Field Day on Abajo Mountain – June 2018

 

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.

Aspens add 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.

Terry is set up in the pines for shade

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.

The yurt tent is a great place to play viola and write in journal

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.

A great place for outdoor quiet time

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.

Amateur Radio Field Day is underway for Clifford

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!

Last contacts for Field Day 2018

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:

Catching the rising sun

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.

Walking in the aspens near sunset

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.

Gnarly sub-species of ponderosa pine

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.

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!

Pretty leggings and summer top from Becka

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.

A shy visitor

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!

Gnarly pine tree behind our campsite near sunset

Friday June 29: Another lovely day on the mountain with all the usual good activities.

Good mountain 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!

Our last evening at Pine Flats on Abajo Montain

Way Up on Abajo Mountain – May 2018

 

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.

Abajo Mountain ahead

It’s a beautiful day for an outing with the blue sky and the variety of trees, aspens being one of my favorites.

Great blue sky
Aspens line the road at times

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.

Expansive views from way up on Abajo Mountain. Monticello and Lloyd’s Lake can be seen left center
Looking the other direction from the turnaround

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.

One of several rock slides

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.

View of where we have been, as seen from the picnic pullout

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!

Landscaping moves forward with rocks from the mountain

 

Abajo Mountain Outings – Autumn 2017

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.

Aspen on Abajo Mountain

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.

Sunrise through the fence
The tree at the corner bathed in morning sunlight

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.

Gnarly old oak tree
Clifford on the “trail”
The valley below

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. 

Heading to a picnic spot on Abajo Mountain
Aspens on the mountain
A very interesting beehive

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.

Catching the sunlight is a cat and mouse game as clouds move across the sky

After our picnic, I gather oak leaves to take back to decorate a rather ugly shelf in the kitchen.

Walking through the oaks to gather leaves
Sunlight on the fallen leaves

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.

Driving back to the valley