6” inches of fresh powder! Hi ho! Hi ho, it’s off to the hills we go! Fresh Powder!! Yes, I said it twice! @brundagemtnresort
Summer starts June 21st and ends September 22, right? Why do I think summer is over when school begins? It must be a hold over from my childhood. There’s still 6 weeks of SUMMER before fall begins, then I pray for and relish Indian Summer, and hopefully 6 more weeks of warm evenings, sun bright days, flip-flops, and my fishing waders.
You may have noticed that Wanderingkeri has been relatively unreachable this month … yep! Fish camp and the Solar Eclipse have put August in my record book.
Fish Camp 2017 started on the 6th and we found the rivers running higher than expected, fishing much slower than expected, but friends and adventure always much better than expected. We had the primo camp space, right on the river … a lot fewer mosquitoes than anywhere else and off the beaten track with less drive-bys searching for that weekend space. We met some folks from Utah the first night as we were enjoying our evening campfire. They’d pulled in to camp for 14 days to procure places to view the solar eclipse. When we left we bequeathed them our camp spot because though they had a green grassy meadow it swarmed with blood-sucking, flying insects which were deterred not in the least by the thick smoke from forest fires throughout the area.
Half our group headed on up to Challis Idaho for the Braun Brothers Reunion music festival, but Sweetie, Jill, and I stayed to fish a few more days, I’m not really an audiophile. Greg and I did take a day driving back into Mackay Idaho for more water and to do the empty the dump stuff. It’s a beautiful little town with a big mining history, ghost towns, and the burger place we stopped at had killer-good shakes and I’ll vouch for their fish and chips.
With an adios to Jill we headed north stopping at Wally’s Cafe in Salmon for a bite … our waitress was more than excited to share with us she had served Kevin Costner lunch and that he had autographed the wall in the booth. We didn’t check out the autograph, but I did order pork chinese noodles with egg … I probably wouldn’t choose it again, but Greg’s burger looked juicy good.
Onward to Hamilton, we passed fire camps everywhere as we traveled over what’s called the Lost Trail Pass. We were thinking we might fish the East Fork of the Bitterroot river, but instead did a drive-by visit in Hamilton to say hi to our friends Klein & Dawn Houston. Our mouths were gaping in amazement at their talents … Dawn makes breathtaking quilts and Klein makes and plays wooden Indian flutes. They were preparing to exhibit in the Ravalli County fair. I’ll also have to have them give me gardening pointers as their’s was bursting with fruits & veggies …
Off we went, waving another farewell and headed north to Florence … JW was Greg’s Hotshot supervisor and together there were a lot of oh my! stories. JW & Donna have this wonderful place with views that go on and on above Florence on the bluff , we had a great time, and Mala made some new friends. Donna also makes spectacular quilts! She and Dawn have rattled me, I’m feeling like I should get my own quilt project out and finish it. (well, maybe when the leaves have fallen and the snow flies!)
We pit-stopped at the junction of highway 12 and 93 where we ran into another fire friend James Stone who was working the fire information booth. In the middle of our chat he mentioned they were getting ready to shutdown highway 12 … I’m not even certain we said goodbye or thank you before we bolted from the store, revved the engine and blasted through the intersection hoping we wouldn’t have to drive the long way home through Missoula. Whew! Since we weren’t stopping on the road over the pass they let us through … on the way over we didn’t see any smoke or fire, only a single helicopter drafting from a small pond. (“Thanks Jim”)
Driving over Lolo Pass we followed the sad path the Nez Perce took over the Bitterroot Mountains on their journey to escape the US government and my heart ached as I remembered their trail of anguish. Later we stopped along the Lochsa River staying in a an almost deserted campground, but each space was reserved for, guess what?, the total eclipse.
The evening fishing was on the Lochsa in the Clearwater National Forest. Greg had the fish karma, I had only fish dreams.
FYI the roads throughout Idaho are empty (check IDOT cameras) and the grocery stores shelves are full … when are the hordes supposed to appear?
We’re Baaaack! If you were wondering whether I had truly packed too much into our southern Utah/northern Arizona red rock road trip … the answer is Nope! I surprised myself that the sack was just big enough and not too full. It is possible to smorgasbord a little bit here and a little bit there and taste some of the wonders of my favorite part of the world … whetting the appetite for more, and more, and more. Of course, the more and more is for another adventure. It always comes down to too little time and soooo much to do, see, learn & experience.
So, after planning, mapping, and anticipating this 8 day adventure (not counting the going there and getting home days) I can recommend this Itinerary with the caveat that in my experience, going to a National Park after Memorial Day is only for the strong of heart and crowd loving. That said, even two weeks before the official start of the summer travel season the National Parks, camp sites, view points, restaurants, and highways were FILLED. It was a shocker to my system.
We officially started our road trip from American Fork Utah when we met up with the cousins from PA , driving their rented from Salt Lake City RV America motor home. On to Moab, Utah where we arrived to find EVERY campground full, every side track FULL, and finally found an unpopulated gravel pit 10-12 miles down SR 313 toward Dead Horse Point, off of a side road. I’m not kidding, any area that would accommodate a tent, a car, a trailer or RV was taken. So beware.
Arches National Park, by 9 am was almost bumper to bumper to the Delicate Arch parking lot. The hike to the arch is worth the effort. Honestly! In the evening Dead Horse Point, showed off the river and canyons with joy. Albeit with cold wind and gray clouds making us hurry more than usual. I was murmuring outloud that I wished the sun would come out and put the canyon walls on display. Someone took ‘offense’ at my remarks, saying something like This is Beautiful … what more could you want? If you’ve never seen a golden sunset on red rock walls and reflecting from the ribbon of river wound through the country below … well, you can want more than flat light.
Island in the Sky never fails to inspire the heart and soul and the walk along the rim shows wonders yet to explore (next time). Then off to Bluff, Utah … pioneer history, Hovenweep … ancient history, Butler Wash … even more ancient history, then Monument Valley … John Wayne history (think Nathan Biddles in the 1949 movie, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon), and onto the southern route to the Grand Canyon.
We turned onto a Kaibab National Forest road about 8 miles from the south entrance and found a grand camping site. Then the wind and rains came.
Here were are, in ski hats and winter coats (we could have been at fall elk camp it was so cold). In fact, the next morning traveling toward the gate at the south entrance to the park there was SNOW on the ground. Not just a skiff, but large patches. And I was into layers of jackets and a coat to stay warm.
What can I say about the Grand Canyon that isn’t a cliche? It’s is an experience everyone should aspire to behold. Photographs, paintings, watercolors, mixed media interpretations just can’t open the heart to its immensity and timelessness.
Packing up that afternoon we were again on the road through Cameron AZ toward the Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument where we arrived too late for a camp spot at the Stateline campground near the Wire Pass Trailhead … so morning found us waking up in the trail head parking lot, along with several others.
The hike into Wire Pass and a right turn into Buckskin Gulch slot canyon(s) is always a wonderland of experiences … and this one was no exception. The usual drop over the rock at the mouth of the first slot was made much harder from last fall’s rainstorms which washed out the landing area … the drop was far greater than the last visit. Getting back up was accomplished only because we arrived at the same time folks were starting the drop. A big push from below, a huge tug from above … no skinned knees, but it was a blessing ‘fer shur’.
The last stage of the trip, a night in Kanab, dinner at Houston’s Trails End, and some sand scraping before the final day at Zion National Park. Description? ZOO, it was a ZOO! There were so many people and cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, RVs, bicycles and hikers that I went into sensory overload. We hit the road north early and stayed the night camped at my mom’s in Orem, which was a smile on my heart.
Last night of the trip found us in Salt Lake City, at the Little America Motor Lodge … ah, a long hot shower, dinner with some of the Utah fam and Sunday morning to sit in the historic Tabernacle at Temple Square and listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (for FREE)! Wonderful.
I slept most of the way home to Boise. So, chalk up another 2100 plus mile road trip that’d I’d take again in a heart beat and stick around a few areas a while longer … that stick around a while longer is already added to “The List”.
I’m still wearing a jacket going outside … it’s supposed to be spring, isn’t it? It’s rained so much in Boise I haven’t gotten my peas in the ground, and I’ve given up on the whole lettuce thing. I haven’t pruned my grape vines and they are running amok already, just like the blackberry bush. I guess you could say I’m being a lazy gardener … or rather, I’m a blue sky gardener just like I’m a blue sky skier. Then I remember my grade school rhymes: April showers bring May flowers. There must be a reason it’s in a rhyme, rain in spring isn’t a punishment, it’s anticipation of reward later. Patience Keri patience.
With no patience, I am going into avoidance mode … no gardens, lawns, or dirty windows and so I’m tweaking the little campbox on wheels. The designers of the campbox table didn’t really think it through very well. When you decide the mitigation to a lousy design is to add a tie down strap over the table to keep it from falling over don’t you think someone would say, let’s not put that idea into production? Well, someone didn’t make that decision … duh. First there is a 1 inch gap between the table and the wall, and the table wobbles on 2 aluminum pipe legs. When you place a plate on the table, or lean on it, it tips your food onto your lap. So last week Sweetie & I took on the table stability issue, building a frame that is screwed onto the floor plate, and is built with a lip the table sits on.
A bit of formica, a couple of screws, a few pieces of industrial strength hook tape and the table doesn’t wobble like a Weeble. Score One for us!
Always one for a party, daughter #2 and I did a down and dirty trip to Utah for Girl’s Night at the Community Theater with the mom, the sisters, Aunts and cousins … and blasted back the following morning. We did take a quick side trip off of exit 182 on I-84 to oooh and aaaahh over Shoshone Falls on the Snake River. With snow pack melt and lots of rain the falls were booming. It was worth the detour.
Tomorrow I’m hitching up and heading south to Boise for final preparation for the 10# in a 1# sack trip to southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Shopping for, preparing & freezing dinners for those easy to thaw, heat & eat at the end of exploration day meals. Wouldn’t you like to come back to Creamy Chicken Enchiladas? How about Red Rice & Beans? Of course, one night will be grilled steak … you can’t camp if you don’t have great steak at least once while you’re on the road. Or at least, I can’t.
Just catchin’ ya up on Wanderingkeri … May is already booked out and you CANNOT imagine how EXCITED I am to connect with friends and family from all over the country. Idaho, Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, & PA … and it’s ONLY MAY!!
Well, aren’t I glad I didn’t stay home yesterday and work in the yard when the weather was beautiful and the sun was shining because today it is gray and rainy and my yard chores will not be done, and the lawn won’t be mowed, nor the garden beds roto-tilled.
I guess it’ll be time in the greenhouse adjusting watering for the survivor plantlings and I’ll be feeling badly that most of my greenlings are dead. That’s right. Dead. Dead. Dead. I gave them their first fertilization, mixed it too strong, and now … sad, withered, wilted , shriveled, dead or on life support mixed peppers, tomatoes, and basil plants must be interred in the compost bin.
It’s far too late in the season to begin again so I’ll be planting garden center veggies … which if you add in the cost of running the greenhouse, seeds, planting medium, the new mist watering system and buying 5$ plants to grow a veg … well, off the top of my head I’m estimating that each tomato or pepper I harvest this fall will cost me 10-15$ (well, maybe not ‘that’ much). But, hey, I can’t worry about that now, can I?
Because, it’s not the money, or the harvest itself (well, maybe a little), but it is digging in dirt, waging war against weeds, and against the hordes of fruit loving, voracious beaks the crazy bird lady next door entices to the neighborhood, and my horrible assigned pressurized irrigation time (middle of the night). Those things keep my heart pumping and mind focused, but it’s truly the wonder in my spirit when I watch a minuscule seed burst open seeking sunlight,then mature into God’s gift of life … fresh, bountiful food for our table, bounty in the freezer and jars on shelves.
I’m fearful the sight of shriveled, dead plantlings might burn your eyes out, so here’s a photo of The Survivors of the Wanderingkeri 2017 great greenhouse apocalypse …. Chimayo Chili Peppers.
It’s a blue sky day! The sun is finally out after a days and weeks of gray-ny days. Last week I was sitting on the cusp … that place between then and now, but it’s official … ski gear is relegated to the back of the closet. We’re no long on the cusp but headed to daffodils, tulips, and greening of grass … can flip-flops be too far away she asks excitedly.
What a great season its been. I had big plans to ski some of the major resorts, some that I’ve not been to before, but sometimes plans just don’t come together (life happens). However, our local resort Brundage had some killer good snow days, and mucho powder days … however I look at it great days on the mountain.
I was perusing my “Get Off My Butt & Get Something Done” list … yes, that’s the title of my list. As of Sunday afternoon it was about 2 pages long, and there are gaps that need to be filled in. I’m a list person, if only to capture all of the ideas swirling around my brain. Once I have them on paper, well, actually it’s in Evernote … that way I can see it from my phone, my Kindle, and from my laptop whenever I need to add or check off an item and it’s one less sheet of paper stuck to my boot on the floor of the Escape.
At the top of the list today is to “organize my list”, prepare for the Reno & Yosemite trip this weekend, write this blog and take a walk, stretch my legs, breath rain cleared air, and feel the joy in the morning. Time for Sweetie’s buttermilk pancakes and fresh bacon breakfast . (I am sooooo spoiled!)
Check one off today’s list … I took that walk after breakfast … I found what I was seeking. There was joy in the morning and a lightness in my heart as the air wafted with damp earth and springy tops of new grasses (and weeds); the only sound beside my crunchy steps on the gravel was the harmony of trickling, rushing and gurgling water …
Now it’s time to take that smile in my heart and get movin’ on that list! We’re burnin’ daylight!