Okay, it’s decision time!
I sit up in bed and grab my Benchmark atlas. We have to leave Sunglow Campground this morning. For the gazillionth time I examine page 67 which shows Utah to the north of Loa. Hmm . . . Highway 24 is a good road . . .
Koosharem Reservoir is about 30 miles to the northeast.
It’s on the Paiute Reservation in Plateau Valley. Yes, that’s where we’ll go! If it’s not right, we’ll still have most of the day to look for something better.
Bridget and Spike soon figure out we’re breaking camp.
As we drive out of the campsite, Spike looks out the window and barks.
No kidding. He barks at the campsite. I think he wants to stay!
“Oh Spikey, you’ll get more soaks. I promise.”
After going eastward to dump tanks and take on water at an RV park in Torrey, we turn westward. We pass through Bicknell, Lyman, and Loa where the people are hard-working, wholesome, and pretty darn orderly, I’d say.
Gee, I love this valley . . .
Moving right along . . . To get off of Highway 24 onto the road going down to Koosharem Reservoir, there’s quite a drop from the pavement to the dirt.
A guy on a bike is in the way. He’s sucking water out of a bottle.
“Excuse me! Uh, sir? Excuse me?”
He slowly puts down his water bottle as a car comes up behind me in the no-passing zone.
“Would you be so kind as to move so I can get through?”
Instead of moving, he starts to argue.
“You can get through. There’s plenty of room.” He takes another slow suck on his bottle.
Now two vehicles are behind me looking at my turn signal. I don’t believe this guy. I have to block traffic to explain why I want him to move?
“There’s a sharp drop. I want to come in at an angle so I don’t scrape,” I hurriedly shout. For heaven’s sake, humor me, idiot.
“Oh, you won’t scrape. I have a fifth wheel so I know.” Uh, what does THAT have to do with anything?
He moves three feet over. I carefully take us over the drop, squeezing past the expert on my tow vehicle and my trailer.
Sheesh. What is his problem?
The reservoir is lovely in the morning sun.
Pelicans! The crew and I hop out to investigate.
Well, it’s dirt-parking-lot camping but for one night it would be okay. I take some photos. I could watch the birds and the crew and I could walk along the shoreline, ask the people fishing if they’ve caught anything . . .
“OH NO! C’mon, guys, RUN FOR IT!”
A swarm of no-see-ums attack my head and chase us all the way back to the PTV.
Lesson learned? Stay away from lakes with marshes during the month of June.
Moving on down the highway . . .
Highway 24 passes by the Rainbow Hills (el. 6,525 ft.) through the small towns of Sigurd and the aptly named Vermillion.
Next is the town of Salina. From the size of the font on the map I figure it must have a grocery store. I want to stock up before settling into camp.
It’s a lazy drive between hills, rather than over them. That’s okay with me!
A quick pass through Salina and no grocery. So I turn around and drive up to a guy sitting on his trailer loaded with four off-highway-vehicles in front of gas pumps. Looks like a local.
“Does this town have a grocery store?” I ask.
“Go to the four-way stop, turn left. You can’t miss the turn. It’s the only intersection in town,” he responds with a slight smile as if to say, “Can you believe I live here?”
Soon we’re on the last leg of today’s journey.
At least I hope it’s the last. We travel westward on Route 50. Our destination is Maple Grove Campground in Fishlake National Forest at the base of mountains of the Pavant Range. A lush green valley spreads out to the left of us with forested mountains beyond. This gives me hope and my anticipation grows. There it is!
I park the PTV to take these photos and to savor the moment.
The road goes to the mountain and takes a sharp left around a cattle ranch (that speck in the field above). We curve to the right into lots of green!
Well, this is it . . . Maple Grove Campground. Please be wonderful . . .
It’s very shady. I mean, it’s VERY, VERY shady. Darkness cloaks the PTV.
Gee, the sites are awfully close. It’s Saturday and campers are jammed into the slots . . . er . . . the campsites.
People stand or sit near their campers and watch listlessly as we pass by. What is this? Feeding time at the zoo?
Children of the corn stare through the gloom.
Oh boy, this is terrible! I hurry us around the loop (as fast as one can hurry in a 5 mph zone.) Look to the light. Look to the light. Trees reach out over the campground lane.
Hey, wait a minute! These aren’t maple trees. Maple Grove Campground? These are OAK trees. Well, I guess there were maples here back in the thirties and forties.
Gosh, that means there’s a bunch of people who’ve been running around for years calling oak trees maples because they camped here during their formative years. Just goes to show, you can’t blame everything on the public school system . . .
Now where the heck are we gonna’ go?
I slowly drive back down the road . . . the national forest road . . . Hey! This is public land. We can camp along this road. I look to my left and see a short dirt lane going down to a clear area by some trees. In we go!
Yes! We can camp here. This is nice. And what’s that through the trees . . . Oh my gosh, is that water?
“C’mon, sweeties!” I turn off the PTV’s engine, jump out, run around to the side door, and let out the crew. “Look, guys!” I shout as I run to the trees. “There’s a CREEEK!”
Bridget and Spike are as excited as I am.
Together we scramble down the bank to a green-grass meadow.
“Oh this is beautiful!” I exclaim as Bridget and Spike scatter about. “I LOVE this!”
I dash upstream where the creek cascades over rocks creating a spray of waterfalls. What a bright, sunny, cheerful place! I love the sound of the rushing water!
“Bridget! Spike! Come up here!”
My gosh, it’s our own private park. No noise but the sound of water and songbirds. No bugs. No neighbors. I can’t believe this! What? No lion lying down with the lamb? Ha!
Together we play up and down the stream. Spike, of course, does what Spike loves to do.
“Let’s go and set up camp.” This is so much fun! I love deciding where to park the BLT.
The Best Little Trailer sits up above our green lawn and the creek. Both can be seen from our window.
At dusk a doe visits our camp, having stepped out of a copse of oaks. I only get a glimpse before Spike barks like a holy terror… er, terrier.
Later that evening I lie in bed looking up at oak leaves silhouetted against a moonlit, starry sky, while the steady, soothing sound of the creek through the open window lulls me to sleep. Thank you for this day. Thank you for this wonderful place to call home!
Note: We arrived at this camp on Saturday, June 1st, so the crew and I are into our sixth day here, as I write this.