Posts Tagged ‘maps’

Squirrels

13th February 2011 by Helen

After taking a short break at the KOA campsite in Flagstaff it was time to move on again today.

spot the squirrel in the middle of the campsite

spot the squirrel in the middle of the campsite

The campsite has been lovely and peaceful and we have enjoyed watching the plentiful squirrels and ravens that are right throughout the site.  The squirrels are a little unusual looking in that they are grey with a red/brown stripe down their back, and a white fluffy tail.  That makes us think they are Kaibab squirrels, found mainly on the Kaibab Plateau in the ponderosa pine forest of the Grand Canyon.  The site is only a little south of the Grand Canyon and has its share of ponderosa pine.  Even though it’s still very early in the season and I would have thought the squirrels would be hibernating still, the Kaibab neither hibernate nor lay by a store of food for the winter.  Instead they eat the bark of the ponderosa pine, seeds from pine cones, weeds, mushrooms and any other vegetation that’s available.  Including some strawberries we left on the table! 

Back on the road again it was a short drive from Flagstaff to our next planned stop of Sedona, in what is known as Red Rock Country.  We arrived early enough to pick up local maps and brochures at the Visitor Centre.  What was quickly apparent was that while the scenery had changed only a little, the upscaling of commercialism was enormous.  Including the cost of camping – $18 per night for the use of a pit toilet, fire pit and concrete bench.  No water, no nothing else.  More than twice the cost of a similar campsite in the more beautiful Canyonlands.  The only difference here was a man on site to take your money to make sure you paid (rather than leaving it to the honesty of the campers to leave their money in an envelope in a specially constructed collection box). 

Cheers

Cheers

We ended the day by enjoying a campfire meal and a bottle of wine in an early celebration of St Valentine’s Day.

Campsite – Manzanita campground, Sedona

Distance travelled – 68 miles since Flagstaff

Serendipity

23rd January 2011 by Helen

Serendipity – That really is going to have to be the title of a book about this trip.

taken from Antelope Island, Salt Lake

taken from Antelope Island, Salt Lake

We had planned to leave Antelope island today and ‘camp’ in a rest area on the way back to Salt Lake City tonight so we could hit the Mormon family history centre to look up Paul’s granddad who ran away to Africa when he was a teenager, before heading up to America and the gold rush in his 20’s and 30’s, before returning to England to raise a family.  However, we don’t have enough information about him yet (like his first name and his date of birth – a bit critical really), and this island is such a lovely place we decided to stay another night.

Jack-rabbits a-bound on Antelope Island

Jack-rabbits a-bound on Antelope Island

And so it was we took a walk around the northern end of the island, across the beach of the rare oolitic sand, took lots more photos of the snow capped mountains that surround this valley, perused the information in the visitor centre where I replaced the map of the Western States that had been stolen, saw some more jack-rabbits leaping across the rocks and grass, peered through binoculars at the grazing bison, and finally returned to our campsite to cook up some dinner.

Antelope Island, Salt Lake

Antelope Island, Salt Lake

One of the reasons for staying an extra night was the temptation to make use of the fire pit and have a burning log fire we could cook over.  We’d found some partly burned logs in the fire pits as well as having some wood of our own on board ready to burn.  Paul did the man thing and got a fire going, laid out the chicken on the grill, and started to cook the beef I’d already chopped up and put in the saucepan.  Some of the logs were a bit damp and not burning so well, so Paul added the special shop bought log we had with us – guaranteed to burn for three hours.  The flames leapt high around our chicken pieces and saucepan and so we had char-grilled chicken for supper.

The island had been quite busy today and a few people had driven slowly past while looking at our set up.  Occasionally one would stop and ask if they could take a photo.  Then right towards the end of the day another couple stopped (Buddy & Linda).  They were very keen to know about how our tent worked and we got chatting a bit.  Then the serendipity bit.  Would you know it, they had on board some spare maps of the very places we want to go and so we have now replaced most of the maps we lost in the theft in Salt Lake City.  Just need Mexico now!  They also gave us some much appreciated fresh fruit, grapefruit from California!!

Soon after darkness fell again.  The sky was clear of clouds and the stars hung in profusion above our heads before we hit our pillows for the night.

Campsite – Antelope Island

Heading East

28th December 2010 by Helen

Our original plan was to spend a few days in one spot, getting back into the routine of camping, while catching up on some of the planning and preparation we want to do around the next couple of legs of the trip.  However, with the snow falling more heavily and the forecast for even more snow and colder weather to come in the next few days we decided to postpone the planning stuff and travel a little further first.

After discussions with Carl & Marilyn, our first plan was to head east and pick up on some of the key points in the historic Lewis & Clark trail, then south a little to see some of Montana’s ghost towns, recommended by Sorin & Ann, before heading east again to see some of the magnificent geological features in Yellowstone Park in the north west of Wyoming, working our way south to Utah, California, Arizona and New Mexico.

[27th December] Back on Interstate 90 we headed east.  We were charmed by Washington’s road side decorations.  Where the I90 runs through flat open ground, every couple of hundred yards we were delighted to see big bold Christmas decorations in the fields lining the roads.  There were Christmas trees, baubles, a Jack in the Box, a Nativity Scene, angels, snowman, and many many others.

camping on the Interstate 90

camping on the Interstate 90

However our attempts to find a campsite were less delightful.  We checked the maps we had and entered some of the areas run by the Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Service, where camping on public ground is permitted and free.  Except that most of the roads have been closed to wheeled vehicles for the winter.  Only snowmobiles, skis and snowshoes allowed.  After realising this was going to be a pattern repeated we headed off east on the I90 again, deciding to pitch up at one of the Interstate rest areas and hope for better luck the next day.

[28th December] The next day we found pretty much the same story, forestry areas are open but not to four wheel traffic.  We check the details for Yellowstone Park more closely.  Although billed as open all year round, the roads are closed to wheeled traffic in the winter.  We either have to hire a snowmobile or opt for a special snowbus tour.  Both are out of our price range and not really what we wanted to do.  Sadly, we crossed Yellowstone off our route list.  And opt for another Rest Area on the I90 again that night.  We recognise this particular Rest Area – we stayed here one night when we came through in the Jeep.  By now we had passed through the north of Idaho and reached Montana.

Campsite – I90 rest area in Montana

Distance travelled – 191