After our two-day trip to Farmington, New Mexico, I spend several days thoroughly cleaning Cougar and packing for the next outing. We have thoughts of going to Canyonlands for a week, but it doesn’t happen, as there is just too much to do here before we leave for the winter.
As part of his research, Clifford needs some pond water, so one day we go up Abajo Mountain to Monticello Lake, which really is just a pond. It is a nice enough day that we could have had a picnic, but we didn’t plan for it and Clifford is eager to get back to his research. I am happy to have another outing to the mountain; I feel altogether better when I am here. I submit one of the photos to the San Juan Reporter and am quite delighted when they print it for the featured photo of the week.
A highlight of these weeks is receiving the hand-crafted knife that my son Tye has made for me. He has made and sold a number of knives this past year, each one distinctly unique. The beautiful knife made for me fits my hand perfectly and is a pleasure to use.
Our projects continue as the weather becomes more late-fallish. Clifford is spending hours and hours in the lab. Moss balls are sent for and added to the pond aquarium for research. I even get a couple of these “plant pets” for the kitchen. Even though my head and hearing are still not quite right, I begin playing my cello and viola again. Blog and journal writing continue, as well as agent research and a few other home projects.
Thanksgiving: I send texts to family and friends, feeling quite grateful for these people in my life. How I would love to be sharing the day with them. Since we aren’t out camping this Thanksgiving, I fix a turkey dinner, which I haven’t done for years and years.
weather is turning colder and I am excited to get a photo of falling
Mother Nature is happy to oblige the last day of November, and now we will see what December brings.
Life is a journey. Even when Clifford and I are not on the road (the outer journey), the inner journey continues. Being back at our home base in southeast Utah, the lab for Carnicom Institute, we appreciate its conveniences. We have power and internet, not to be taken for granted, and Clifford will have the full lab to work in.
We take care of business, I do a lot of photo editing, blog writing/posting, finish editing and begin doing agent research for Ang’s fantasy novel Princes and Priests. Clifford is deeply immersed in his lab work.
Although being in town is not very inspiring for me as a photographer, there are moments that are worth documenting and remembering, even if only in their ordinariness that is part of the fabric of life.
Morning is a special time for me. The rising of the sun is the daily miracle that I delight in. The first rays of the sun bring a glow to the naked trees that I see from our east-facing sliding-glass door.
This is the time when I write in my journal and in the smaller Gratitude Journal, read inspirational writings, most especially resonating with poems by Mary Oliver, “…. and you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine” and “My work is to love the world” and “be astonished,” (excerpts from the collection “Thirst”). As I write and read, I savor the aroma and flavor of fresh French press organic coffee.
We have had a bit of a rough start to our return to Monticello, as we discover that the hot water heater has been leaking while we were gone, and now the bathroom/laundry area has an unpleasant odor. A neighbor helps us cap off the leaking pipe, and after the mop-up operation, we run a fan and ozone to dry things out and deal with the odor. I begin having serious head ringing and auditory issues. From the ozone? I start spending time out in Cougar to get away from the source of the problem, whatever it is.
November 5th is a sunny fall day, so we go up Abajo Mountain to the Buckhorn campground for a picnic. I do a walkabout for photos, happy to have a blue sky day, rather rare nowadays. Because of the chilly breeze, we end up sitting in the car to have our picnic. A year ago we came up here and had a picnic sitting at the picnic table in spite of the breeze. Guess we were tougher last year. Haha… We then drive out to Pine Flats where we camped last June for the Amateur Radio Field Day. We are pleased to see that the roads have been improved, so we may able to come here with Cougar next spring.
As the days go by, my head and hearing continue to be “off” and I don’t know if it is the ozone, which is being run less or something about the house itself that is causing this toxic reaction. In spite of the head issues, I continue with photo editing, blog writing, and agent research, while Clifford works in the lab. We take breaks to run errands, walking to the post office, the hardware store, or the market. Because of the auditory problems I am experiencing, I don’t play cello or viola much, and Clifford does not take time for his music, either. He is focused on the lab and the work that needs to be in place before we leave for Arizona next month.
In mid-November we make a trip to Farmington, New Mexico, a drive that takes us through the reservations of the Four Corners region. It seems to me to be a rather harsh environment.
We are meeting with CI associate, Gary S., who has been on our unofficial staff for many years. He is exceedingly talented at fixing electronic devices and has repaired an important lab instrument, an osmometer, for us. Once we all arrive in Farmington, we go out to dinner before Gary and Clifford run tests on the repaired instrument. Everything is looking good! Hooray! This is an important addition to the lab work that Clifford is involved in.
We spend the night in Farmington and the next morning, after saying good-bye to Gary, we head back to Monticello. We have many things to accomplish in the upcoming weeks.
Thursday June 21: We are heading up Abajo Mountain today to Pine Flats, a dispersed area beyond the campgrounds, and setting up for Amateur Radio Field Day 2018. Leaving the paved highway, the road into Pine Flats is terrible, with deep ruts some places, rough and rocky in other spots. We had checked out this area last fall, so we have an idea of the layout. Creeping along at two miles an hour, we make our way to the branch that we’d like to take. We walk in first to make sure the road is passable and the spot free. Hooray, we are good to go, so continue creeping to a group of pine trees beyond a stand of aspens. The pine trees ofter shade and the aspens offer their graceful beauty.
Once Terry (our 30 year old camper) is in place, the fridge won’t light. It is touchy in its old age, but we know what to do and soon we have a cold place to keep food. We set up our yurt tent for the first time, as it will offer outdoor protection from the flies and the breeze. We are delighted that this spot was available. Guess the bad roads keep most everyone out except the 4-wheelers.
Friday June 22: This morning I pick rocks while chatting on the phone with Becka, happy for cell service here on the mountain. The yurt tent is perfect for playing viola and writing in my journal away from pesky flies.
In the early afternoon I make a trip down the mountain to take care of errands and chores. It takes me much longer than planned and the sun is near setting by time I get back to camp. So glad to be here! Clifford has spent his day preparing for field day, which will start tomorrow at noon.
Saturday June 23: A lovely blue-sky day on the mountain with a few cumulus clouds floating around to keep the temperatures pleasant. I make tea and then sit in the sunshine for my morning quiet time. What a great place with its stillness and beauty.
Walking down to the aspen grove, I see that these trees are suffering from the lack of moisture – no monsoons last summer and little snow pack during the winter, a pattern going on for several years from what we’ve heard.
I’m involved with phone calls and texts while Clifford concentrates on his ham radio field day activity. He is using several modes, has made 30 contacts with low power in six states and two countries so far. I know he will be up late into the night.
Sunday June 24: Another lovely day on the mountain. Clifford continues with his field day activities until it ends at noon. I text ham radio friends who are doing their field day in tents on a rainy mountainside in western Montana. Man, we sure do have it nice here!
I play viola in the yurt away from the breeze and the flies, read, and write in my journal until Clifford wraps his field day. Later, we go for a hike to see if there are any camping spots that we missed in case we come again and find this spot taken.
Monday June 25:
Even though field day is officially over, we are going to stay on the mountainside. Clifford has received a portable high-quality microscope (which I brought up on the errand day), so his studies and research can continue right from the mountain. I take care of CI email and then begin the re-editing of Princes and Priests, Ang’s first book of the Novels of Shannon series. Later, Clifford and I go for a walk before dinner, and after dinner we read until time for bed.
Tuesday June 26: I go for a long walk by myself this morning. This is really a beautiful area with the huge gnarly pines trees, aspens, scrub oak, among other vegetation.
Today is a day of editing for Ang, writing blogs, and editing photos. Viola, journal, and reading also find their way into my day. It is a study day for Clifford.
Wednesday June 27: I pick up more rocks and load them into the Suburban before making another trip down the mountain for errands and home chores. At the post office I have a package from Becka, including the cutest leggings and a summer top. It is so fun to get a package!
I drive back up the mountain with the setting sun in my eyes (again). After we unload the groceries, I make nachos for dinner and even after sunset it is warm to eat outside. Then we go for a moonlight stroll, Clifford in his house shoes and me in my Tevas. Back at camp we read until bedtime.
Thursday June 28: Sure could use some rain here – only 1% humidity this morning! I show Clifford the bear scat that I found just beyond the scrub oak grove by our campsite. The first night we were here, I smelled something musky, almost like skunk, but not quite. From talking with Ang, I think it is was a bear, but he/she has not bothered us at all.
Meals, calls and text conversations with my kids, playing viola, editing, and blog writing for me; studying, reading, writing and ham radio for Clifford – good day on the Abajo Mountain!
Friday June 29: Another lovely day on the mountain with all the usual good activities.
We receive good news that my brother Rollie has sold his house, bought a big Class A motor home, and is now officially a full-time RV’er. Way to go, Rollie!
Saturday June 30: Our last full day here. It has been a great camp and we might have talked ourselves into staying longer, but our webmaster is coming tomorrow, and soon we will begin preparations for our summer journey to Montana!
Sunday May 27: It is a beautiful spring morning, so we decide to go up Abajo Mountain for an outing. I make a picnic lunch and thermoses of tea, and off we go. For the first time, since we also like to explore, we turn left on the Lloyd’s Lake Road just outside Monticello and head up Abajo a different direction from where we’ve been before.
It’s a beautiful day for an outing with the blue sky and the variety of trees, aspens being one of my favorites.
I have an ulterior motive: the neighbor has told me where I can gather rocks needed for the landscaping I’m doing in the back yard.
We go quite a ways up the mountain, not having yet seen the rock slide, and turn on a side road named Electronic Road. There is a tower of some sort here, and although it is not a great place to gather rocks or have a picnic, since we are here, I start picking up a few rocks. In less than ten minutes a 4-wheeler turns on the same road and it turns out it is a park ranger, probably wondering why we are so close to the tower. I tell him we are exploring and looking for a place to have a picnic and he recommends we go on up the road to the top where the main set of towers are – a great view, he says.
So we do that, but the further up we go, the more we wish we hadn’t. The road isn’t bad, but it is very narrow and no place to go if we meet someone coming down. Right before the last ascent to the towers themselves, there is a wide turnaround spot and we take advantage of that. The views are quite expansive.
On the way back down, we are ever so grateful not to meet anyone, other than motorcyclists who squeeze by us. We stop at the rock slide we passed on the way up and gather rocks.
A ways further down, we turn off onto a side road to a camp spot we had also passed on the way up. We set up a little table and have our picnic, relaxing as we enjoy our late lunch.
It was a good outing, but we are not likely to take the road beyond the rock slide next time. That was far enough for us!
Sunday October 29, 2017 – 40/70 Clear blue sky today.
We decide to go for a drive up Abajo Mountain, the backdrop of the little town of Monticello, Utah. The Suburban is leaking fluid, so we only make it as far as the Dalton Springs Campground where we stayed when we came in September to check this town out. I only take a couple of photos before we turn around and head back to town. This is rather a disappointment.
Back at our place, the job of moving in continues with cleaning the shed, storing tools, and fixing the gate to the backyard, among other things.
Wednesday November 1, 2017– 35/60 and mostly clear.
My most favorite time of day is sunrise. Living in town means I don’t have a natural setting for the sunrise, but I do like seeing it send rays through the fence of the back yard. The big trees just outside the fence seem to glow as the early morning sun hits the naked branches. The sunrise and the trees are a joy to me.
Thursday November 2, 2017 – 59 is the high, sunny and windy.
Since it is sunny, I want to go for a drive up the mountain, but we have projects to take care of. However, in the later afternoon, Clifford decides that we can go for a drive, after all. We park at a kiosk that describes the trails in the area and off we go for a hike on a rather sketchy trail. The sun is already behind the mountain, so the landscape is in shadow, but it was still a fun hike. In taking a closer look at the kiosk map, we realize that this is not the trail head at all and we were just following game and cow trails. Haha.
Sunday November 5, 2017 – high is 55, partly cloudy.
Even though we have lots left to do, I suggest that we go for a picnic on the mountain while there is still some sunshine. I didn’t think Clifford would want to go, but he agrees, so I make thermoses of tea and sandwiches, and off we go.
It is kind of chilly up here and I am glad for the warm poncho that I keep in the car. It is a cat-and-mouse game to catch brief moments of sunlight on the aspen and oak trees.
After our picnic, I gather oak leaves to take back to decorate a rather ugly shelf in the kitchen.
In spite of the coolness of the mountain, we had a fun outing, and it was good to have a break from the work of getting the lab and a home space functional.