Covid lockdown is past us. We are a travel blog so why are we at home?
Couple reasons. I don’t like to share my private life on the blog, but I do feel an explanation is necessary so you understand why we aren’t back out there. My HOA claims it is illegal for me to live in the casita and required me to bring in a travel trailer. So I purchased an older “vintage” 17 footer and it now occupies the space under the kool cover, east side, in front of the casita. The numerous windows in the trailer give me a beautiful view of the mountains and I can enjoy our glorious sunsets without even going outside if I don’t want to. I now also have a nice large covered area to enjoy when it isn’t too hot; the kool cover provides shade but it also tends to hold in the heat. I still have room to park the vehicles in the shade, and The Chiweenie Brothers have shade to lounge around in, too. The downside is the casita is now storage and the lovely patio I built out the back sits unused.
As some of you know, my youngest son has been having some major health problems that have been going on for a few years, but now his gastroentologist thinks he may have had a heart attack. We are waiting for him to be able to see a cardiologist, and I don’t want to be any farther away than we are now. By being home I at least know how long it takes me to get back to him, where all the fuel stops are, and where we can stop for the night along the way if need be.
I have two or three closer to home mini trips in mind, but a phone signal and monsoon or lack thereof dictate whether we will take those or not. One is already off the table due to wildfires burning. UPDATE … Since beginning to write the draft of this post we had, at one point, 23 wildfires burning. I believe at this writing it is down to 20, but things change fast and just this morning State Trust Land in Arizona, along with five of our six National Forests have been closed to camping. The fire danger is just too bad to take the risk. I applaud our state for doing this. Five national forests closed due to wildfires across Arizona | 12news.comPLEASE DO NOT COME TO ARIZONA TO CAMP THIS SUMMER. THE CHOICE, COOLER, HIGHER ELEVATION AREAS ARE CLOSED. OTHERS THAT ARE NOT UP IN THE HIGHER AREAS ARE DESERT … no one in their right mind camps on the desert floor this time of year.
We will stay close to home, and in the meantime I continue to work on our new outdoor living space, known as an Arizona Room, underneath the Kool Cover alongside my permanently parked travel trailer. I have moved outdoor furniture here and set up an outdoor kitchen. This change has not been all that bad for the most part.
I do love this new space but mourn the loss of my time intensive and fairly expensive patio behind the casita. I also cannot see the White River of quartz hauled boxful by boxful from an old dump of mining quartz about five miles away that was put in along the fence line and the red yucca, Texas sage, and cacti I planted in that backyard space. I do get to see it when I head to the laundry shed—oh goody. I may move the patio pavers at some point, but that’s a LOT of work and energy is low to repeat that job, but it’s a thought. No hurry with any of that.
Prayers and good thoughts for my son would be greatly appreciated and some good thoughts that we may get away for a few short trips this summer would be nice, but if that doesn’t happen, there’s plenty to keep me busy around here. It is what it is, and will be what it will be; We will adjust our course as needed. The main thing is that my son get healthy and he doesn’t end up with even more health issues to deal with. This good man deserves a break!!
The Chiweenie Brothers relax under the cooler during our most recent excessive heat warning, anything above 110. I know they would enjoy some time away from home, too.
October 13 to October 16 . 2020 for most of us has been the year we’d like to forget. Covid, lockdowns, closures, and stay-at-home orders re-invented a lot of lives. Arizona, our new home base, experienced the hottest summer ever and broke many records. Right here in our little piece of this beautiful state saw almost a week of 120 degree plus temps; the rest were 110 plus. Oi vey.
Not being able to enter New Mexico to finish up our state parks pass and having some new plantings in the yard to keep alive we decided to just stay put. Until recently that is. The weather up until mid-October has stayed hotter than usual, but the higher elevations are beginning to cool down and plans were made with previous Interesting Person, Sylvia, to camp for a couple of days near Prescostt AZ.
White Spar is a medium-use USDA Forest Service campground and I have never not found a spot, but I didn’t take into account it is still 2020. The plan was to meet at White Spar. My Camping Buddy tells me she is leaving around 4:30 a.m. to beat the morning commute in Phoenix and will wait in the parking lot of the trail head and read and/or walk the campground while waiting for me. I rise early, too, but do not drive anymore before the landscape can be seen and tell her I will be leaving about 10 and see her about noon.
Feeling guilty (a bad habit of mine) that she will be waiting all that time cooling her heels I buy ice, load the groceries, and get the last minute things loaded up the night before and the Chiweenie Brothers and I are ready to roll at first light. I enjoy the two hour drive, and the boys are excited to be on the road. We’re in the Honda CRV instead of the van, trying out car camping, and they have a bird’s eye view of the road ahead as the mattress from the van just fits in the back of the Honda and brings them up high enough to see out the windshield. Happy little chiweenies!
The air gets cooler as we climb past Yarnell. Once we begin the second half of the climb, about 10 miles worth, the road is two-lane, narrow, and takes all my attention, but it’s a slow enough go to enjoy the cool morning air through the open driver’s window. Lovin’ it!!
I make note of the entrance to Wolf Creek Campground as we pass and cringe. It appears to have had a LOT of traffic recently; it’s fine powdered dust indicating a lot of use. That could be a backup if needed, but I surely do not want that dust sifting up under my back window that no longer closes all the way. A couple miles up the road we come to White Spar.
I park at the trail head—day use only—and leash up The Boys so they can relieve themselves then we walk the parking lot looking for Sylvia. She is not parked here. We walk it again to make sure; I don’t see her silver SUV.
Climbing back in the car we drive up into the campground. I have never seen it so full! We make a circuit looking for her SUV. She is not in any of the camp sites either, but maybe I just missed her. We drive around again. There are a couple of empty sites, none with level ground, and a few with only one day available. Hope nothing has happened to her.
Energy ebbing, as is normal these days after doing practically nothing, and thinking she must have had car trouble or something else happen I sign in and pay for one night and text her number. While waiting for an answer I pull out my chair, the sun oven to heat up some lunch, and get the Chiweenie Brothers staked out. No sense fiddling with the new camping items just for one night. No tent either (YEAH!!) as we will be sleeping in the car. Just a couple of adjustments to the mattress after my mad dash to Cali last spring to say goodbye to my sis and my sleeping set up is a cloud to sleep on.
I hear from Slyvia after texting to ask where she is and she wants to know who is texting her! WHAT??? She doesn’t recognize the phone number? I tell her who I am. She says she doesn’t have my new number and has been using the old number. I remind her that I gave her the new number and it’s in a previous text, just look up at our old messages from a couple days ago.
She now tells me that she drove to Williams. She wants me to drive to Williams. I have already paid for my site for one night and tell her no. Long story short, I suggest she meet me back here at White Spar in the morning if she doesn’t want to stay in Williams and we will go from here. She arrives bright and early and I am shocked at how frail she looks. She is pretty much shuffling, too, and that is concerning, but she wants to camp. I keep my concerns to myself.
Mingus Mountain is where we will meet and perhaps find a boondocking site as I know of several people who spend their summers there. High elevation, cooler air, lots of pine trees. My Camping Buddy wants me to lead the way. I punch the name into my GPS and off we go. I have my GPS set for best route and it takes us through some beautiful old homes on the outskirts of Prescott. Nice not to deal with a lot of traffic, but I come to a yellow light. Too close to slam on the brakes for fear of throwing the dogs into the front seat I buzz through the yellow and lose Sylvia in the process. She is behind a couple of cars and she hasn’t moved over into the left lane. I slow down as much as I dare, but she doesn’t see my left turn signal or can’t see it. I stay to the left on 89A (alternate) per GPS instructions. The Boys and I wait in the first spot big enough to pull over and park, but still no Sylvia. Onward. She is getting water is the next text. We talked about this, but guess she doesn’t trust me to find a store with water. 😉
A quick stop at Watson Lake overlook to take a couple of photos and let the dogs out for a leg raising, hoping she will catch up. Still no camp mate.
I find another spot past a roundabout and pull off, texting her to stay on 89A and take the second exit within the roundabout in order to stay on 89A.We are just past the roundabout. She texts that she is on Such-and-Such Road. It wasn’t 89A. I can wait no longer parked in the sun, and I text her that the roundabout I described and 89A (alternate) is the best I can do for directions, and I will meet her on Mingus Mountain. I don’t worry because I know she has been to Jerome so should be able to find it.
Somehow she pulls up just minutes from my arrival at the summit! I knew she could find it. The road to the boondocking sites is covered in the same fine dust as the road that went into Wolf Creek. People are camped everywhere it seems and who can blame them. Even home bodies need new scenery at times!! I explain my reluctance about those powdery dusty roads and it sifting into my back hatch and she mentions Cottonwood. Cottonwood is located down in the desert and I know there is no shade from what other people who have camped there have said, but she thinks it’s the only place we can get information so–OKAY! Head to Cottonwood!
The road down into the valley is another one of those two-lane, side-winder type roads of steep descent. I put the Honda in 2nd gear and crawl down the tarmac behind my Camp Buddy along with dozens of other vehicles of all types (I can smell the heated brakes of a pickup hauling a large travel trailer) the 12 miles or so it is to Jerome—can’t wait to see this town on the way back—and then on down into the little spot in the road, the name escapes me, between Jerome and Cottonwood.
Sylvia gets her info from the gas station where she pulls in and treats herself to an ice cream sandwich. I assure her I do not want one. With tongue in cheek I ask about shade in the Verde Valley of which there is none. I know this because I know people who have camped there and it’s okay for the winter months, but desert is desert. I think she just had boondocking on her mind and not as cold at night, but I can’t do without shade. After a brief rest, we head back up to Jerome and although the town is packed with the hoards needing to get out of their homes just as we want to do, we find a few places here and there to park to grab some photos. This little berg is literally perched on the hillside and Old Town Jerome would be a wonderful place to spend time some day. No Old Town photos, but did get a couple of the old copper pit and another section of the lower part.
Once back on top of Mingus Mountain we are fortunate to get sites at the Potato Patch Campground. Paying for two nights we settle into our respective spots. I have purchased a couple of new camping items and am eager to try them out. The dogs run line is put up and they are leashed to it, and I set out to put up the pop-up (sets up in 60 seconds!!) screen room. About ten minutes into it I am muttering to myself and spewing out a few expletives. Sixty seconds my ***** is just one of them. It doesn’t help that the instruction tag attached to this thing isn’t in English, but I do eventually look closer at the pictures. Oh. I have the dang thing upside down. Well shoot. Now to get it turned over (it is 10′ by 15′) without ruining the screening. I am here to tell you it CAN be done, but wasn’t easy. LOL. I then struggle with trying to figure out how the legs extend, but it is just a bit easier than figuring out it was upside down. I am too tired to be doing this, but I carry on. Eventually it is up, a bit dirty, but still intact and I get it over the cement table.
The new hammock has to be a lot easier than the screen room to put up, but I am whacked. My energy these days doesn’t last long, and as much as I am looking forward to a long lounge in that hammock it is going to have to wait until either later this evening or tomorrow. The dogs still need a walk. It is a short one, but it’s all I can do. We pass this relic and grab a shot of the old-time version of a camp table according to our government. How cool is this? I am thrilled something like this has survived.
Back at camp and not having proper extended walks for most of the summer due to excessive heat, I forgot how much energy the Chiweenie Brothers have pent up in those poor little bodies. While they do really really well with the bicycles cruising by and haven’t even barked at the little kids with their scooters whizzing by on the downhill road going by the campsite, The Boys go berserk when someone walks by with their dog; and there are a lot of dogs in the campground. I get beyond frustrated with them.
It is not only annoying, but disturbs the peacefulness and the relaxation I am looking for as I am sure the rest of those in the campground are also looking for. I do the best I can with keeping them quiet, but add in those who don’t have dogs, or don’t know dogs and walk up to them with their hands out toward them wanting to say hi . . . They mean well, but haven’t a clue. The Chiweenie Brothers are the best watch dogs ever, but like many they do not want to be reached for or touched by a stranger and especially not on their territory. This spot is their home and they act accordingly. I hate to do it, but out of frustration put their muzzles on. All three of us hate it! Much of the trip was already history before I resorted to this so they weren’t in them very long.
A group heads out for a hike
After the first night…Which is cool, but not as blessedly cool as White Spar had been…my Camp Buddy says she fell over the guy line on her tent and tells me she may have broken a bone alongside or under, I can’t remember which, her humerus but shows me her knee. She is nauseous, too, and asks if I will help her take down her camp. Of course, but I mention that I wish she had asked me earlier. She gives me an odd little smile. It’s later in the afternoon, but I begin taking down her tent which solidifies my reason for not using a tent of my own (UGH!! Hate ’em!!)), and after removing the contents which includes a box of books, two large tables and several side tables along with her bed which she will sleep on outside tonight, and various other things, she tells me where to put things in her vehicle; at least those that can go in now. Some have to wait until morning. And then the undelivered texts come through! Jeez. Ah, well, it is what it is.
In the morning there’s the rest of her stuff to pack. Another table, very heavy and the other folding tables that couldn’t be put in her vehicle yesterday, her bedding, many blankets, water, shovel, rake, ect. I finish getting her packed up and she is eventually ready to head out claiming she is okay as long as she is seated, and she heads for Phoenix.
I need to finish packing up my own camp and thankfully it doesn’t take long; there isn’t much as I took down the screen room and packed the camp stove, kitchen stuff, and food after packing most of Sylvia’s camp yesterday. That done, I heave a sigh of relief, get the dogs loaded, then plug Yarnell into my GPS heading out to 89A and then along a different route that branches off, seeing some new country.
New boondocking sites are noted along this road (Williamson) along with some granite dells, and just before dropping down into Skull Valley I spot smoke laying over the valley! OH NO!! Not another fire!!! As with California, Oregon, and Washington Arizona has had many wildfires this year. Human caused.
We gas up just north of Congress. I contemplate spending a night off Ghost Town Road in Congress, but it is too warm down here. I have stayed there before in years past and was fortunate to find a shade tree, but that can’t be guaranteed and I am too tired to deal so on we go. We head on through the desert taking Hwy 71 to 60 then catching I-10 and arrive home a bit before noon.
It’s very warm, supposedly the last day of the high 90s, and the casita needs cooling down, but the first order of business is getting The Boys into the back yard, then getting the cooler going. Energy expended from a nice-but-not-as-relaxing-as-expected camping trip deems unloading the car will have to wait.
I lie on my comfy bed under the cooler, the boys running in and out of the back door of our one room oasis checking their backyard for intruders. It feels good to be horizonal, the cool air flowing over me and getting my room down to a decent temperature. Before falling asleep I think about the next trip the Chiweenie Brothers and I will take. It is so much fun to plan, and there are lots of places in Arizona to explore now that the weather will cooling off soon and before the next wave of Covid potentially keeps us in lockdown again.
My last thought before drifting off for an hour’s nap is that surely November will bring the temps down into the 80s. The first week of October continued to break records with highs in the triple digits, and since then high to mid-90s has ruled. The weatherman tells us we are heading into lower temps and should get some wonderful relief next week, but I am not counting my chickens. Playing it by ear. Keeping from hoping too hard. This is, after all, the year 2020!
CURRENT and PREVIOUS READS: The Institute, Stephen King, The Outsider, Stephen King, Room 15, Charles Harris.
Potato Patch Campground. Forest Service. Electric sites in the first loop closest to the camp host is $18 per night, regular sites in lower loop, $14 per night half price with senior passes. Vault toilets, water, tables, firepits. Hiking trails of various lengths.
The steady climb up Hwy 126 takes us up to over 7000 feet so it’s nice and cool compared to the valley below. The Chiweenie Brothers, heads out the window, give our new temporary home the once over.
I back in, then begin getting The Boys’ cabled run set up. I like them to have as much freedom as possible and the 25ft coated cable allows them some wandering room while still being in compliance with the ‘dogs must be leashed rule’. Once the cable is looped around two trees and secured I get the two wiggle worms on their leashes and the leashes attached to the cable. I begin setting up camp.
This camp ground consists of a small loop that contains 15 or so campsites. There is a vault toilet and water. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and paved parking. We get lucky 13, a nice shaded site in the afternoon.
The water pump also serves as a good upper body workout device!
The campground loop itself serves well as a good cardio walk as it is not level, but there is also a trail that goes back into the forest. Wildflowers are abloom, too.
The view out our backdoors
The Boys spend time digging for squirrels and chasing lizards,
and these cute little golden mantle squirrels abound!
We thoroughly enjoy our almost two weeks here in the mountains near Cuba NM.
Last night’s temps in Farmington NM made it all the way down to 70. A hot and sticky night. We’re outta here!
Still heading east we get very close to the beautiful little town of Aztec again. If I had known at this point that my photos of the Aztec Ruins were gone forever I would have gone back and taken the tour again. But I didn’t know, and we continue on oblivious to what we are letting go.
At Bloomfield we catch Hwy 550 heading south. It’s a long, hot drive. I don’t run the air conditioner in the van. Sounds stupid, I know, but it seems to make the oppressive heat even worse when we stop so I keep it off.
There isn’t much out along this piece of New Mexico, but there are gas stations and a few tiny towns. The Chaco Canyon and more ruins are along this stretch of highway, BUT, as much as I would like to take that in I am not wanting to bump along 20 miles of washboard dirt road to get there in this heat. Another time—in the dead of winter—would be good time to see it.
550 goes from blah flat desert with nothing but greasewood to these interesting sandstone bluffs and rock formations. What starts out as a boring, hot drive, turns into an interesting hot drive. It actually goes back and forth between the two landscapes.
We eventually make it to Cuba. Not THAT Cuba. Cuba, New Mexico, a tiny little town with all the basics: Family Dollar, gas stations, a grocer, laundromat, AND a small library. I get the chores done.
A search on freecampsites.net yields a review of Hwy 126 to Fenton Lake State Park, the place we are looking for. It’s a shortcut that takes 70 miles off the trip to the park. The reviewer says the last six miles are rugged. Slow and steady would make six miles okay, but I also ask the tattooed, earring wearing clerk at Family Dollar about this Hwy 126. Is it good road? “Sure is, as far I know. Good road all the way, but it climbs and is a twisty turny mountain road,” he says. We can deal with that!!
Supplied up, things on ice, and plenty of gas in MissAdventure we head back to the beginning of Hwy 126. That clerk wasn’t kidding. The road begins to climb almost immediately and we are soon twisting and turning our way into heavy timber. The air is getting cooler. Oh my, I love this!!
About 18 miles in, and this is just a guess, we come to the dirt part of the road. There is a sign that says ’26 miles of dirt road, not maintained’. WHAT??? That reviewer on freecampsites must have made a typo, or was being a smart alec. Six miles is one thing, 26 is another. Ain’t happening.
I get the van turned around just in time to get out of the way of a small white car barreling down the dirt road enveloped in a cloud of dust. Some days I am just so happy with the decisions I make, and I pat myself on the back to just saying NO to this road.
We explore a few of the roads leading back into the National Forest where we could easily boondock, but nothing appeals to me. I am tired from the drive in the heat along Hwy 550. I remember a Forest Service campground back a ways, and I decide to check into that.
The Rio De las Vacas campground in the Santa Fe National Forest is $5 per night with senior pass. We pull into a spot that will give us afternoon shade and set up camp. It’s a wonderful 78 degrees here, and here we will stay at least through the weekend.
July 29th continued. Beyond Earthship and past the Rio Grande Bridge we continue along Hwy 64 coming back into the Carson National Forest and into the trees and green meadows again. It’s beautiful here. I get out in several places to photograph the scenery: Old buildings, beautiful green meadows, and the afternoon storm clouds gathering.
It isn’t long before the bruised and angry looking clouds begin dropping, a few fat tears. I begin looking in earnest for a place to stop.
Rounding a corner among the tall pines I spot a Carson National Forest sign for Hopewell Campground. It’s off to the left and I gladly turn onto the road. It’s not far to the campground, and I speak with the host who gives us directions to a shaded site. Turns out it isn’t quite the shady spot I had in mind, and is rather out in the open. Thunder is rolling. I feel too exposed here.
As more thunder rolls I decide to move, and we head around the hard packed dirt road searching for a better camp site. We’re heading around the bend, Boys Not around the bend as in nuts, but maybe that’s true, too, but around the bend in the road. Ha! I find a site I feel much more comfortable with, and we settle in to wait out the storm before making camp. We have this guy watching over us.
We spend a couple of nights here. The days are warm and the nights cool. And the view!! MissAdventure is backed right up to the table, doors thrown wide, and as I look out the back I see a gorgeous green meadow strewn with many different kinds and colors of wildflowers backed by stately pines and aspen trees whose leaves are dancing in the breeze. It is truly breathtaking, the prettiest high mountain meadow I have ever seen.
This forest service campground offering vault toilets, water, tables, fire rings, good dirt road, gorgeous scenery, and peace and quiet is $16 per night, $8 with senior pass.
Sunday, May 19, 2001 we point MissAdventure’s nose north. At 3000 feet it is cool and overcast; a perfect morning to take in the Boyce Thompson State Arboretum off Hwy 60 in Superior AZ. The palo verde trees are at their peak of bloom here and it’s a gorgeous drive.
They allow dogs to go along on the walk, and the boys are beyond excited to tag along. I attach their leads and Fries grabs the leash dashing ahead trying to pull me along.
I pay the $12.50 entrance fee and we begin the mile and half loop, with many side trails to explore, that meanders through the canyon showing off its collection of desert plants and trees. It is spectacular!
A nice surprise as we come down off the trail and back to the beginning, a docent suggests the demonstration garden near the parking lot and exit. A rose garden!!Delightful!
Continuing on we stop at Oak Flat Camp Ground nestled off Hwy 60 in the Tonto National Forest to camp for a couple of days. It is cool here with shade. Not much has changed since we were here two years ago.
Monday is cool, but windy, and we get some rain during the night. Enough moisture to dampen the ground, but being parked under the trees MissAdventure comes out of it looking like a spotted green thing of unknown origin.
This is a free Forest Service campground with tables, fire rings, and vault toilets.
When we leave the Big Pine Fishing Access campground and continue our westward journey on I-90 I keep my eyes open for an improved campground, meaning one with pavement, water, garbage, tables, firepits. We don’t need electricity or sewer so I’m not looking for THAT level of improvement, but we need something out of the mud.
It isn’t long before I spot a sign advertising a forest service campground called Sloway. Sloway is in the Lolo National Forest and it is indeed an improved campground. Being a national agency we will get half off the going rate. Considering the retired, white-haired old lady I have become, that suits me fine!
I pull in, sign us up for a night just to see how it goes before committing to anything longer than one night. We are in campsite 15.
This campground is chockfull of offerings. It has a picnic area, a launching area for canoes, kayaks, and rafts, a horse camp (which has it’s own entrance up the road), a section for large RVs with 7 pull-thru sites, 20 tent/car sites all with tables and fire rings. There are several vault toilets, 2 garbage collection sites, a recycling area, water spigots, and a camp host. $10 per night, half that with senior pass. It’s right off the freeway, but traffic isn’t bothersome. There is also a train that rolls through several times a day/night across the river, but I am either getting used to those sounds or going deaf. Not sure which it is. What’s that, you say? 🙂 Lots of pines for shade.
We end up staying three days total, and you know what? I didn’t take any photos! The old lady is losing it I guess!A
Before we get out of Montana we stay one night in another USFS campground called Cabin City. Much smaller than Sloway in the way of offerings, but has the basics: 2 loops of 12 sites each, tables, firepits, water, garbage, vault toilets. It’s a pretty campground, but not so pretty getting there. We drive past some drop-dead gorgeous homes and then at the turn to get to Cabin City, some pretty darn dumpy places. All is well though, once you are in the campground. We saw a wild turkey sneaking through the undergrowth on one of our walks. As in all of Montana, it’s bear country so keep your food inside your vehicle.
Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna
CURRENT READ: Still reading Colony by Anne Rivers Siddons … Good one!
From Montpelier Canyon Campground we again head north on Hwy 89 and back into Wyoming. At every turn is a scene I simply must photograph.
Or a wildflower calls out not to be forgotten. They are everywhere!
Surely the westward travelers were uplifted and encouraged by the sights of this area when they marched ever onward toward Oregon and California. How sad it would have been to be too downtrodden with exhaustion to enjoy the beauty around them, those who travelled this area when the grass was new and the wildflowers burst forth.
As we get closer to the little town of Afton, and the even tinier town of Smoot, I begin searching for a forest service road somewhere along the highway in the Bridger-Teton National Forest when I spot Dry Creek Road.
The dirt road takes us back into the forest
and with all the rain up north, Dry Creek is anything but Dry. The roaring creek claws at the banks and the roots of the trees and bushes lining its path.
We drive back farther than I like to be without cell service and turn around, heading back to the very first camp site I saw once past the houses on private land. It’s very shaded!
We take long walks and long naps, spending two nights here.
The boys smell something in the air
Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!
CURRENT READ: Sweet Hollow Women by Holly Tierney-Bedord
May 7, 2018. After our one night in Piute Reservoir State Park we once again head north on 89. We need supplies and I don’t feel like searching for a campsite so it’s going to be a Wally night in the town of Richfield, UT
Before settling down in our spot on the macadam at Wally World I find a Lion’s Park and The Chiweenie Brothers and I spend the majority of the day in the shade of some large oaks . I read, the boys enjoy the lush grass on their long leads attached to the stakes I push into the soft carpet of grass.
Next morning, up early, I purchase our supplies, and we move on to a camp off Gooseberry Road that runs alongside I-15 near Salina. It’s a nice, quiet, free camp with about seven or eight spots next to a muddy little river. It has a vault toilet, fire rings, and metal tables. And lots of fox tail weeds. They are green so not much of a problem, but I wouldn’t want to be here when they dry.
After two nights here we move on to a spot in the Manti-La Sal National Forest near Spring City, winding through houses, then farms until we get to the Forest Service road that takes us to the top of the mountain. The road is a little wash boardy and narrow in a few places, but the road ending at a trail head has a vault toilet and several real nice tent camping sites.
This is the hiking trail not the road we came in on!
A couple are coming down off the trail with their golden retriever. The man puts a set of goggles on the dog after he helps him into the back of their pickup; the man explains the dog has allergies.
The Chiweenie Brothers and I hike a ways up the trail, but don’t get too far. I am not sure what the altitude is here, but I get out of breath enough to decide to head back to the van. I decide to take a nap., and it’s not long before I hear a hearty shout. “Hello! Anybody home?” It’s a gentleman who works for the utility company and he’s here to ride his ATV up the trail to check on things.
We chat for a bit, and after talking with him I decide to go back down nearer civilization. The bears are awake he tells me, and they’re hungry; don’t leave food out. He also says a storm is coming in. AND …. as I’ve already found out for myself, there’s no internet up here. I thank him for the info and he loads up his ATV and heads down the mountain. Worried that rain may make the road a snotty mess we head back down, too.
It was a good decision as later that afternoon a storm does indeed blow in and the mountain’s top is wreathed in fog. We are here until Monday as the weather is worse, according to my weather app, the farther north you go. And we have internet down here 🙂 and a lovely little burbling creek to lull us to sleep at night. It’s a wonderful four days in our little camp.
We are up early —- let me rephrase that—- I am up early on Monday and finish the last little bit of stuff that needs doing before we head out. The boys are still snuggled under the covers because it’s kind of nippy this morning. They soon rally forth though, once they realize I am fixing their breakfast.
I take them for a quick walk after they eat and then I climb into the driver’s seat and they clamber up on their front passenger platform and settle in. Off we go.
I make a few stops in town as I had noticed these old homes on the way to our camp and I wanted to take some shots of them before heading to Spanish Fork to pick up the mail and find a boondocking site.
And THIS is the school!!!
Hugs from me and The Chiweenie Brothers. Thanks for stopping by.
After our few days on the Forest Road off of 89A we head on into Flagstaff. The usual routine ensues. Walmart to pick up groceries, water, and ice, and find the local dog park. Flagstaff has THREE. I find the one closest to where we are and the boys get their playtime in. No photos of the little beasts as the park is completely shaded. And besides I am too lazy to go back to the van and get the camera.
Flagstaff is a beautiful town nestled in pine trees. It is surrounded by volcanoes and in most places you can see Arizona’s highest mountain, Humphrey’s Peak, 12,633 feet in height.
After The Chiweenie Brothers are sufficiently tired out we stick around the park and I check out the map then we’re off to Walnut Canyon. We can stay very near the Walnut Canyon Monument and still be within ten miles of town when we need to re-supply.
We find a very nice spot beside an huge old juniper tree.
Charlie, forever on the lookout for lizards even if it means wiggling under the windshield cover in the early morning sun.
The boys enjoy some sunshine outside while waiting for me to get the gear gathered for a walkabout in our second camp within this same boondocking area of the Coconino National Forest on the east side of Flagstaff.
Thanks for stopping by! Hugs, Shawna
CURRENT READ: Turbo Twenty-Three, a Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich