Note: This is a very long post which you may find tedious. I want to have a record of our activities during this week past, so my focus is catching up this blog, rather than entertaining. I’ve tried to help you through it with some photos.
Sunday, May 19
Rain! It started last night and today it’s coming down steadily. I buy another kindle book and settle into the pillows on the bed for a long read with Bridget snuggled up next to me. Several times I get up to let Spike look out the door at the rain. He decides he doesn’t have to go outside after all and climbs back into bed. This is the first full day of rain we’ve experienced in more than a year, maybe two!
Monday, May 20
I wake up around 3 a.m. with a headache. I take some ibuprofen which usually works for me, but this time — no good.
I awake at dawn with a worse headache. I’m thankful no one else is at the campground so I can simply open the door and let Bridget and Spike out to do their business. I force myself to drink a cup of coffee so I don’t have caffeine withdrawal headache on top of the one I’m already dealing with.
Nausea sets in around ten o’clock.
I’m still in bed. Bridget is conciliatory, licking my arm and looking at me with wide eyes from an even more morose face than her usual mug. Spike, on the other hand, is “all about me,” demanding as ever. At one point he insistently barks at me with his yell-bark.
“Spike! The door is open! Get away from me!” He will not stop until I get out of bed and walk outside with him. Not cute.
By mid-afternoon the headache has faded enough that I’m able to drive us into Loa to buy some groceries.
Tuesday, May 21
An adventure! The crew and I go west and turn right onto national forest road 3262 to Teasdale. Our mission today is to explore Highway 12 to Boulder. At Teasdale I pull over to look at the map. Immediately a guy in a pick-up pulls alongside.
“Hello! Are you lost?” he calls through the open window, a big smile on his face. He’s about sixty-five years old.
We talk for about twenty minutes.
His name is Dennis. He tells me he moved here from Salt Lake City with his wife upon retirement and they love it. Dennis suggests I take Highway 12 all the way to Boulder and beyond to hike Calf Creek Falls.
Okay, get out your Utah Benchmark maps!
You’ll see on page 76 that Route 12 is the “Journey Through Time Scenic Byway.” We climb past Lion Mountain (8,858 ft) and I pull into Singletree Campground. Only three campers are there. Sites seem very close together to me.
I pull off at overlooks along the way.
Next we take a look at Pleasant Creek Campground. Nothing special and empty. We continue on the dirt road past Pleasant Creek all the way to Lower Bowns Reservoir.
And let me tell you, it is one crummy dirt road. Anyway, we get there and I let out the crew. Spike, the virtual canine dowsing rod, heads straight for the water.
You know the rest of that old, familiar story.
This is the classic Spike Takes A Soak photo I’ve taken in several western states.
A small campground at Lower Bowns is near the boat ramp. This place is ideal for anglers.
Back on Route 12 we investigate Oak Creek Campground. Tiny, tight sites. Route 12 takes us higher and higher to the summit at 9,400 feet. At 9,500 feet I pull over at a look-out. The view is spectacular, of course, and too vast for me to capture well in a photograph.
It’s a beautiful drive as we descend to Boulder at 6,675 feet.
We pass the junction of Hell’s Backbone which Dennis told me in strong terms not to take. Now we enter Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. That’s when I do what I swore I never would do!
I drive on a road that’s nothing but road!
No kidding! What do I mean? Well, instead of ground on each side of the road, there’s nothing but air. A cliff goes down about, oh, I don’t know, a mile or so on one side where the shoulder should be. And then on the other side, the same deal! I hate it! Of course, I’m not about to try taking photos.
I white-knuckle it, occasionally peeking to the side and down to see canyons so mammoth it’s beyond comprehension. You have to be there to believe it! Not that I’m advising anyone to drive on a road through air . . . .
Finally we reach Calf Creek Recreation Area.
It’s a pretty campground, mostly tenters and truck campers in it.
I leave the crew in the PTV and go into the restroom. I can hear Bridget and Spike barking and whining through the thick restroom walls. By the time I get us on the trail to the falls the two of them are worn out already from pitching such a fit!
In addition the day has turned very hot.
Here I have a nice picnic packed for us and water in my backpack with their collapsible dish and so on, and the crew is not in the mood to hike. Bridget plops her butt down in the dirt and refuses to move. Spike walks the wrong way.
“I give up!” My nerves are shot anyway from the last leg of the drive. We walk around the campground a bit.
I let Spike get his feet wet.
We climb back in the PTV and head for home.
When we get home, I turn on the laptop and see that my blog has been suspended and my email inbox is piled high with inquiries.
Wednesday, May 22
I go online and sign up with Hostgator. The greater part of the day is spent answering emails and reading other blogs.
Thursday, May 23
The crew and I hike away from the campground up to a magical place overlooking a long, wide draw.
What a place! No people, no sounds but birds.
We go for a drive through Bicknell, Lyman, and Loa and I take lots of photos of ordinary scenes, a pleasant departure after the past few weeks of non-stop grandeur.
Friday, May 24
Remember the group campsites next to ours? The reservations say they’re arriving today for the Memorial Day Weekend. Since I need to have internet during this blog crisis, I decide to stay at Sunglow and simply move our camp to site #1 which is the most private alternative.
Spike and Bridget soon discover that they can walk past our picnic table, climb down the bank, and play around a little stream.
Of course, once again, Spike goes for it!
Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26
Bridget, Spike and I hike along the stream. (An upcoming pictorial essay will show where we walk each morning.)
We lounge around in the afternoon and I drive us on photo-taking tour.
Lovely weather, pure air, great fun.
Monday, Memorial Day, May 27
An outing to Mill Meadow Reservoir! (A pictorial essay of Mill Meadow Reservoir will be posted soon.)
Tuesday, May 28
Off to Loa to do laundry! On the way back home I visit with Tonya at the Fremont River Ranger Station. She gives me free maps of Fishlake National Forest and Dixie National Forest.
We chat for quite some time about forest roads, camping areas, and more. She’s a friendly, helpful employee and proud resident of Bicknell . . . .
Wednesday, May 29
“C’mon, guys! Let’s go to Fish Lake!”
To be continued . . . .