Published: August 14th 2009August 14th 2009
Thursday, August 14, 2009: In Which the Author Gets a Landing Spot for Jennifer’s Arrival
Blog note: I uploaded more Sturgis photos in the “In Which the Author Gets Bighorned” section
I’m currently in Utah, along route 30, staying at Willow Springs Campground in the Bridger National Forest. The terrain is a tad boring, but all 20 spots are taken. The campground sits in at the bottom of a small valley and is surrounded by tall hills on all sides. It’s 10 p.m., and I’m in the tent, Sophie laying beside me totally out, as she’s super relaxed by 2 swims and a long truck ride, from the Bridger-Tetons National Forest, located slightly below SSS Wy., to here, approx. 2 hour from Salt Lake City’s airport.
The campground is managed by a nice and friendly woman, who admitted that she’s in “a strange year,” her being between florist jobs. I paid the $14 dollars for two nights, one for tonight and one for tomorrow when Jennifer arrives. The host said that she’d leave the gate unlocked for me. It was good to finally “stretch out,” which required removal and reorganization of all the stuff in
the back of the truck. I had a good dinner of Trader Joe’s white pasta, and although I spilled half of the cooked noodles into the fire pit, the can of dark kidney beans balanced out the meal perfectly. Sophie is a bit on edge, entering again the world of people (kids, other dogs, etc.), and I can’t say that I blame her…
After arriving at approx. 6 p.m., even though the sun had almost dropped over the mountain for the night, I took Sophie over to the small, but fast, creek that runs along the campsite. We both got into the water, and the prevailing winds, which were sometimes warm and sometimes a bit chilly dried us off nicely. I suffered perhaps the biggest “camping mishap” thus far, in that the environmental “bug dope” that I had stored in the side of the truck’s camper top leaked through the plastic bag and onto one of my two airline pillows (which, haven been stolen pre-911, serve as my sleeping pillows). I washed and rinsed the stuff sack a pillow, and the two covers, but I fear that the smell, which has sufficiently permeated the back of the truck,
is here to stay).
I hit the town of sss at 1:30 this afternoon, after a satisfying swim in last night’s creek. I trekked 10 minutes down to the river, picking up trash as I went. The camera ran out of batteries, which necessitated a run back to the truck (which was fine, as it was “cat hole” time again anyway. (These stories and tips necessitate a totally different entry—patience is the key).
Following Route 89, I passed the towns of Etna (pop. 200), Smoot (pop. 100—they should reconsider the name), and through various adventure travel industries, including the Baker Cabin historic site, the Salt Creek Lodge, the Wolf Den Lodge, and the Johnson Ranch. I dropped off the main road south of Laketown, located at the southern route of Big Bear Lake, and drove down a long, hot, dusty Cache National Forest/County maintained roadway that was listed on the road atlas, but not on Yahoo maps (I’m now looking a day later). I stealthily drove for 40 miles (it took 2.5 hours). I was significantly disappointed to find that the road contained few (only one, by my count) designated campsites, which were exposed and baking,
with no water in site (or on private land). It also contained many, many private ranches, and the road was peppered with bright orange paint on signs stating “no trespassing.” (Ironically, I was listening to a tape of Woody Guthrie at the time; this land is, evidently, “not my land” after all). In researching the “Your Land” National Park book, I realized that I should have stayed on Scenic Route 89, which passed a number of nice spots. Oh well, I had to find a place close enough to the city anyway.
Upon chatting with the campground host, who stated “there’s really not a lot of good camping near Salt Lake City,” so even though the airport is an hour away, we’re only using this spot as a starting point, and we will promptly leave early Saturday morning. I’m letting Jennifer choose as much of what we do (or don’t do), as I’m a bit weary making decisions, having been on the road 3 weeks.
It’s currently Friday afternoon, at 3:45 p.m.; I’m on my way to meet Jennifer at 9:30 or so. I’m in the Huntsville City/County Library, with its stacks and stacks of books,
Dvds, audio recordings, etc. Thank God for libraries and this quiet and cool place to steal electricity! This morning, Sophie woke me up with her (now routine) “bashful” act, wherein she places her long snout up against my head, tail furiously wagging, and rubs her face on me. Then, with a shaking that floats 200 2-inch white hairs into the tents cramped space, she wobbles out the front door of the tent. She’ll poke around a little, then reappear at the tent’s door, where she’ll plop down as I read a book or view maps
Uploaded are a few photos from the morning’s swim (Thursday) and the drive from Alpine Junction National Forest Access Road, plus some Utah’s Willow Springs National Park campground.
As for me, the books are closing for the night, and I'm off to the "big city" to pick Jennifer up. I'll take extensive notes, as always-- I'm not sure what the electricity/internet services will be in the Unita National Forest (just east of Salt Lake City, Utah).
Thanks for reading this short entry!
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