Today the crew and I search for our next camp!
The plan is to move further north along the west side of the Wasatch Plateau. On the way down the mountain a curious deer watches us from the top of an embankment. I stop and zoom in for this photo.
As we descend to lower altitude, pink, wild roses appear along the road. Up at our campsite they’re still in bud. I’m on a mission and keep going. It’s a long way down the mountain. Finally we reach Ephraim and turn north.
Bridget whines all the way down the mountain and Spike can’t seem to settle down.
Gee, I hope the change in altitude isn’t bothering her. Maybe they need a potty break. I pull into the Wal-Mart parking lot, walk the crew around the perimeter, and . . . Well, as long as we’re here . . . I stuff a bag of trash in one of the bins and scoot back onto the highway!
Highway 89 is a straight shot up Sanpete Valley to Spring City.
I don’t have any idea what street becomes the road that goes to the national forest and the mountains. After cruising around, I choose Center Street and drive eastward.
At the village outskirts a truck towing a camper merges onto the road ahead of us. Great! I’ll follow him!
Apparently he knows how to go into the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
Gee, this guy tows a big trailer faster than I drive without towing anything at all. I follow his dust into the forest. The gravel road winds upward very quickly. I push to keep up with his dust trail. The road narrows. Darnit! I hate a cliff alongside the road!
After a few miles of winding upward I’m convinced I’m not going to haul the BLT up this road. I don’t know what I’d do if I met someone coming the other way. There’s just enough width for one vehicle. I’m relieved when I reach a place where I can turn the PTV around and go down the mountain.
Back in Spring City I turn northward on Route 117.
Right as we enter Mt. Pleasant I spy a propane tank in the parking lot of a Best store. Heh-heh. Good thing I put the empty tank in the back of the PTV. While the man pumps the propane, I ask him where’s a good place to camp.
“Fairview Canyon. It’s beautiful up there.”
He tells me to continue on Highway 89 about six more miles to Fairview. I should turn right at Walker’s gas station and then I’ll be on the road (Route 31) that goes up the canyon.
I’m excited! We may soon find our next camp!
Well, to make a long story shorter . . . It’s a lovely scenic drive on a paved road. That’s strike one against it. Easy, pretty roads mean lots of people.
I continue nine miles up the canyon, gaining elevation all the way. There are no spur roads. Mountain on the left, canyon on the right. Strike two.
We reach the intersection with Route 264.
We have a choice… six miles to Electric Lake, 39 miles to Huntington Lake, or two miles to Gooseberry Reservoir.
Since I’ve reached the limit of climbing that I want to do with the BLT, I choose Gooseberry. On the way into Gooseberry Campground, I pause to watch another deer watch me.
Gooseberry Campground is rustic with very short, back-in sites better suited for tents or truck campers ($10 regular/$5 senior pass). I don’t want a campground anyway.
On we go to Gooseberry Reservoir. . . A lush valley appears.
Bridget and Spike wake up and want to get out.
“Hang on, guys. I’ll let you out in a minute”
We take the loop where you can camp right at the water’s edge ($10 regular/$5 senior pass). It doesn’t appeal to me. It looks like a good place to camp if fishing is your passion. I notice two of the campers have inflatable fishing boats. A gray cloud blocks the sunlight causing this photo to be dark. (The reservoir is on the other side of the RVs.)
We work our way up the dusty road. I look down spur roads and see campers. ATVs are in most every campsite. Three meet us on the dirt lane. Uh-oh. Not good. If it’s this busy today, a Friday, it’ll be wild-and-crazy mountain city come fourth of July weekend.
That’s strike three.
I happen to have several empty water jugs!
I pull over and let Bridget and Spike out the side door. They have a grand time sniffing around while I fill up the jugs.
On the way home I reflect on our scouting mission.
We didn’t find our next camp, but it’s been a good trip anyway. I got rid of trash, bought propane, and filled the water jugs. It was an enjoyable, scenic drive (well, not the scary road), and now I know where NOT to go for our next camp.
Fortunately, south of Mt. Pleasant I stop a few times to take photos of horses.
Why fortunately? Because now I have a bunch of horse photos to post and you get a break from this tedious narrative!
Two beauties . . .
Two curious, but wary, youngsters . . .
A mom-to-be . . .
A palomino stallion who tried to nip one of the mares . . . Oh my, the shots I miss!
And a very sociable lady who wants me to stay . . .
Okay, so what do I do now?
Hmm . . . I know who might be able to help me. I stop at the forestry office in Ephraim, leaving the crew in the PTV. The same friendly lady is behind the counter along with a man. Both of them are in forestry uniforms.
After we exchange hellos, I give my thanks once again for the tip on our present campsite.
“I love it up there!”
We talk about the wonders around the Bluebell site and then I launch into my reason for stopping by their office again.
“Maybe you can help me. My fourteen days will be up on Monday. I drove up the mountain at Spring City and then I went up Fairview Canyon. It’s either too steep or too many people. I need a place to hide out through July fourth weekend. Do you have any suggestions?”
“Well, you could go up Manti Canyon,” the lady suggests, glancing at the man.
He suggests I move camp to one of the sites further up Ephraim Canyon Road.
“But those sites aren’t ten miles away?” I respond.
This is the pivotal moment. I hold my breath.
“That’s okay. You can camp anywhere you want along that road.”
“I CAN? That’s GREAT!” I exclaim.
He continues. “You may not be following the letter of the law, but you’re following the spirit of the law, and that’s what we care about. If we didn’t have the fourteen-day limit, locals would park their campers on the mountain all summer and people would hang out clotheslines . . . . ”
“Are you SURE it’s okay?”
The lady interjects, smiling.
“If Mike says it’s okay, it’s okay.”
In the next post I’ll share what I learned from these two, very helpful employees of the Sanpete Ranger Office of the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
So the crew and I will stay on this mountain! We will move only a short distance up the road. I’m very happy about that.
Our scouting mission is a success!
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