Friday, May 31
First thing tomorrow morning I’ll break camp and the crew and I will “hit the road.”
I want to check out Notom Road before we move to another locale.
I’ve heard from different sources, including readers of this blog, that the Notom Road cuts through public land (Bureau of Land Management) and good boondocking spots are to be had.
Notom Road is on the east side of Capitol Reef.
Although we won’t be moving our camp to Notom Road, it could be a place for us to boondock in the future. Besides checking for boondocks, I’ll get a last look at some of the national park.
I set up the crew’s water dish in the PTV, grab my purse and camera, lock up the BLT, and unplug the power cord from the PTV’s bumper.
Bridget, Spike and I jump into the PTV and head out of the campground.
Why? Because RVSue lives in the moment and at this particular moment she drives around a curve in the road and sees a flash of bright red in the field of pale grey-green.
Hit the brakes!
I order the crew to lie down and shut up as I grab the camera to head out across the field. (Now you know why photos of cactus blooms are scattered about this post.) I take a photo of the blooming cactus.
I am not satisfied. I want more.
The hunt is on!
I step carefully around a mean little cactus, probably an evil cousin of the cholla, that grows all over the field, very close to the ground like a carpet from Hades. The thorns are hair-thin and grab onto my pant legs and shoes. But I am undaunted!
The blooming cacti are far apart from each other and hidden like botanical geocaches.
Well, I end up wandering all over the place for an hour or more.
I’m having a great ol’ time as I discover more cacti in different stages of bloom. It’s a fresh, sunny morning. I stop myself to laugh out loud.
I am only a few miles from one of the greatest natural wonders of the world that people from all over the globe come to see at considerable expense and effort, and here I am running around a field of sage, cacti and rocks. Me and my simple pleasures . . .
Back at the PTV, all is quiet as Bridget and Spike are well into their morning nap.
I drive us through the park and turn onto Notom Road. In a short while boondocking possibilities appear near flowing water that I assume is Pleasant Creek. The dirt spur road from Notom Road is marked as Pleasant Creek Road so that’s a pretty safe assumption. A few campers are parked along the creek.
I park the PTV on Pleasant Creek Road.
Bridget and Spike wake up, yipping to get out and see where we are.
The road is covered in sand, but not deep enough to be a problem. The crew happily trots down the lane, the sand soft under their paws. . . My two little boondockers sure do love an adventure.
Spike sprints ahead and discovers an easy “turn-around” campsite.
We come across four or five secluded campsites with fire rings and cottonwood trees.
I pull out my Verizon air card from my pocket and a quick check confirms what I suspect — no signal at all.
I like these sites and would camp here if internet weren’t important. It would be smart to arrive well-stocked with water, propane, and groceries.
Remember the white flowers at our camp in the canyon of the San Rafael Reef? More of these white flowers grow in the Notom Road area.
The sun is high in the sky and it’s getting too warm for more exploring on foot (or paws).
Bridget and Spike pick up their step when the PTV comes into view.
Well, look at all that Utah sunshine coming down onto my solar panel. Boy, was that ever a good purchase. Solar set us free.
Back in the PTV, we continue on Notom Road and find more boondocks.
At the point where Notom Road is no longer paved, I turn us around. On the way back I see someone boondocked at a viewpoint or maybe just parked for lunch.
There’s a spectacular view from that campsite, although I don’t like to be that exposed to wind and highway.
The Notom Road takes us back to Highway 24, the road that goes through Capitol Reef.
I stop so the crew can have another walk. It’s my way of dealing with the last vestiges of guilt for leaving them in the PTV while I chased around looking for cacti this morning!
The Fremont River slides along solid rock the reaches heavenward.
On the way home I enjoy the scenery, but tomorrow is in the back of my mind . . . .
We have to leave in the morning. Where will we go? We could head in the direction of Nephi to the northwest or we could go toward Duchesne to the northeast. Ah, Duchesne. I liked that little town with the Duchesne River running through it. Although a new place on a new route is always fun . . .
Well, I’ve had a great introduction to Capitol Reef. I’ve seen enough rock. Some place green would be nice. Hmm . . . some place green and with water.
Later that evening, with Bridget and Spike tucked into bed for the night. . .
I look for our next camp online and in the Benchmark atlas on my lap. For the first time in our vagabond life, it’s the night before breaking camp and I still don’t know where we are going!
Note: We did find that green camp with water! More about our new camp in the next post.