Category Archives: Planning

No Bears are Out Tonight


Bear River Campground Me & Jill, the Mini Winnie & the Tiny Trailer

Last week, heading southeast to Wyoming to fish with my friend Jill, I started wondering about place names … it started when I noticed the next exit to Rattlesnake Pass. We’ve had a lot of rattlesnake sightings and funerals this summer up at the ranch and we are in hyper-watch mode. I imagined  homesteaders trailing into the desert sagebrush frightening and frightened by enough rattlesnakes that the place became a landmark. You know, turn right across Rattlesnake Pass.

If names reflect the landmarks then what do I think as I pull into the Bear River Campground, which is next to the East Bear River Campground, both of which are right on the Bear River? I’m thinking that I didn’t bring bear spray only my new little Kel Tec 22 pistol with snake shot … then to enhance my awareness of place names there were the bear warnings everywhere in the campground. Do NOT leave any food outside, nor in tents, nor in tent trailers that could attract bears. Do landmark names really reflect the truth? As I set up the Mini Winnie I wondered if it was bear proof?

Forgetting landmark names  and thinking FISH, the first morning out we headed up the Mirror Lake highway past all the private property & no trespassing signs to park in an off highway spot (remember to pick up your parking passes at the Ranger Station). Down to the river through willows and brush and trees. Jill went downstream and I went up.

Day one was eventful … I was sucked into a quicksand/mud bog hole crossing a side water stream to reach a rocky island where I went from mid-calf water to over my knee in a blink … luckily I fell into the bank, desperately holding my fly rod in one hand and some wee grasses with the other,  hoping I didn’t fall all the way in and wash downstream. Slowly I  pulled myself out of the water with a mucky sucking fuoosh as the black goop let go of my foot. All that and I didn’t catch one fish … notta … zippo.

Fire Scar Meadow …

Day two started with a beautiful hike to the East Fork Bear River through an old fire scared meadow down to the river … I caught a few fish, evaded some extremely large bovines and fell in the river (again). Yes, you heard me right … I fell in the river.

Wet wading in t-shirt, shorts, and my trusty old Asolo trekkers with my wading staff floating at my feet I caught a flash of fish out of the corner of my eye. I turned too quickly, not watching my feet placement on the slippery stones nor my wading staff floating between my feet. I turned, the staff didn’t and I went down on my butt, water to my chest and my backpack acting like a balloon on my back. Not good. After I righted myself and found my footing again I stood dripping in the still cold, winter run-off water, holding my legs still so my shorts wouldn’t touch them.

Then, planner that I am I remembered the change of clothes in my pack, just in case, because, let’s face it … I tend to slip on rocks in a rushing river. However, opening my pack it was obvious that it wasn’t waterproof. Everything was wet or wet enough that it wouldn’t have made a difference if I changed or not.

I just started fishing again (further up stream from my debacle) hoping the sun would peep between thunder storm clouds which didn’t happen, but I got a double soaking when the heavy clouds opened up  as we hiked the miles back up to the parking lot.

Evening found us up at Lily Lake, named for the thousands of lily pads that clog about 1/3 of it  and it was a beautiful spot (to lose a lot of flies) … I’ve not fished lakes with a fly rod much. Score: Lily Lake Trees about 10, Fish 1 and Me? Zero.

Bear River off the Mirror Lake Highway, Wyoming

Our last day I headed back up river while Jill packed up her tiny trailer. After catching a few fish and enjoying a sunny morning I headed back to the truck … when I arrived Jill was waiting and watching the river. She worried I had fallen in and drowned myself … she was checking the river to see if I floated passed. Day Three … I did NOT fall in the river. I count that a plus.

If you’re looking for a quiet night and pleasant camping, and aren’t pulling a gargantuan sized trailer the Wyoming side of the Mirror Lake Highway is a nice, peaceful place to stay and it’s away from the heavily packed campgrounds on the west side of the mountains … I highly recommend giving it a try.

Though the fishing could have been better the camping was great, we didn’t get many thunder storms and there was plenty of firewood to be picked up from old slash piles. But, we didn’t press our luck and play no bears are out tonight … we just watched the fire burn to coals and listened to the river’s song.

Next trip, Sweetie and I are heading to Washington state to fish near Mt. Rainier with his daughter & son-in-law where I’m hoping to catch a few more fish and NOT fall in the river.

Until next time friends, tight lines and blue skies.

10 Pounds in a 1 Pound Sack


For more than 30 years Sweetie’s cousins fly from Pennsylvania to Idaho, to fish and hunt. Since I met them I’ve waxed poetic of red rocks, ponderosa and piñon pines, petroglyphs, and pictographs, the spirit and ancientness of southern Utah, and northern Arizona. Almost my FAVORITE place on earth …. so far.  We’ve encouraged, begged, wheedled, teased, and guilted them to come and experience another part of the west … and this year, in fact in 4 weeks, a couple of them are taking us up on our invitation to come face to face with God’s watercolor box.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnticipation! Planning for an extended road trip is always exciting, don’t you think? Sweetie warns me that I always try to put 10 pounds in a 1 pound sack when I’m planning … I admit, I generally do. Though I am getting better … well, at least I’m trying.

This is exactly a road trip … to taste, to feel spirit and solitude, to breathe ancientness so that it plants seeds so deep they will have to come again and again.

We’re packing the Micro Minnie Winnie campbox  that we acquired last fall … it’ll be it’s long distance break in trip. Which reminds me we have to give it a name, maybe on this trip it’ll let us know what it is.  The cousins are renting a Cruise America RV (little) and we’re hitting the highway for this 10 day road trip.


Camp-Box Supreme Everything we need … nothing more, nothing less

In a nutshell: Boise to Salt Lake City where we’ll meet up with the cousins, then down to Moab (Arches & Canyonland National Parks), then Bluff  (Cedar Mesa and Hovenweep National Monument). We’ll drive through Monument Valley (yeah John Wayne and John Ford!) on our way to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. After the enormous expanse of that canyon we’ll head north and walk, hike, climb and work ourselves down through Wire Pass (a coooool small, slot canyon which connects to the longer Buckskin Gulch canyon). We’ll work our way west through Kanab (stopping always at Houston’s Trail’s End for chicken fried steak) then on toward Zion National Park.  To complete the circle we’ll wend our way through small towns Utah to I-15 and head north for an evening and a morning in SLC before sliding home to Boise.

It makes me breathless just thinking about it …  10 pounds in a 1 pound sack? What do you think?


*Links are for your convenience if you want to know more about the places I’m wandering to. I receive no compensation for any links I put in my posts.

On the Road … Hours without Power


Y’all know that I am passionate about being prepared … it started young when my dad taught me to fill my tank at 1/2 full and not wait until it is sucking fumes in case something happens (sometimes I do that). Anyway, my preparation has always focused on  ‘home’ … what happens if that ‘something’ happens when you away, far away from home? Have you ever thought about that?  I hadn’t … until … last week.

Road trip! Our bags packed into the Escape, we tossed in a tiny cooler for some snacks and topped off the gas tank. Hello Kanab.

After a couple of days kickin’ it in the redrocks of Bryce Canyon & hiking Wire Pass we entered phase two of our road trip… Moab, Utah. We headed north up Utah State Highway 89 turning left onto Interstate 70 … totally failing to heed my dad’s advice by rationalizing that we had more than enough fuel to get to Green River where we would stop for lunch and gas up.

The drive from Salina to Green River is a multi-sensory experience (especially if you have an imagination like mine) … over the top and through forested mountains, down into a landscape of white and gray rocks and gravel that I always imagine a SciFi film being made here … maybe a few UFOs on the horizon … with the mesas of the Book Cliffs to the left and further south the lands of the San Rafael Swell glimmering red and gold … it’s an eye full of contradictory color and textures.  If we had more time we may have taken a detour to view the immense walls of ancient petroglyphs in Nine Mile Canyon (outside of Price, Utah).

Stomachs growling and the water and fuel tank running low we exited I-70 into Green River Utah.  The first station we pulled into had no power … no problem, we headed further into the town … still no power. Which meant no fuel & no meal. We had ‘enough’ fuel to get Moab, about 50 miles or so away …  Sweetie & I ate another tangerine, crossed our fingers, and took off.

We reached our destination  with 40 miles left in the fuel left countdown. The traffic was backed up for miles … no electric here either. Traffic lights weren’t working and the police were working hard to get the mobs flowing down the main street. Finally we checked into our houses … still no power …  We went to fuel up, the tank now with the ‘fuel up stupid’ light on.  No power … anywhere.  No lunch … however, the taco truck was doing a booming business, but the 100 plus people in line discouraged us from even attempting to stop there.  As we drove on through the town, every gas station was populated with vehicles patiently waiting for fuel. My hangry meter was reaching critical when we saw folks exiting the grocery store; with full sacks!  Jackpot!

With an emergency generator running the store had power for a few lights, the ATM and the debit/credit cards machines … but, they wouldn’t sell any cold food; deli, frozen pizza, cheese … (we might get sick).  After a brief telephone confab with the rest of our party Greg and I filled the cart with bread, tuna, salad dressing, some lettuce and melons … not forgetting some chips. (and a box of Milk Duds). While we were waiting to check out, the lights came on, the machinery began whirring and there was a collective sigh of relief from the panic’d customers.

With enough food for lunch we stopped to fill our tank before meeting up with our traveling companions to have a bite before we headed to Arches National Park for an evening hike up to Delicate Arch.

Delicate Arch ... after the power came back on

Delicate Arch … after the power came back on

Our hike was beautiful, windy, and over populated … it was also visit your national parks for free week.  All of the cars and people and the vision of  seeing the them clustered around every gas pump and being unable to fill up brought those always ready to spook myself thoughts … what if the power NEVER came back on? What if the store could only take cash or was closed? What if all the fuel in the car (all 19 miles left of it) was all the fuel we had and we were more than 500 miles from home? What if the only food we had was the couple of tangerines and peanut butter pretzel  bites left in the back seat?

I admit, this scenario is not something I’ve every thought of when I thought of being prepared.  But one quick internet search taught me that though I was limited in my thinking, many other people are not … rather than create a list to think about … check out some for yourself.  I googled What to pack as a traveling prepper.  Lots of things came up; some more scary than others.

My big take away from our  far from home, hours without power experience … I’ll be packing a bit more conscientiously when we head out of town on our next road trip.  Come to think of it, some folks would consider our two hour drive from Boise to Council as a road trip …. hummm…


Redrocks to Reality

Island in the Clouds Hike ... Canyonlands National Park

Island in the Sky Hike … Canyonlands National Park

From redrocks to reality. Sigh. My list is waiting, haunting the corners of my psyche, upsetting the balance restored from days in the sun and red rocks of southern Utah.  I had actually forgotten I had a list for a few days … So before we hit the road last week I had a killer long to-do list … I’m sure it mimic’d ones you all made (since it was a Monday morning). Well, of the 27 items on my list … I actually finished one.  The rest of the day I ended up checking items off of my Sweetie’s list.  (Yes, I’m a push-over). However, I must admit, they could/should have been on my list (but then it would have been so long I would have ignored it and marathoned Dr Who) … so, at the end of the day I added them to my list so I could check them off. I admit I love the feeling looking through shining windows and non-dog-foot-printed floors. Check! Check!

Check! Check! 2 more off MY  list before we escaped …  they weren’t onerous ‘chores’, but joyful artistic endeavors. I gave myself a new present … like first quarter Christmas … I setup and turned on my brand-new embroidery sewing machine and pieced a quilt top (for one of my beautiful granddaughters (that would be you BayLa)) while dove-tail tasking … applying oil to these solid maple dough boards Sweetie and I made for his sisters.  (The oil the final touch).

Dough boards? What the heck is a dough board? Well, if you didn’t have a grandma who made bread or rolled pasta,  you mightn’t  know it’s ‘THE’ place to knead bread dough, roll out noodles, make pierogi, or pour creamy polenta to cool (or eat hot).

First set of Dough Boards Finished!

First set of Dough Boards Finished!

Lots of Dough Boards!

Lots of Dough Boards!

How do you use a dough board? Pull it out of the closet, lay it on your counter-top, tip the dough out of the mixing bowl onto the lightly floured board and knead away.  Beside keeping the flour corralled the dough doesn’t stick  like it does on your counter-top.  Love, love ’em.

Guess it’s time to move … the sky is lightening and my mint tea is cold … time to tackle the Boise ‘list’ as compared to the Council ‘list’ …. Yikes! I realized I have two (2) lists!!

Dr Who anyone?


Two Questions … and Plan B?


WHAT IF  I was frozen inside my house by a blizzard with no heat or electricity? WHAT IF the pipes broke and flooded my whole house? WHAT IF I was 20 miles from home when the earthquake hit? WHAT IF? … I almost sat straight up in bed … could I care for myself for more than […]