We finally made it to Moab ! Originally we were supposed to start camp hosting on the 15th of Feb. But with everyone’s schedule in the BLM office they asked us to wait until after Presidents Day and report for training on Feb 19th. So we had 4 days of free time at the camp host site. It was nice to know we didn’t have a “mission” trip any longer. No more rushing to get someplace on time. We sat back and enjoyed the sunshine.
Can I tell you how short-lived the sunshine was ? 1 day and then the snow hit. We had snow for about 4 days, temps in the teens at night and low 30’s during the day.
Thank goodness for the Espar diesel heater-kept us nice and toasty. And I really think the insulation I came up with helped keep the heat in. Our furnace would only go off occasionally during the night and our inside temperature ran about 66.
The weather gods teased us with more sunshine. They made us believe maybe winter was really behind us and we could start getting ready for Spring. No such luck, a little more snow. Not nearly as bad as everyone across the West was getting hit with but highly unusual for this time of year in Moab.
Teased by another few days of sunshine and then the downpour hit. Sideways rains-don’t you just love it ? It rained so hard there was a landslide just down the road from us. We were wondering why there wasn’t any traffic zooming by the road outside the campground and then some campers told us about the landslide. River Road, Highway 128 follows the Colorado River on one side and steep red sandstone cliffs on the other side. I’m surprised that landslides aren’t a weekly occurrence here in the Spring.
So besides the weather, we found out we were the first hosts to report and most others wouldn’t be here until the first week in March or mid March. So our supervisor tasked us with keeping an eye on 2 additional campgrounds along with 2 additional group sites. For 2 1/2 weeks we checked our Campgrounds – Big Bend, Upper Big Bend, Oak Creek, Hals Canyon, Upper Drinks Canyon, Middle Drinks Canyon, Lower Drinks Canyon, Grandstaff and Goose Island. Plus the 2 extra group sites in addition to the 3 group sites in our campground. Feel sorry for us ? Aw, don’t. It was so cold and wet the weather kept campers away. Our job for those 2 1/2 weeks was relatively easy check for campers and ensure that they paid and displayed their stub; check that the bathrooms were supplied with toilet paper; pick up any litter around the campgrounds and pick up any garbage that folks thought they could burn in the fire pits.
Now that we have been here about 3 1/2 weeks and the other hosts have shown up we no longer have to check Goose Island, Grandstaff or those two group sites. But we do have all the rest-our campsites total 83 sites and the 3 group sites can handle 90 campers. It’s still not bad, camper traffic is starting to pick up-which takes away the boredom of watching the crows fly ! LOL. We’ve met a lot of interesting folks-mainly young rock climbers. I had a long conversation with a 22-year-old woman one night about how climbing had changed her life-actually saved her life as she had been struggling with depression and other issues. She started climbing and everything was turned around for her.
We also met 5 ski instructors from Argentina who were on their way to Aspen to be ski instructors there for the rest of the season. Jim teased me about paying a little too much attention to the Argentinians ! And we met a great couple from Washington who were on their way to perform at South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX-they are a husband wife team “The Spiderferns”. Very cool couple. And the most recent camper we met was Martha. She is a cellist for the Yellowstone Symphony ! You just never know who is setting up camp.
If you remember Jim and I both grew up in Pennsylvania and small world that it is we have about a dozen campers from PA who will be here all week. Lots to talk about with them.
Camp hosting has turned out to be a lot of fun. Right now we get most of our work done at the other campgrounds in about an hour in the morning; same for Big Bend where we are based. And at Big Bend, because it’s our primary site we walk through a couple of times to check that folks have paid; make sure they understand no wood gathering and quiet time. The maintenance crew shows up to dump garbage; clean the bathrooms and clean out the fire pit. Our job is actually pretty easy ! Looking forward to seeing if hosting in Alaska will be any different.
Our first excursion we took was the La Sal Mountain Loop. What a beautiful road, you constantly climb to a breathtaking view of the valley. There was still plenty of snow when we explored, but the road was pretty well cleared of snow.
At the end of the trip we tried Milt’s Hamburger Joint, they have been around since the 50’s and have that vibe going. Burgers and fries were pretty good.
We have Mondays and Tuesdays off so we take advantage of that time and get away. Usually Monday is spent using the very hot showers at the Moab BLM office; we fill our water tanks there and pick up ice if needed. Then we go down the street a few blocks and do laundry. Once those chores are done we head over to the library and catch up on email, the budget and my blog. Tuesdays are usually our travel day but it all depends on the weather.
Our second excursion was to Arches-we wanted to get there before all the crowds hit. We spent several hours driving around the incredibly beautiful park scouting out sunset, sunrise and potential sites for night sky shots . We will be returning soon to try out those spots.
You can visit Arches 100 times and each time you will discover a different view or something you missed the first time.
We also found an incredible pizza place in Moab. Antica Forma, wood fired pizza place with the incredible Chef Israel Hernandez . He studied in Italy and NY to perfect his craft and the pizza is perfection !
We have now designated Monday night as pizza night !
Well it’s Saturday, March 9th and we are waiting for another 70 people due to arrive in two of our group sites; we already have 20 in one of the 3 sites. So Happy Trails, safe travels and never be afraid to try new things, you never know who you might meet along the way !