Sunday, July 10, 2011

Five Hundred Miles

I must boast, at least a little, about my amazing husband. He works hard. He lives alone during the work week in a mostly unfurnished apartment. He misses me and I miss him, but together, we are trying our best to make decisions about our lives and our careers and all that jazz. I have been useless lately. I haven't had any energy or time, therefore, he's the one who gets everything loaded up for camping. All I really do is jump into the passenger seat and away we go. Hubby drives 500-600 miles per week for his job, but I was too drowsy to help with the driving on our weekend. We clocked in at 291 miles before we set up the tent and by the time we got home, he had driven 520 miles on his restful, relaxing weekend. It was a nice time, but hopefully I'll be feeling better so that next time is even nicer. For some reason, I took a lot of pictures of clouds on this trip. This is Roadside Idaho and Utah.

K and I left BC early Friday morning with a plan to camp in Idaho. Silly us. We headed up to a ski area called Pomerelle. All four campgrounds had signs: closed, closed, closed, and closed. K said, "Whaaat???" We pulled out the map, the atlas, and the gazetteer. We headed on over to Sublett, a reservoir and campground. A campground with six sites. Count 'em: one, two, three, four, five, six. All taken. So we continued through the beautiful forest (cooler up there) to a place called Mill Flat. Very busy and all full. Hmmm...we had struck out on our first six campgrounds of the day. So then we headed back over toward City of Rocks. All full or all reserved. Then we decided to pay the big bucks to camp at the state park. All full. Well, surely, Clear Creek would be the place for us. As we headed to Clear Creek (you have to go through Idaho to get there, but it's actually located in northwestern Utah), we were greeted by this fabulous sign. It was our ninth campground attempt of the day!

Let's talk about primitive camping. I used to do it all the time. However, since being married to Mr. K, I've sort of given up my backpacking days and have been spoiled by such luxuries as picnic tables, fire pits/grills, and outhouses with actual toilet seats. We were out of options after trying nine different campgrounds, so we found this spot and called it "home" for the evening. I'm not fond of pictures of myself, but this is the real me, cooking dinner out of the back of our car. I may have mentioned this previously, but that green Coleman cooler and the red Coleman water jug were purchased by my parents back in the 1970's. With five sisters, I'm not sure how I was lucky enough to end up with them, but they still work really great and keep all of our stuff nice and cold. Unless they give up the ghost, we will never replace them! We slept right next to Clear Creek which was really quite thunderous due to all the water melting down out of the mountains. The trees and wild flowers were lovely. The temperatures were mild. We loved it. AND...we found our way into the closed campground discovering the bathrooms were unlocked. Not quite so "primitive" after all--hallelujah!

Soooo....they weren't kidding when they posted a sign saying the campground is flooded. It doesn't look like it's going to stop flooding anytime soon. We've been here and walked here before. Tricky. This is the power of water, people. They don't even charge a fee to let you stay in this campground. I wonder how the Forest Service will budget for these repairs. After all, this is the actual road that you're supposed to drive on as you go through the campground. Somebody has a big job ahead of them. We wonder if they will even open the campground at all this whole year.

We re-visited City of Rocks National Reserve and specifically checked out Register Rock. This site is along the California Trail and I guess the Pioneers sat up and paid attention to the landscape, calling it romantic even, after miles of Nebraska and Wyoming in the rear-view mirror. Folks wrote their names in axle grease a hundred and sixty years ago and we can still read them today. After looking at several signatures and hiking all the way around Register Rock, we looked up and admired the swallows' nests. I believe they mix mud with their saliva to build these nests. Talk about the ol' pioneer spirit and ingenuity! Everyone seems to find a way to eek out their living.

We passed through the small hamlet of Grouse Creek, Utah. They have a sweet looking school there with a nice green lawn. The little dog seemed pretty content. Then I noticed the sign next to the little dog. Made me smile.

We visited a geological wonder called Devil's Playground. The rocks have these cool seams and interesting rock patterns that stick out in random places. K had been here once before (while I was in Boston). I always wish I could bring my students to such places so I could say, "THIS, my friends, is:!"

My bushwhacking hubby. When we hike a trail, I usually go first and set the pace. When we're casually exploring new terrain, K scouts ahead to survey the area. J sort of follows in that general direction waiting for tips such as, "There's a sandy wash over there which keeps you from getting stickers in your socks."

As we were jouncing along with appreciation for our 4-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle on some dirt track somewhere in the neighborhood of Devil's Playground, K asked, "Do you have your camera handy? I just need one more picture of those crazy rocks."

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