Tuesday, November 27, 2012

sweat lodge, a mistake, a second shelter,
2nd spot in the canyon rims area
and cryptobiotic soil



After three weeks, I broke camp and made a run into Moab for supplies and to see a couple friends. I had breakfast with Lisa at Love Muffin CafĂ© like the last time. It’s always a treat to see her and the Muffin has good food and sidewalk tables. Then I picked up some stuff at the food co-op. Afterwards I stopped in at Arches Electronics to see if I could get a replacement Nikon Coolpix. The owner was getting ready to close the store for the winter and he gave me a stellar deal on a model S9300. Two upgrades from my S9100 and it was $50 less than what I paid for the 9100. I asked if he had any 10x50 binoculars—and he gave me another good price. It was like christmas in October. Then I spent almost three hours on the web; too long but I still did not finish the work I wanted to do. I sure miss daily access to the web. It’s such a fabulous learning tool.
Later I met Theresa for coffee and went back to her place to fill up my water jugs. It was the end of October and Theresa and David were still harvesting from their large garden. They cover some of the plants at night and use cinderblocks for heat retention. They also grow the best garlic I’ve ever had, German extra hardy. I left their place with lettuce; tomatoes; cloves of German extra hardy, kettle river, and music pink; a basil plant; and a pot with some garlic gloves planted in it.
I picked up a bottle of Bordeaux at the state liquor store, which I’ll squirrel away until the winter solstice. By the time I took care of laundry, groceries, gas, and propane, I realized I was leaving Moab way too late. It had rained a bit and had turned cold (winter coat cold). As I passed the La Sal Mountains along rt191, there was snow on the peaks. It was dark before I reached my turnoff. This is becoming a big mistake. With my cataracts, night vision is the pits. Hunters were heading home along this road and the headlights pretty much blinded me. Almost hit a BLACK cow. She was right there on the road one time as I was getting my vision back and I just managed to swerve around her. First time I had to swerve while hauling a trailer (I’m not talkin’ about a weave, here). I no longer drive at night but I wasn’t keeping track of time. I’ll have to be more aware of this in the future. This was definitely not smart, let alone safe. Then finding a spur road in the dark that was drivable and a spot to camp just kept making this whole experience more bizarre. And then there was M&M. They had been cooped up in the Dodge for over 13 hours. They needed a break so I let them out when I found a spot to spend the night. I figured they would not stay out for long since it was pretty cold and they had not eaten all day (Meadow would have chucked it back up). I keep only water out for them on a moving day. After they came in I gave them an extra treat and in the morning moved a short distance to a more appropriate spot to camp.

I came across this structure while meandering around the last spot. There were not any tracks around it. I stepped on sticks and rocks to not leave any tracks of my own nor did I want to walk on the cryptobiotic soil. It might have been nice to heat up some rocks and take a sweat bath.

This is the kind of spot I look for when it starts to turn cold. A couple days after visiting Moab, it started to warm up a bit. For most of the next 3 weeks there were only a couple nights in the 20s with most of them in the upper 30s and lower 40s. The days were generally in the 60s. Quite a few double tracks in the area for running. This type of spot is different from the other spots I’ve taken the last 3 years through here but it had enough to make it worthwhile and I would use it again. The land around this second camping spot offered great walks with M&M in the late afternoons.
The silence of early morning in the canyon rims area is so total—so serene and relaxing. That alone keeps me coming back.

Glen gave me directions to another possible camping spot and I biked down there one morning to check it out. Maybe I’ll use it next fall. The trailer would fit on the rock where the bike is. There’s another spot I came across while out running one morning from my first spot. I’ll probably try to camp there also. It’s up on a rocky hill with a double track going up the sloped side.

While meandering with M&M one afternoon, I came across a second structure. It’s smaller than the first one but again, looks old with no footprints around it (which is generally always a good thing).

Cryptobiotic soil is quite prevalent down in the Canyon Rims area. The soil is a biological soil crust composed of living cyanobacteria, brown and green algae, lichens, fungi, and/or mosses. You might know it by one of its other names. This soil crust contributes to the health of other plants by stabilizing sand and dirt and promoting moisture retention. It’s pretty cool but extremely fragile. One does not want to go walking across it. It can take a few years to over a century for all the species in the soil to recover.

I pack a small pair of binoculars (8x21) when I go off on a hike and I have a pair of 7x35 that I use around camp. I don’t think I’ve used binoculars as much as I have this year so I started to think about getting a more powerful pair. I read that one can hold a 10x steady enough to not be bothersome and that seems to be the case. I enjoy the wide angle of my Minalta 7x (192m @ 1,000m). The new 10x50 isn’t wide angle but it does not seem to matter. Maybe because I’m usually looking at stuff farther away than with the 7x and there’s plenty of field of view.

Carry binoculars—one should always see as far as one can.


The last 2 nights were in the lower teens. The first few of each year always seem tougher to cope with. The first morning the furnace wouldn’t turn on. Guano (cold guano). I did some cleaning that day and it lit the next morning. The Wave catalytic heater sure has been a lifesaver over the years. I’m going to make sure my next trailer has wall space to mount a larger model, however. 3,000 BTUs is nowhere near enough on cold days. My last water container froze pretty solid. There was an inch of snow one night. It stayed cold all day and the second night was colder. Probably time to head over to New Mexico for the winter. Bummer. I called Siscily and she and Paul have already left Chama so I’ll miss seeing her this year. They’re doing fine and did some kayaking at Lake Powell and Lake Mead on the way to western Arizona.
I’m still using the solar bag for washing my hair but no way was I going to wash my body out there. The last few uses were a tad unpleasant. I’m sure looking forward to taking some indoor hot showers!

I had these lines written down from somewhere but I have no idea from where. Someone was asked a question. His answer was an idea I wanted to remember.

“ ‘What advice would you give to the ungainly and unconfident who don’t have the benefit of your daily support?’
Well, everyone is ungainly in one way or another. For most of my life I thought I was a technical imbecile. Until a friend of mine pointed out to me how often I say that. I then changed that particular inner message to, ‘I’m quite good at learning about technical stuff.’ Since then, I’ve been able to learn to figure out new software really fast. My suggestion is to change what you tell yourself about your abilities. I’m convinced that anyone can achieve success, if they’re willing to learn and be patient.”

October sixty minutes sixty years— 2225 minutes
October Triple 18—pecs/delts: 1930; core: 1955; legs: 1860

Life is at its best when it’s shaken and stirred.


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’
FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006