Showing posts from 2008

ute lake state park

Stopped in Tucumcari for groceries (Lowe’s had tofu!!) and to access the web at the library. The library had blockers too prohibitive for me to access my blog for updating or even look in at the forum. Also, except for Siscily’s, they had the SLOWEST connection that I have experienced in YEARS. Guano. I guess I’ll try Santa Rosa on Monday. Also stopped at the post office to mail a package to the Philippines. Only cost $4. I know, a little late to be sending out a holiday gift. Well, Ute Lake, along with Rockhound and Pancho Villa, make three NM state parks that I will not be returning to. Although some of the sites without electric at Rockhound are not too bad. It’s mainly that Rockhound is close to an interstate so it’s generally full of RVs. Ute Lake state park campgrounds are developed in fields that butt up to the town of Logan. They are more like town and county parks than what I’ve been seeing at the other state parks. Not my kind of thing but must be very popula

conchas lake state park

For the first hour after leaving Villanueva, I was driving north. It’s December. Maybe I’m heading the wrong direction. Oh well, got to Las Vegas. Spent a few hours there getting propane, groceries, gas, doing laundry, and putting in a couple hours at the library on the web catching up with friends and doing some work. Sure do miss daily access to the web. Love being back in NM for the wide selection of chili. Wish the smaller towns carried tofu; I eat a couple pounds of it a week. But with street names like Dos and Tres, I’m not too surprised. Not exactly a local food staple. Nice drive east from Las Vegas through high plains to Conchas Lake. Beautiful scenery and so little traffic that most drivers waved. Conchas has a number of nice sites. I stayed in the Bell Point campground and except for the host, mine was the only rig in there for a couple of days. Personable hosts. Shower was a bit hotter than Villanueva but not by much. Still no steam yet. Elevation is 4160’ so it’s warmer th

villanueva state park

Good drive down to Villanueva. Stopped in Santa Fe at the La Mantanita food co-op on W Alameda St just a block or two west of Saint Francis Dr. Good selection and plenty of bulk bins. Also left with a great lunch sandwich. Made my day. Nice park along sandstone cliffs with pinon and juniper trees and the Pecos River with its tall cottonwoods and mesquite. There are only three miles of trails but there are also places to just take off cross-country and explore. Another option is to take the trail along the river heading downstream. There is a fence along the border of the park but not sign for private property. Hop the fence and continue on. The path is cow-maintained and not bad at all. I hiked down just about an hour before turning back and it was all right along the river except for one spot of a couple hundred yards up on the rocks. Had my sling with me so got a good deal of practice in with all the small river rocks along the way. Doing fine with my overhead and underhand throws. R

full-timing in RV parks

I’m almost getting to feel like an anthropologist on those rare occasions when I go into an RV park to visit a friend or acquaintance. I’m detached, observing—wondering what is this world I’m now in? Followed by—how long do I have to be here?! People actually live in these densely populated, rule-bound communal parking lots. The parks are like little urban villages in the wide, open west. Might as well live in a trailer park and have a shed out back. At night one sits outside, sometimes watching TV, surrounded by so many pole lights, party lights, patio lights, and lit up palm trees that only a few stars can be seen up in the night sky. Most of these retired or semi-retired people I’ve been coming across the last few years seem to spend their days sitting in their rigs, driving into town or along the roads to see what they can see from their butts. Very few go out and look around where they are staying. One rarely sees them walking along the nature or hiking trails, let along going off

heron lake state park
canaries, snagging, and custom doormats

Heron Lake has five campgrounds, two with hookups, for a total of 115 sites and a few more places where camping is allowed. A lot of rocky mountain junipers and pinon and some nice space between sites. With the annual $225 pass, the sites without hookups are free and the ones with electricity are $4. One can stay for 21 days. Heron Lake has about ten miles of trails for hiking, running, and mountain biking. Very nice. I generally always see some osprey on my morning runs. The lake can be beautiful shades of green when the light is right. REALLY need to get a kayak next year if the other lakes I’ll be checking out are as nice as this one. Been practicing Tai Chi, hitting the trails, sent some silver pieces out, shooting my long bow, and watching the moon work towards full. Life is good. The last two nights it has gotten down into the single digits. The first night I was caught off guard. One of the uncertainties of camping without hookups. When I had to reach over and light the

heading south to new mexico
‘my canyonlands – the adventurous life of Kent Frost’

Eight new state parks to check out this winter in New Mexico along with returning to two or three that I liked from last winter. Also plan to check out some BLM areas. Should be good. Then back to Bisbee for a month around March to visit friends and take a month or so to work north to Utah. Probably go up the west side of NM; have not been through there yet. There was a good time visiting with friends in SLC. I had a chance to have lunch with my old zen teacher, Genpo Roshi, the abbot of Kanzeon Zen Center and founder of Big Mind ( He is SO busy these days that I felt truly blessed to have him take the time to meet with me. Life is good. This shows where I parked for a few days in front of a friend's house in Moab. We went to a premier on the life of a Utah legend; Kent Frost is like a Utah John Muir. ‘My Canyonlands – The Adventurous Life of Kent Frost’ directed by Chris Simon. If you like the Utah Canyonlands area or just like nature, look for this DVD when

maybe time to roll-installing solar panel

So this is what it looked like one morning. It's been down in the lower twenties a couple of nights. My summer job ended a couple weeks ago and I have just been hanging out enjoying the canyon and the quiet. I went hiking up towards Deseret Peak yesterday with a friend. Really nice. A bit slick once we got into the snow and ice, though. Cathy had brought hot herb tea up and it really hit the spot. Good conversation and exchange of ideas on camping and traveling in small rigs (she has a camper on a Tacoma). I finally got a closer shot of the deer eating some of the hay I have been putting out daily for the horses. I brought a low-rider chair up to the pasture and just sat there for a while. They kept looking over but Meadow was on my lap and that might have put them somewhat at ease. A few more days here, then off to visit friends in Salt Lake for a couple days and take care of some city-type stuff. I swear Meadow and Onyx are also getting antsy. They have just been sitting around a

campground management position

Taking a position as a campground manager for a summer can be a memorable experience. You will regularly hear envious statements from campers saying that they would love to be doing it. Only they can’t afford to do it, time and money-wise, or they just have way too much stuff to be able to leave it all for so long. More often than not, it can be a pretty good job. Many have been doing it for ten or fifteen years. There are also those who quit in the first couple of weeks or in the middle of their first season (not a good thing) or who bag it after the season is up. Some just do not like dealing with the two hours of weekly paperwork. If you are contemplating a campground manager position at some point, be sure to do some research. Ask yourself what kind of people you like to spend time with. If you enjoy being around lots of RVers, you might want a position in an RV park or a national park. Or get a position through There are also national forest campgrounds which gear t

chompin' to hit the road - big eyes at night,
homemade trailer, onyx and turkeys

I generally follow the geese south. Now I’m thinking of following the hummingbirds. They left the last week in August. I had to, at least, dig out Wright’s book and the Delorme atlases. Planned a tentative route to New Mexico for whenever this job is over. Went through three 25 pound bags of sugar this summer with the hummingbirds. A handful of birds stuck around for the first two weeks of September but finally left. Sure hope they still found flowers along the way. There have been some transients coming through but I’ve taken most of the feeders down, given them a good scrubbing with bleach, and stored them away for next summer. Guess I’ll try it here one more summer. It’s been pretty slow here since the forest fire. If the weekly take gets any lower, AL&L will probably tell me to wrap things up here. Oh well, so much for working until October 15. Finally hooked up the 50 watt solar panel. Works great. Way more power than I use. Before I head south, I’ll install it up on the roof

evicted - forest fire
Rizzlo is found

Well August started off with a twist. I got evicted. Lightning started a forest fire in the next canyon to the south. Hot Shot crews, 10 smoke jumpers, eight 20-person crews, a Type 1 helicopter, a Type 2 helicopter, and two Type 3 helicopters were assigned to the fire. Last night it came over the ridge and started burning down into South Willow Canyon. I took the night shot from in front of my camper at 4:00 am when one of the Hot Shot crews stopped by to give me a heads up. Everyone in the canyon was told to leave. When I left, the fire was close to the top two, of six, campgrounds. Now I hear it is two miles down the canyon. That would take in four campgrounds and possibly the old guard shack if it reached down to the road. We’ll see what’s left when I get back up there next week. I’m presently visiting friends in Salt Lake. One good point is that the fire crews rescued the lost dog. Rizzlo was out on his own for over a week coping with a night of thunder, lightning, and pouring rai

life in south willow canyon, UT
rattlesnakes, pack goats, didgeridoo, prayer flags,
connect-the-campers, and Rizzlo

Well, been here a month and its been okay. A lot of rattlesnakes, though. After seeing and hearing about over twenty, I stopped keeping track. Maybe I should learn how to milk venom to pick up some extra pocket change. There has not been any problems with them so most campers just leave them alone. Never thought I would be shooing rattlesnakes off the road with a broom so they would not get run over. Can one carry ahimsa too far? Don’t really think so. Fewer rowdy groups coming up. Most notable was probably the two groups up one Saturday night. Starting dealing with that situation at 12:30 when a camper drove down and gave me a heads up. Got back to bed at 2:30 am. Needless to say, when the alarm went off at 5:00 am, I did not get up and go out for a run. Had a fabulous hour the next morning going around talking with the campers in the other five sites affected by these lowlifes. Been getting a nice 3 1/2 to 4 hour hike in each week on my day off. Generally nice and quiet duri

campground job

Maxed out on the RV park so went off and dry camped for a couple nights in the Uintah’s before heading to my first campground position. Nothing special but at least there was breathing room. Good grief, how most can do RV parks all the time is beyond my comprehension. My trail runs are still giving me a beating&#151must be taking a full body slam to the ground two out of three runs. Sure do miss the mere tripping and stumbling from when I had foot speed. At least I’m seeing some progress towards my goal. Then there is the tick factor. With all the sage (tick heaven) around, I have to remember to check my body and clothes whenever I get back from a run. A couple of times I missed one and didn’t notice till later after it was dug in. For joy. The camper tires were three years old so got some new ones just to play it safe. Do too many dirt roads to mess around with questionable tires. There was still too much snow up at Bountiful Peak so they asked me to fill in at South Willow camp

not quite limbo

Have to stay in a RV park for two months, definitely not my favorite thing, but as you can see, for an RV park, it is not all that bad. When I got here at the end of March, the dirt roads out on public lands were under snow and now they are WAY too muddy. Am definitely chompin’ to get out and dry camp. Doesn’t look like I’ll be doing any of it until after my primitive campground host job ends at the end of September. If you use Google Earth, type in latitude: 40°58'54.29"N and longitude: 111°48'23.08"W. Will be nice there&#151but it’s not the boonies. Once the snow melted in the RV park, I moved to this site along the edge by a wooded section. Aren’t any other rigs in this corner so I let Meadow and Onyx out a couple times a day. They were sure ready after a month of walks on a leash. This site also has access to plenty of deadfall. Any night it isn’t too cold has me sitting out by a small campfire. I get in some decent hiking a few days a week over in Midway. No

heading north
weekday asphalt, BLM and
second mesa on the Hopi reservation

Springtime, time to start thinking of heading north. It’s nice to take a month or two to make the trip. This year, however, that time came WAY too early. My first job was in Park City, UT, starting at the end of March. Having lived in Park City in the past I knew what it was going to be like but it still felt like getting use to winter all over again. Down around Bisbee and Naco, AZ, I was wearing T-shirts and watching roadrunners. I pulled out Don Wright’s book and DeLorme AZ and UT map books and planned the route up. Wright’s book is pretty good but even with the current edition, many fees will be higher than those stated in the book. Also, sometimes a place listed in the book is no longer there. So, anyway, it has its faults but it is still a very useful resource for those who don’t like staying in RV parks. I probably find most of my camping spots with just DeLorme, anyway. BLM land and forest roads are easy to see. One thing to keep in mind if camping on BLM land that is used a

useful items to have along for full-time
dry-camping in small rigs

Here’s a list of items mentioned in the previous entry that I find useful for full-timing in a small trailer. Low Rider chair, either a Remington furniture chair from SLC, UT OR a chair from Blue Ridge Chair Works in Asheville, NC 7-gal Reliance water jug (I have 3 7-gal, 1 4-gal, and 1 2-gal jugs) (I’m no longer a fan of the 7-gallon jugs > read the October 2012 entry) I keep a 4’ hose handy for filling the Reliance water jugs when refilling the Reliance jugs from 5-gal buckets, a grain funnel purchased from a feed/ranch supply store works well. For a narrow neck, cut down an oil refill funnel Coleman stove (I have the old fuel type stove) (May 2012 update – If one will be doing one-pot meals, get a single-burner stove. I have yet to use the second burner so I purchased a single-burner stove and will be dropping my two-burner Coleman off at a thrift store) small one-piece European surplus shovel steel feed pan for campfires—CAL Ranch store $1 box of birthday candles for s