Still Life

There is no way to blog today without some talk of The Virus, but I don’t really want to talk about it in any appreciable way. I have nothing to tell you that you don’t already know or aren’t hearing and seeing in about a thousand other places a million times a day. I have been wrestling with whether or not to continue to blog right now at all, not because I don’t have anything to share, but because I don’t want to seem callous or naive about the current state of our world by sharing anything else. I have, obviously, decided to keep writing about what I’ve always written about here. The Virus will make an appearance only because it is directly relevant to part of our story. I know I have come to rely on my favorite things for mental relaxation, escapism, and a few good laughs, now more than ever, and writing this blog brings me all of those comforts. My hope, Faithful Readers, is that reading it brings you the same.



After departing DEVA, we had to spend a few days in North Las Vegas to take care of some more business and stock up on supplies for a couple planned dry camping excursions. As soon as we could, we hightailed it out of there and headed toward Valley of Fire S.P. NV where we had originally planned to stay. Instead, and almost last-minute, we pulled into a large BLM site just north of the park.

Breathing in the freedom.

Guess who’s back, back again?

Who needs TV? A massive thunderstorm put on a fabulous show.

The weather finally broke again on the last of our three days there, and we headed into the park.

I don’t think we did this right.

If you’ve never heard of it, Valley of Fire State Park is renowned for its extraordinarily colorful and swirly rocks.

Like strawberries and cream!

Fortunately for us, it’s not a very large park, and if you begin early in the day, you can combine a drive around the main loop road with stops at most of the formal trailheads with their relatively short hikes.

Or you can explore off-trail on the vast swathes of slickrock.

It looks just as fake up-close.

When we got about halfway around the White Domes loop, we encountered a little slot canyon, where the recent storm had left its calling card. Some folks were coming through the opposite way and reported the water was thigh-high. “Whose thighs?” we asked in unison, his being much higher than mine. Somewhere in between, we were told. When TBG asked what I wanted to do, I immediately began rolling up my pant legs. Heck, it wasn’t rushing water with sharks, and I figured if it got too deep, we’d just turn around.

No regrets!!!

It was unquestionably awesome, and I was so glad we went through. It was not a very long stretch at all, and though the water did reach over the edges of my rolled pants, it ended soon after that bend in the above photo.

How much is TBG in the window?

Mouse's Tank

The beginning of the last short hike.

The canyon walls were chock-full of petroglyphs.

The trail seemed to end at a 30-foot drop where water was still making its way through, but we scrambled up and around and down to extend the hike a bit. On our drive out, we encountered a traffic jam. I told TBG to quit “helping” me drive and instead try to figure out why everyone was stopped “because it could be the bighorn sheep!”

I knew it!

Leapin’ lambs, so adorable!

With our expected time to explore the park shortened, we felt fortunate to have seen so many of the unique features when we did.

By this time, The Virus situation was accelerating by the day, but it still looked as though we could hold steady with our travel plans, especially being self-contained and with our destinations being relatively remote. We rolled into Snow Canyon State Park in southern Utah still optimistic.

I knew when I booked that the hookup sites were very tight, but with TBG’s measuring, and me getting my wish of an Airstream neighbor, we were able to utilize all but one of our slides.

The first half of our stay was a stark contrast to the second half.

On the West Canyon Road.

The weather alternated sunny days with chilly rain for one thing, but mostly it was because all the dominoes started to fall. As we kept abreast of the unfolding pandemic, it became clear, as parks and campgrounds began closing across the country, that we would have to make a definitive decision about where we were going to be “stuck” before life made that decision for us. Our ultimate decision was to stay pretty much where we were in southern Utah. We spent most of our final three days at Snow Canyon making phone calls and driving to look at myriad housing options. We made it a priority to get in our daily walks, but we stopped taking our cameras. I sat and cried over the package of pretty brochures we’d received from the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center for our summer jobs that were, most assuredly, not going to happen. I allowed myself a little self pity each time I cancelled and drew a line through another reservation in our route plan, especially the ones that included friends or family.

The walls were closing in, but there was light at the end of the tunnel.

On our last full day at Snow Canyon, with beautiful weather predicted, we’d planned to try for one last big hike. Then our first-choice RV park called to say they had a monthly space for us, but we had to take it now. So, we scrapped the hike, buttoned up Essie, forfeited our last paid night, and took off a short distance to the northeast.

Home Sweet Home

We now live in Hurricane (HUR-uh-kin) UT for the foreseeable future. We are safe. We have everything we need. We have a plethora of hiking and biking opportunties surrounding us. We have a yard. We have much for which to be thankful.

As my Brotherman wisely said, “You could do a lot worse than southern Utah!”

As Mama Hummingbird says, “If it’s good enough for my family, it’s good enough for you!”

As changed and uncertain as it may be, there is still life.

 

 

33 thoughts on “Still Life

  1. My nurse sister-in-law works for the Sawyer County Health Dept (Hayward, WI) and is on top of this whole thing. So, when she says it’s safe for us to travel, we’ll hit the road. First, we’ll wait until all the “Shelter-in-place / Stay at home” orders have been lifted. Currently, we’re comfortable where we’re at but come June the weather will really heat up around here and we’ll be antsy to head north. Safety first!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Our Wisconsin job was officially suspended (i.e. cancelled) a few days ago, so even when we can move again, we won’t be headed quite that far this year. I hope you can still keep as much of your plan as possible. I sure was looking forward to some time east of the Mississippi this year, but maybe it’ll be a spring adventure rather than autumn. We’re not looking forward to the heat that will be upon us soon, either, but at least we’re all somewhere safe with a/c 😀 Stay well!

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      • Bummer … sorry to hear! I wonder what their thinking is? Guess you guys need to figure out a new plan for the summer. Our plans look much the same considering the only plan was to stay with family in WI and then decide on any/if any sojourns from there. With that said, we still won’t risk traveling until these orders are lifted. And yes, thank goodness for a good A/C unit!

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  2. We love Valley of Fire!! Our very first visit was several years ago and our daughter was visiting us. John pulled his back and couldn’t go any where. So being very sorry (we left him on the floor with water and ibuprofen…haha) off the two of went. Jessica and I hiked all the main trails in one day. My favorite part of the park is that you can hike anywhere. There aren’t any Stay on the Trails there. It’s great living only an hour away so we visit often and take everyone there. Your photos are spectacular. I don’t believe there is a bad photo. This is one place you can find sheep always.

    Snow Canyon is another hike anywhere place full of color. Nice easy, pretty hikes with cool features.

    Glad you got a spot where you can be safe and very comfortable with this virus crisis. Looks like a lovely park. Love the green lawn. It sure is a tough time to be fulltimers. Hopefully things will pass soon. I see ML mentioned our blog for Zion ideas. When the main park is crowded, the east side is full of hikes that aren’t published in the park info. Here is one of our favorite outside the park hikes that is full of cool choose your own adventures. https://ohtheplacestheygo.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/wildcat-canyon-trail-zion-np/ I got a lot of our hiking ideas from the following website. Joe separates the park into parts and has the best descriptions/photos of each hike. https://www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/recommend.php We lucked out on our first visit to Zion. It was before it became overcrowded. We spent the month of March hiking there. We’ve been back for hikes in areas outside when staying near by.

    Have fun hiking. Hope that too many trails don’t close. Stay safe!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We were definitely not able to give enough attention to either VoF or Snow Canyon, so repeat visits someday are in order!
      It is a very weird time to be full-time travelers. We are so thankful to have a safe, friendly place to be. I am worried about full-time travelers becoming ostracized for potentially being seen as a burden on local communities.
      Thank you so, so much for the great trail ideas!! I can’t wait to explore a bit more around here. I am so glad we were able to have a great family vacation in Zion in 2009. It’s such a beautiful place. I hope you are getting much nimble hiking done as well! You’re both in our thoughts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • John brings this up often. Hey, our daughter was visiting. We had places to go. We did leave him with the ibuprofen bottle and water!! When we walked The Strip later that week, we left him sitting in a Starbucks. Weren’t we sweet!! Haha!!

        Liked by 2 people

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