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Saturday, April 14

Utah & Arizona with Friends

Once again, I'm way behind in keeping the site updated.  My last post had Petey and I still down in Baja with weeks of exploration undocumented along with Tiffany's visit over the holidays.  With all that still pending, I'm going to jump ahead to some more stateside travel and get back to Baja later.  After coming out of Baja it was back to the homefront for a short period before switching over to the ole Chinook and head back out across the country for more tradeshows.  I spent 5 months last year traveling and living out of the Chinook and when Tiffany asked me about doing tradeshows again this year I was in, with one stipulation.  No east coast stuff.  Last year I went all the way to Maine and south along the eastern seaboard.  It was enjoyable but not so much that I wanted to do it again.   Way too many people, lack of public land where you can boondock camp, and congestion to suit my needs.  Having to stay in RV parks and established campgrounds are to be avoided and since I'm cheap, way too expensive.  Sure, remote camping can be found, but without four wheel drive along with dragging this anchor of a trailer around, it's limited and work finding it. Some will take exception to this, but once you've roamed around out west I see no need to go east.  This year, I won't be going any further east than Cade's Cove in the Smokey Mountains as I plan to go back there in hopes of some more black bear shots.  After our first tradeshow in the Bay Area the plan was to pound out some miles and meet up with some friends of mine, Kurt and GeorgeAnne, who would be in the southern Utah area on vacation.  Kurt and his wife, GeorgeAnne are friends of mine from my days living in Bend, Oregon.  However, me pounding out miles is a misnomer. Thinking I would meet up with them in a couple of days turned into four as I stopped and spent some time in the Valley of Fire State Park east of Vegas.   Having almost three weeks before the next show in the Dallas area it's easy for me to get sidetracked.  Our plan was to meet up in Kanab, Utah where we were hoping to obtain a permit to hike in and photograph an area known as The Wave.  This is an area that can only be accessed by a long hike and you must have a permit to enter.  Only 20 permits are granted per day and since it has become a very popular destination, permits are hard to come by.  If not applying via the internet, you show up at the BLM Office in Kanab every morning and enter the lottery drawing.   After a few days of rejection, GeorgeAnne and I were beginning to think the whole friggin thing was rigged and on our last day, we planned to start hollering "system is rigged" if our number wasn't called!  We entered for five days straight, and you guessed it, we haven't laid eyes on "The Wave".   We opted out of making an ass of ourselves at the lottery as we both planned on coming back. This was not my first attempt at trying to obtain the coveted permit as I'd been through the area several times over the years.  It's not going anywhere, so if I live long enough and the knees hold out, maybe one day.  

After the tradeshow in California, I headed east to meet up with Kurt and GeorgeAnn.  En-route I camped behind this solar farm and launched the drone the next morning.
 A stopover in Valley of Fire State Park east of Vegas found some wildlife and great hiking.
After meeting up with Kurt and GeorgeAnne in Kanab, Utah and our failure to obtain the coveted permit we made the best of it and went on several hikes in the area.  From there, we moved on to the Grand Canyon.  The weather was turning for the worse and we weren't sure what we'd find along the Canyon.  Kurt and GeorgeAnne could only spend one night and day before heading further south to Sedona.  Our first night we boondocked camped in the Kaibab Forest just outside the park boundaries.  We got one hike in where we went down in the Canyon and were able to get below the thick cloud cover along the rim.  Once below the clouds, it was a great hike.  Kurt & GeorgeAnne headed south and I opted to stay one more night and returned back to the Kaibab Forest where I camped, returning to the Canyon rim at daybreak the following morning.  It was worth the additional night as the weather cleared and I got some nice light along the canyon.

After the canyon, I was headed east and after receiving a text msg changed plans.  A friend of mine, Wayne Long, who was crossing the border coming up out of Baja and was near my location.  I had spent about 6 weeks with Wayne in December and part of January before I had to get back for the tradeshow journey I was now on.  Wayne was working his way, slowly, back up into Canada.  Since we were within a few hours of each other we decided to hook back up and do some exploring together.  We had hoped to go into Chaco Canyon in New Mexico but the weather had other plans as they were calling for snow.  I had been in there before and really wanted to return but we opted to go south instead in search of warmer climes.  We ended up driving south down through the Apache Indian Reservation.  Normally, it's not a great place to consider boondock camping.  I've inquired before and been    However, we found a road leading off the pavement and it looked like I could get the trailer down it far enough to get well away from the road.  We decided to go for it, thinking no one would be coming down this road and we'd leave at first light.  Probably an hour after we found a level spot we hear a truck beating down the road we'd just come in on.  Sure enough, truck pulls up and it's the range boss for the area.  Assuming we'd be asked to leave I approached him and explained what we were up to and he'd never know we'd been there if he allowed us to stay.  He stated, "he didn't see a problem with it" and even gave us a little history of the area.  We hiked down to an old homestead he told us about that night with the dogs.

Following day we worked our way further south where we holed up for three nights in the Gila Box Conservation area.   A long day of four-wheeling gets you access to some old ruins.  We left camp at 8 one morning and didn't get back to camp till well after dark.  It's a long way into the ruins and four-wheel drive with high ground clearance is required.  Wayne's rig is well set up but it was a long day getting in there.  We saw one other vehicle and one cowgirl all day. 

 Petey and I got dropped off at the bottom of the hill.  Petey was not happy about having to walk up it.
Ike watching Wayne putting some gas in the rig. 

Her office view is not too bad.
Back to Baja......soon.

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