreciate every order!

      The forest roads for ATVs are pretty much the same for camping.

  19. John fossildreamer says:

    Sue, Those pictures today, what can I say other than their beautiful,
    just what I needed today,, I think spike is saying don’t worry about mom,
    just follow me I know there’s a creek down here.. with pic’s like that butterfly
    I think Al over in BAYFIELDBUNCH.COM had better watch out, I see a little more creative photography and it makes my day..
    Safe travels Sue

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, John! Fantastic compliment on my photos. Thank you.

      I’m a long way from being in Al’s league. I’m thrilled to catch a pic of a butterfly. Al, on the other hand, gets detail on the EYEBALL of a butterfly. Sheesh.

  20. Sheri says:

    Hi Sue…you are going to laugh..but ever since I started following your journey (which I totally love, btw)..i have this thing about garbage cans. I will go into a parking lot of a store like Wal-Mart or Safeway, etc.., and I will look at the garbage cans to see if the tops are open enough for a big bag of garbage…LOL..and I will think to myself, “oh, Sue would love this one..she could probably fit a couple of bags in here”…or I will think, “oh Sue wouldn’t like this one, there is a top on it that prevents anything larger than a cup to go into it”…thought you’d get a kick out of this…Hugs!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, I don’t let the garbage cans with the little slots deter me! I lift the lid off. You see, someone has to be able to pull the big bag of garbage out, so there’s always a way to put the garbage in. 🙂 Now keep up the good work scouting out garbage cans!

  21. Mick says:

    Beautiful photos, RvSue; just remember to save them to a secure location, not just on your computer. The USB memory cards are probably the easiest and are now available with lots of memory.

  22. Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

    Love the one of your puppy in the field looking into the distance.

    Question: If I use your Amazon link but pay for my purchase with an Amazon gift certificate, do you know if you still get the credit? I tried to find the answer on Amazon but couldn’t find it. In a tiny corner of my brain I think I read something where it said it wouldn’t work.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m pretty sure it will work because once you go through one of my links my code is “attached” to your purchase. Thanks for caring enough to ask, Donna.

      • Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

        Well, it won’t hurt to try! When I figure out what I want to buy, I’ll give it a shot. Thanks!

  23. Cari in North Texas says:

    What lovely photos of your area – and my alltime favorite is the last one of Bridget contemplating the view. That one needs to be on a poster or in a gallery!

    As others have commented, it’s getting hot here in Texas too – 103 yesterday 🙁 So your pics of the flowers, mountains, and trees are a refreshing escape.

    I too love the planning part of any vacation – figuring out where to go, what to see and do, how to get there – although my travels have revolved around motels up to this point. Thanks for sharing your list of things to look for in a camping site, I’ll add that to my trove of future-RV-travel info. And I definitely relate to staying away from family-friendly locations. I made the mistake of staying in a cabin at a state park one year in the middle of spring break (I don’t have kids so it didn’t even occur to me) and the area was full of children on bikes and playing games. I’ve got nothing against kids, I just want peace and quiet when I’m camping! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m the same way, Cari. After teaching middle school, I don’t want to be around kids. Five days a week for years is enough.

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