Posts Tagged ‘camp’

SLC Departure

22nd January 2011 by Helen
The Griggs family - thank you for being so welcoming

The Griggs family - thank you for being so welcoming

It has to happen sooner or later.  We have to move on.  We wouldn’t be travelling otherwise.  It’s always sad and difficult when you’ve got to know people well.  We took photos with Tom and Jen and the kids, played with Lexi the dog, couldn’t find TC the cat, and waved goodbye.

Way back in Mongolia, I recalled the words of my first ever 45 rpm record, back in about 1970 – Lee Marvin’s “Wandrin’ Star”.  Strange to think he sang, “Do you know where hell is, hell is in hello, heaven is goodbye forever, it’s time for me to go”.  We don’t think that’s true.  We’ve enjoyed meeting so many people and we sincerely hope we will be able to keep in touch with them over the coming months and years.  Having finally braved getting myself a Facebook account, that might even be easier now.  So thanks to Tom & Jenny for all your help and for putting up with us for so long, to Bill & Monie (did I spell that right?), for all your help with contacts and parts, and the rest of the local LR club for welcoming us, and again to Pete & Laura for being our first introduction to Salt Lake City.

No wonder the professional photographers were lining up for this scene

No wonder the professional photographers were lining up for this scene

And so it was we headed first a little north towards the big salt lake after which Salt Lake City is named.  Second only to the Dead Sea for salinity only the brine shrimp and brine flies can live in its waters.  The birds love it though and feed on the shrimp and flies to their hearts’ content.  Salinity levels vary between 4% and 28% depending on seasons, depth, evaporation, and such like.  The lake is fed by four major rivers but with no outlet other than evaporation the minerals brought down to the lake are left behind. As the river waters enter the lake there may be some ice forming on the surface in winter but it will always be thin due to the concentration of salts below.

We followed the road from the Interstate to Antelope Island, named after the first animals seen by early explorers of the island.  The ground is largely rock and sand.  The sand here is unusual – oolitic sand it is made up of tiny spherical balls where minerals grains or brine shrimp fecal pellets are coated by concentric layers of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate, rather like the formation of pearls.  There are few natural trees on the island, which has a mountain range running down the centre.

Sunset over Salt Lake, Utah

Sunset over Salt Lake, Utah

Being on the island is an exercise in contrasts.  On the one hand the land is very barren, despite some 40 freshwater springs.  There are few natural trees, a mountain range running down the centre, bison and antelopes grazing, and jack-rabbits, to name just the animals we saw, as well as oodles of bird life coming and going throughout the year – we saw mainly magpies and some smaller birds in the distance we didn’t identify.  The views across the lake towards the mountains are spectacular and almost free of mankind’s influence.  However, if you look carefully you can see the lights of the city nestling in the foothills of the mountains.  At the weekends there are plenty of visitors with their cars touring the island.  Bridger Bay, where we camped, is one of the designated campgrounds and although it is classified as ‘basic’ by US standards, there are plenty of facilities.  Each camping spot is marked by a picnic bench and fire pit with side table for food preparation.  Behind or to the side of each campsite is a small tree that has been planted.  Vault (ie non flushing) toilets are strategically placed within the campsite area and a large trash receptacle is off to the side.

Once darkness had settled (and the temperature dropped) so the quiet of a non-occupied place replaced the noise of the occasional traffic and a peaceful night was had by all.

Campsite – Antelope Island, Salt Lake, Utah

Distance travelled – 30 miles

Snoqualmie

27th December 2010 by Helen

It was with much sadness we left Seattle behind, having renewed friendships and made new friends, all of whom we look forward to keeping in touch with in the future.  But we are on a journey and sooner or later we would have to pick up the mantle and move on again.

And so it was, on Boxing Day (in the UK), two months after we first arrived on these shores, we packed up the car and headed off, as we had planned, back to Snoqualmie, where we had been with the local Land Rover club the previous week.  By the time we arrived daylight was fading so we headed straight for a spot where we had seen some campers the previous week and put up our roof tent.  It’s a long wide space, and just ahead we can see the signs indicating there is a closed road here.

It was cold and snowing.  We realised we were right underneath some power lines.  Looking up the lines glowed a faint green in the gloom beneath the stars.  The electrical buzzing sounded like a waterfall was only a few metres away.  Less pleasant, the ground below us was very wet with lots of puddles.  We decided we’d find somewhere better in the morning and so did not bother to put up the ground tent.

We ate a traditional Boxing Day meal – left over chicken from Christmas dinner, followed by mandarins and chocolate mousse desserts – accompanied by the twinkling lights of Landy’s very own Christmas tree, a personal gift to him from Carl.

Snuggled up in our sleeping bags under the duvet we were warm and comfortable, lulled to sleep by the sound of the artificial waterfall above our heads.

CLANG!!  CLANG!!  CLANG!!

evidence of snow overnight in Snoqualmie

evidence of snow overnight in Snoqualmie

We were being roughly woken by the sound of someone banging hard on the aluminium roof ladder.  Paul peered out to find a torch being shone in his face.  “Washington State Police.  You are trespassing on a private road that belongs to the electricity company.”  A few exchanges later and we go back to sleep.  We’ve agreed to move in the morning.  No problem, we’d planned to anyway.

Next morning we wake to see six inches of snow has fallen in the night.  The trees are bowing under the weight and occasionally drop their load of snow and spring back into place with, if you believe trees have feelings, some relief.  We cook breakfast and chat with a local man who is out walking his dogs.  Three border collies, one black and white retired search and rescue dog, two brown and white.  He later emails us with his contact details, saying that if anyone is passing this way in future he is happy to share a beer and offer a bed for the night.

Eventually we move on.

Campsite – Snoqualmie

Distance travelled – 50 miles

Back to the lake

5th July 2010 by Helen

After a full day in Aqtobe we returned to our picturesque lakeside campsite – Tuesday 29th June