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.
Sunday October 28: Clifford and I are camped at the Dead Horse Point Utah State Park, thanks to our Colorado friends who are in the site next to us. First thing this morning I call my daughter Katie to wish her Happy Birthday and then head out to Rim Overlook on the west rim trail. I hike by myself, enjoying the solitude and beauty of my surroundings this morning.
Back at camp, I continue editing Emperors and Exiles, eat left-over pizza for lunch– not my usual, but sure tasty. In the later afternoon, we – Clifford, our friends, and I – hike to the same Rim Overlook where I was this morning. It does feel different hiking with others, with companionship replacing solitude.
Later, Clifford and I join our friends for dinner at their camp. Afterward, Dave and Clifford go out to use the night vision goggles, which is a lot of fun for them. We ladies are ready to turn in; I write in my planner and then head to bed, feeling a bit weary from the day’s activities, and knowing that tomorrow is another travel day. Only 3 1/2 months on the road this time, but it seems like a long time ago that we left for Montana and here we are, nearly back to our home-base in Monticello, Utah.
Saturday October 27: Today Clifford and I hike with our Colorado friends who are camped next to us at Dead Horse Point Utah State Park. We start from the Visitor Center and walk the canyon east rim trail out to the point that gives the park its name. The story is that wild mustangs were corralled here at the point, the best picked out to be kept as riding stock, and the rest turned loose, except for the time that they were left corralled and died of thirst. Not a pretty story, but the name remains.
is a scenic hike with deep canyons on all sides and the Colorado
River far below. Back at camp, we all rest up a bit and then head to
Moab to have dinner together at Eddie McStiff’s. This is a fun
outing for us and after we return to the park, we have tea and visit
Thursday October 25: I take photos as soon as I get up, watching the play of sunlight on the desert scene. This is our last morning here on Mineral Point Road outside Canyonlands National Park. After breakfast, we begin packing up for our move to nearby Dead Horse Point State Park, where we are meeting Colorado Friends.
The spot reserved for us at the state park is small, and although not quite as challenging as our set-up on Mineral Point Road, it is tricky because of a culvert that does not allow for an adequate turning radius to back into the small site. But eventually we are set up and have 110 electricity for the first time since leaving Monticello in July. That certainly is a convenience! And we did save some time and trouble not having to set up the solar panel.
the odd thing about being here is that, while the electricity and the
nearby flush toilets are quite the treat, we have gone from being
surround by acres and acres of sage brush with seldom another camper
or person in sight to being in a fishbowl surrounded by campers and
people in every direction. I guess that is fine; it just sort of
feels weird to me.
friends arrive and set up in the site next to us, which makes it easy
to visit. We haven’t seen them for awhile and enjoy their company,
so end up going to bed quite late.
Friday October 26: Frost on the grass this morning. Looks like fall is upon us.
This morning, I walk to the new campground, which is not far way, to check it out for future reference. It is flat and much more suited to RV’s, but not nearly as pretty.
Back at camp, Clifford is up, but still in his pj’s. I sit outside in the sunshine to write in the journal with my little thermos of French press coffee.
A half-mile trail takes me from the campground to the Visitor Center where I look at the displays and follow the nearby Nature Trail. There is no cell service at the campground, but I can send texts to kids and siblings from the Visitor Center.
Back at camp, after lunch, I do more editing of Emperors and Exiles, my daughter Ang’s epic fantasy. Clifford works on his projects, also. When our friends return from their Moab outing, we all walk down to the Visitor Center again before dinner and more visiting.
Later, by time I finish my bedtime routine, it is nearly midnight – way past my bedtime.
Tuesday October 23: I walk in the fog again this morning at our camping spot on Mineral Point Road outside Canyonlands National Park. So strange to see the fog in the desert when there is not even a river nearby.
After breakfast, I play viola and write in my journal in turns so as to get more out of each, send texts with pics to my kids, finish the blog I started yesterday, and do some editing on the next book of the Novels of Shannon series, Emperors and Exiles. Clifford is working on the next animation video for the CI website, introducing some aspects of the research in a way that is easy for folks to understand.
Wednesday October 24: Today features many of the same activities as yesterday, but no day is exactly the same. More fog, but not the same fog; more editing and journal writing, but different words; check texts and FB, sending and receiving messages different than yesterday’s messages; and play viola for awhile, but different vibrations than yesterday. Like the wind, never the same wind from one moment to the next, so it is with the stream of activities that are not necessarily noteworthy, but have value anyway.
Today is our last day here. Tomorrow we will be moving to nearby Dead Horse State Park to meet up with friends from Colorado. We have liked being here, but life on the road means moving where the weather and the situation takes one.
Sunday October 21: Clifford and I are boondocking with Cougar on Mineral Point Road outside Canyonlands National Park. Even though our original intention was to find a spot in Horsethief Campground, we are liking the view and the quiet of being further out on the road away from the busyness of the campground.
Today is spent at camp taking care of things that we need or want to do. I take photos, post photos for friends and family, and finish editing the revised Princes and Priests for my daughter, Ang. This is a big deal, as we are preparing her novel to be presented to a literary agent.
is nice enough that I am able to play viola outside in the afternoon,
alternating it with writing in the journal so as to play longer.
works on the animation video for CI for a good part of the day, but
we also walk up the road to explore a campsite, now vacant, that we
had seen from the road. It does, indeed, look like a good spot for a
Monday October 22: It is a pleasant temperature outdoors in the sunshine this morning, so after breakfast, I play viola and write in the journal on the sunny side of Cougar.
Clifford is working on the animation video for the CI website, but in the afternoon he takes a break and we go for a drive to nearby Canyonlands National Park. Even though it was nice outdoors earlier, by time we leave for the park, it is windy and jet trails mar the sky. But we go anyway, visiting the Visitor Center and then walking to the viewing point across the road from the Visitor Center. The view of the canyons with the La Sal Mountains in the background is quite spectacular.
at camp, we get the Suburban in place to tow Cougar out, as
thunderheads are forming and the weather forecast shows the
possibility of rain. The set up here was awkward and challenging, and
getting out will have its own set of problems, particularly if it
rains. Getting Suburban situated while the ground is still dry is a
smart move under the circumstances. And indeed, there is rain in the
Wednesday October 17: It is cloudy and rainy today and we spend the day at our campsite on Mineral Point Road near Canyonland National Park.
I take photos, send texts with photos to family and friends, play viola, and edit Princes and Priests. Clifford is working on preparing his CI lab notebooks for digital copying. While none of this sounds super exciting, it actually is what we want to do.
Thursday October 18: This morning I walk about taking photos of the fog. It is not often in these desert regions that I get to see such.
Taking photos, making business calls, writing in the journal, editing, playing viola, and blog writing fill my day, a good day for indoor activities with the high only 45 degrees. I start reading “Anatomy of the Spirit” by the medical intuitive, Caroline Myss. Clifford is working on video animations for the CI website, an interesting way to introduce certain papers.
Friday October 19: Frost on the ground this morning! Today is a Moab town day and off we go after making tea and coffee. We have breakfast at Denny’s, then run errands. We also spend time at the library with free power and wifi, which allows for downloading of bigger files, necessary for some of the work that Clifford is doing.
Back at camp, we find new neighbors in the spot right next to us; we are glad they found a place to camp. We have learned that it is fall break and thousands of people flock to the scenic camping areas of the country, like the national parks of southern Utah. We are happy to have found a niche to call home for a couple of weeks.
Saturday October 20: Another coolish morning, but after tea and coffee we go for a drive further out the road to look at other possible camping spots. There is a good one not far from us, should it be available at some future time. We are fine with staying where we are for the time being, however.
After a late breakfast, I edit photos, edit Princes and Priests, then sit outside to write the next blog (Sedona in March). Later I put the text and the edited photos together and publish the blog. We are lucky to have that much cell service when camped out in the boonies like this.
continues with his projects, mostly the animation, but also plays his
dulcimer, and works with his ham radio.
dinner, reading and playing viola finish out the day for me.
Saturday October 13: It is 32 degrees, clear and windy this morning at Beas Lewis Flat, west of Capitol Reef National Park. The sunlight on the mesa at sunrise is amazing!
Clifford has been watching the weather forecast; a storm is coming and he figures we should leave. I want to stay and hike in the park as planned and leave after the storm, but my brother Rollie has had enough of chilly weather and is also ready to move on south. So, we pack up and head out, even though I think moving to a popular area (Moab for us) on a Saturday is a bad idea.
We arrive at Horsethief Campground outside Canyonland National Park in the late afternoon and sure enough, there is not a single site available. We keep on going out Mineral Point Road, as we know there is some dispersed camping about a mile further on. When we reach this dispersed area, we discover that it has been closed. We continue on and it seems that every available pull-out is taken. Finally we choose a spot that is small, hard to get into, and close to the neighboring campers, but the best we can find. We are barely off the road, the ground is far from level, and the sand is soft. It is one of the hardest parking and set-ups we’ve ever done, but at least we have a home for the night.
Sunday October 14: It is a windy chilly day here in this sagebrush desert. We had thought we’d move to Horsethief Campground this morning, but decide there really is no point in doing that since we are set up here now. It is very peaceful here and the neighbors left, so we don’t feel so much like we are crowding someone. And interestingly enough, we have better cell service at this location with the slightly higher elevation and a view of the snow-covered La Sal Mountains (cell service is better when there is line-of-sight to La Sal Mountains).
Since we are not moving this morning, I walk down the road to take photos, send texts with photos to family and friends letting them know where we are, redo the fire ring at the campsite, and rake out unsightly tire tracks. In the afternoon I edit, making good headway on the revised and updated version of Ang’s epic fantasy, Princes and Priests. Clifford has kept himself busy with working on video projects for CI, ham radio, and his dulcimer.
Monday October 15: It is 25 degrees outside and 34 inside! That is a bit chilly for an inside temperature, but we can’t run the furnace without electricity. Ah well. Making coffee and cooking a big batch of applesauce with the last of the wild apples warms Cougar up.
continues working with the video project and his ham radio set-up
today, and I continue editing.
Tuesday October 16: Another chilly morning, but luckily Cougar’s living space is small enough that it warms up adequately with making coffee and breakfast. Today we go to Moab for errands and a stop at the public library where we can use power and free wifi. I post a blog of our brief stay at Agua Fria National Monument in Arizona on our way north last spring. Clifford always has research to do when the opportunity presents itself.
at camp, we have a late dinner, and even though it is near bedtime by
time dishes and cleanup are done, I take out the viola and play for a
bit. Sending texts with photos rounds out the day for me, while
Clifford stays up to listen to the radio.
Friday October 12: The low last night was 32 degrees, but the morning is calm with some puffy little clouds against a blue sky, a nice day for an outing.
make sandwiches and thermoses of tea, and then we – Clifford,
Rollie, Ninja, and I – head off to Capitol Reef for another day of
sight-seeing there. First stop is Twin Rocks, right alongside the
highway, then Chimney Rock where we hike up the trail a ways. Photos
can’t do justice to the enormous size of the mesas here.
Point is next and we walk out onto the rocks for the panoramic view
of the colorful striated mesas, imagining the tremendous geological
activity that took place eons ago to create such a landscape.
the Visitor Center we sit on a bench to enjoy our sandwiches and
fruit cups. While we are there, I cross the highway to get a better
shot of the iconic rock formation.
lunch, we visit Gifford
House, once part
of the original farm
renovated and operating as a
living demonstration of the
life of the early Mormon settlers. Pies, candles, soaps, and such are
made and sold at this “home.” We
visit the nearby orchards, 200 acres of fruit trees. One orchard has
been designated as available for tourists to pick an apple. We walk
through the orchard, but it has long since been thoroughly picked
over, so my thoughts of eating a freshly picked apple do not come to
fruition, so to speak.
As we head back to camp, I am able to get a few more photos of the scenic landscape through the open window, but no more stops.
at camp, dinner is sloppy joes. Cribbage with Rollie, dishes, and
journal round out a very full day for me.