Winter Journey – Big Bend – November 2016

Tuesday, November 15th, this morning I find a little yellow butterfly dead on the ground, but in perfect condition. Very special, as butterflies were Mom’s ‘thing’ and it is totally unexpected to find one here at this time of year.

A perfect butterfly

After breakfast, I make a thermos of tea and then walk down to the day use area where there is a gravel and sand beach. I sit there on a rock with the river right at my feet, drinking tea and writing in my journal.

Along the Colorado River

After a walkabout to gather abandoned firewood, I sit at a picnic table at a nearby campsite where I can see the river and write postcards to family.

View of the east mesa through the trees

Back at our campsite, I play my cello, sitting  in the sun, while Clifford sits on the shady side to study until after the sun goes behind the mesa.

Sitting in the sun, playing the cello
Sitting in the shade, Clifford studies

This was really quite a lovely outdoor day.

Wednesday, November 16th, I am up in time to get photos at sunrise.

Photos at before sunrise

I make a cup and tea and start reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which I am sure I read eons ago, but I want to read it again now. After breakfast we head to Moab for errands and to use the wifi at the Visitors’ Center. We take a break from catching up with emails and other internet business to go to the Moab Brewery for lunch, then return to the Visitors’ Center to finish up our business. On the way back to the campground, we stop at a spring outside of town – water coming right out of the side of the cliff – to fill up our gallon jugs. Back at camp, I take photos of the river just before sunset.

Colorado River near sunset
One minute later

I edit until the laptop battery goes dead and then finish reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull: seek your own highest level of perfection and don’t be limited by the flock mentality. Good advice for all of us.

Thursday, November 17th, we are up at 4:00 a.m. to secure anything that might be blown away and close the visor over the window at the end of the camper. Shortly after we go back to bed, the rain starts, light at first and then a real downpour. It is still raining when I get up; I go for a walk, taking photos in the rain. The rain has stopped by time Clifford gets up, but it is cloudy, windy, and chilly all day. Good day for inside activities: I reorganize some storage areas, write in my journal, and even play the cello inside. We are grateful for Terry’s sturdiness, as we stay comfortable and warm in our “tiny house.”

Friday, November 18th is another beautiful sunny day.

Sunny day along the Colorado River

Today we go to the Red Cliff Museum, about seven miles further out on Highway 128 from where we are camped.

Driving out Highway 128 to Red Cliff Museum

This museum features the movies that have been made in this area because of its scenic value. Starting in the early 1950’s and up to the present, about 60 movies have been made here, everything from old westerns to Thelma and Louise.

View of the the Colorado River and mesa from Red Cliff Ranch

Back at camp my laptop has been recharged via the solar panels and the hotspot is also working, so I check email and bank balances. I am glad that I was able to spend most of the day outdoors, and it is also nice to have the laptop and hotspot charged for evening activities.

Winter Journey – Colorado River Canyon – November 2016

Colorado River

Sunday November 13th is catch-up day: After taking photos of the Colorado River, I write in my journal, check email and bank balances (hotspot internet is very marginal, but better than nothing), and do some editing for the Montana author. We figure out where the propane smell is coming from – the regulator will have to be replaced. The campground is nearly empty today, so I walk about salvaging leftover firewood.

Walkabout looking for firewood
Beautiful blue sky day

Once the sun goes behind the mesa to the west, the temperature drops considerably, even though it is still light out.

The sun goes behind the mesa to the west

I take a few more photos of the river before making a campfire to extend the daylight time outdoors.

Colorado River downstream in the late afternoon
Colorado River upstream in the late afternoon

When it is too dark to read or write by the light of the campfire, I come in and make applesauce with some of the apples that I had gathered back in Idaho, amazed that they have lasted so long.

Monday November 14th is a town day for us and we head to Moab right after breakfast for groceries, laundromat, and several other short errands. Back at camp, I put groceries and clean clothes away, thinking about how Mom and I, after a trip to the laundromat when I was a kid, would fold heaps of clean clothes while my younger siblings would scamper off with piles of folded clothes to be put away. I call my sister Lillian to share the memory, but no answer, so just leave a message. Lots of memories, lots of feelings to work through.

The mesa to the east takes on a rich color as the sun sets

Winter Journey – Horsethief to Big Bend – November 2016

Friday November 11th, after a long layover in Salt Lake City in the wee hours of the morning, it is with great relief that I board an uncrowded bus that takes me to Moab, where Clifford is waiting. We get propane and a few groceries, before going to the Moab Brewery for a good lunch. Then on out to Horsethief campground just outside Canyonlands NP where Clifford camped while I was gone.

Clifford’s campsite at Horsethief Campground

It is a big campground with roomy sites and views of the mesas; it would be nice to stay here for awhile, but the 14-day limit has been reached. I unpack my bags as Clifford and I catch up the news. I am exhausted, feeling caught between two worlds.

Sunset at Horsethief Campground

Saturday November 12th Since I am up before Clifford, I go for a walk on the trail near our campsite, getting photos of the sunrise. I like it here; too bad we have to move.

Sunrise at Horsethief Campground

As soon as Clifford is up, we pack up and head toward Moab and east on Highway 128. We are fortunate to find an available site at the Big Bend Campground along the Colorado River, about six miles out from Moab.

Colorado River upstream from our campsite at Big Bend Campground
Getting set up. Notice Clifford putting up his ham radio antenna.
Colorado River downstream from near our campsite

After we get set up, we realize that we left the sensor for the weather station at the Horsethief campground, so we have to drive all the way back out there to get it.

Autumn colors along the road back to Horsethief Campground
An interesting formation along the road to Horsethief Campground
Canyonland vista

Returning to our new campsite, we take naps, only I can’t sleep, the words of Dave van Ronk’s song “Motherless Children” going through my head. I get up and write a short blog about the void in my life created by Mom’s passing. Dinner is late; I am too tired to do dishes tonight, so leave them for Clifford and go to bed.