Monday, April 18, 2011

State Park Love

Grass!!!!!!! Though the virgin sprouts were just beginning to peek their heads through the snow and muck we left in Leadville, it is in Utah something fierce!  Actually, it appeared as soon as we dropped 2,000 feet in elevation.  And then, oh heart of my hearts, there were flowers!  “PURPLE!”  I exclaimed madly as we tore west on I-70.  As I glanced right, my darling travel companion didn’t even flinch in his slumber….too many last minute goodbyes.  My eyes drank in the color, and I felt my face turning the same shade.  “Oh gawd, it’s HOT!”  Now he was awake… perky as always.  We’re estimating it was 67 F.

Changed to sandals in the City Market parking lot and ran inside for potties and provisions for the next week and half of exploring the desert and making our way back to Washington.  Air conditioning? Felt great.  With ice for our new cooler, Aleve for those rough mornings, and plenty of goodies to snack on (we may be poor but we certainly won’t tell our stomachs that), it was back on the open road.  I’m shocked to see that gas is as or more expensive than it was in Leadville.  We’re on the flat open road here people!

After a quick assessment of daylight and motivation, it was decided we stop in Green River and camp at the state “park”.  Now, I realize these don’t always hold the glory our National Parks do but after mom and I had such luck in northern po-dunk Nebraska I thought it could be a jewel in the rough.  And really Utah is such a beautiful state, there couldn’t be a bad view.  After asking directions from the Texting Tammys behind the gas station counter and a little coaxing, we found it a mile down the road.  Pulled in well before dark, paid our $16 for a spigot, grass, view of a golf course and RVs, showers, and, my favorite, BIRDS!  Reminiscent of the campgrounds Rocky and I both grew up on, this was a perfect stopping point, I even heard an owl hooting last night!  …Unless it was the same guy who was shining the light in the tree seeking out said “owl”

The robins are intense here, as are the other songbirds who are adamant they will not be out done by their friskier friends.  And one other bird of prey I haven’t experienced in a long time - mosquitoes.  I’ll hold tight to my belief that they’re relatively harmless here as there is no malaria.  So, I offered my arms out for a feast and was thankful for such different climates in such close proximity.

Charged batteries in the bathroom, used water from the tap, and settled in to a comfortable camp nest. 

As I sit here, enjoying the morning in a t-shirt and sandals, eating granola and drinking coffee, I take stock of my surroundings.  The Bulldozers are dozing, someone is definitely mowing over a cow pasture, a truck has been backing up with that BEEP for what seems like hours, children are finding it a true delight to speak in outdoor voices, and car camping really is wondrous.  We have everything we owned piled to the roof and room for a few bags of slightly more than simple food to prepare every night. 

A heron flew over this morning as I was French pressing and everything was quiet for a minute.  Ahhh, wilderness.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hut Hut!

As a last hurrah for work (because we all made it through another seasonal stint and still genuinely like each other) we headed to the Continental Divide cabin, privately owned and rented through the 10th Mtn Division Huts.  I was prepared with water and toilet paper as the public use cabins in Alaska, while amazing, are nothing in amenities compared to these babies.  The circuit boasts 29 back country huts on a "suggested" trail system. 
Schlepping our booze and solid food in the kiddie sleds.  At least 50 lbs each.
  We single track skied in and was sticky going up, but all I could think about was the icy ski back in the didn't disappoint.  Being as this was my third time on x-country skis, in at least a decade, I'm pretty sure the group got a few good laughs.

This cabin, being about a mile ski in, is stocked to the max with TP, dishes, dish SOAP, clean bed sheets, and is fully powered on sloar and propane with a grill at the ready.  Heaven.  Walked in the door and was reaffirmed that this is the type of living I need to do.  Super clean outhouse, water pump for the sink and stove featured in the middle of the common room to heat and cook on.  Simply perfect.  If your biggest concern is a dead marmot in the cistern, life is pretty sweet.

 There was sun! SUN!  Not the bone shattering breeze made tolerable by some UV rays, but actual take your boots off warmth!  Ty said everyone looks like matchsticks in the spring, red faced and glowing white body.  This held true and forgoing the sunscreen, my happily pink flesh will be peeling in a few days.

People packed their various stringed instruments in and we had ourselves a little jam session.  The only song they actually made it all the way through was Wagon Wheel but hey, at least we all knew the words in our post-feast  comas.  John cooked up a serious buffet of bacon-wrapped, feta stuffed figs, grass-fed ribeye steaks, salad, and grilled veggies.

Andy, Jason, and Monty picking their little hearts out

Breakfast left something to be desired.  After a delicious Irish Coffee and Bloody Mary's all around, folks got distracted and we vulcanized our meal.
That what you get for cooking casually on wood I guess... but we sure did eat it.  
It's a sad day when the bacon actually melts to the baking sheet.

Defeat in the crust!  Rotten snow took on a new meaning for me and I tossed the skis the last 10 yards or so...and promptly post holed to my hip.  Looking forward to the desert in a few days.
After biting it HARD 3 times, I conceded for the final downhill.