Saturday, May 9, 2015

All Roads Lead To Roam Part 1, Roam, Roam On The Range

Gosh what a spring. After a short eight months living the dream in Durango we've moved back to Phoenix to live another dream, that of close proximity to grand babies. Identical twin girls in fact, Parker and Zoe, pronounced Zoey, don't you know. Zoe had some serious issues right out of the gate and will deal with them for a while. At least she's home now and as they say, "time" will heal. As you can see, she is already perfecting "the pose," and can do it with her eyes closed. While I have to keep eyes open, so I can see where my hands are. 

I have to ask, who wouldn't come back for grand babies like these? 


Sooo, while waiting for our Phoenix house to close escrow I had a few weeks to wander, so I wondered where to go. It would be solo since Mrs. Whazoo was already back at her old job and funding the wandering. Hey look, she was living at her sister's and I had no place to stay. That's my story and, well, you know the story. Off I went...to discover that all roads lead to Roam.


There's a little incontinuity in the trip because I jumped around so much, like a flea on a hot girdle. I mean hot griddle, of course. Starting off east of Kanab, Utah, I was looking for a 4wheel road to a canyon I wanted to see again. Because of the trees that look so small on Google Earth I was stopped by the shortest of hairpin turns that berm you right in to those full size junipers and after about three miles of puckering at the sound of near punctures I made a turn around. The road had a pole vault standard right over the road and I wondered, would you vault higher or lower if you had to clear barbed-wire? I think I'd wear a cup if I was trying to clear it though, not wanting to end up giving you a bum steer named Whazoo.


The next morning I was surprised to see this tree. I figured it was doing one of two things. It had either eaten a poor cowboy except for his boots, or it was in fact re-booting. Don't boo me now or the puns will get worse, I promise. Ah, I heard that.


Not having my model Mrs. Whazoo to, well, model for me I'll have to use some pictures of a tc on occasion. You've never seen this tc now have you?


And some plain ol scenery pics. I know I know, borrring. Change the channel, there's got to be something better on rv.net right now.


Then off to the Escalante area, another favorite place for eye candy of the southwest sort. I called this Quail Rock.




There's an arch down there I wanted to see but I wasn't in the best of walking shape. I'd heard it was a pleasant walk-about though and was excited for the next day, it would be about 9 or 10 miles round trip.




There's a tc in this picture somewhere, put on your reading glasses.


I've discovered that using an LED flashlight for some night pictures doesn't work well, they're too bright.

I remember someone doing a picture like this last Halloween I think. I see you and raise you one ghost, or whatever. No, it's not photoshop.


Heading out in the morning, I'm not sure why it's called "heading" as my feet were obviously leading the way. But then heading does sound better than feeting or footing I guess. How about a western cowboy term, hoofing it. Ok there it is, hoofing it out in the morning I put myself in the position of having to cross and walk down this cool sandstone pour off. The sandstone ledges were small under foot and at a real steep angle, making me rely on the new and improved rubber that lines the bottoms of our hiking boots. I had read a description somewhere that the new term for what I was doing is now called "friction walking." That confuses me because back in "the day" the term "hiking" pretty much covered every thing you did in the great outdoors on foot. Maybe "scrambling" was in there too but I just can't see me as a kid, coming home after a long day and saying "Sorry I'm late for dinner Mom, I was out friction walking all day." 


There were some nice sized water holes, some with water from the last rain. 


A dry hole was a great place to practice my hand shadows. Ok, I'll admit it, the truck and camper were photoshopped.


There were Donkey Balls, frozen in rock half eaten away by wind.


And sand, endless stretches of sand. Doubling the workout by putting a serious drag on my footsteps.


Then the rarest of precious gems, Nippleonium. Something not seen very often around these parts, nor any other as of late.


This alcove looked promising so I walked over.


I wasn't sure what it promised yet when I looked up, it promised to be a full blown arch in the very far future.


Stone walls and sand floor. What once was sand became stone, now becoming sand again. What a process it is to think about.

Another pour off, this one with a fabulous pool underneath.




Spring was coming to this part of the canyon. Spring, Mrs. Whazoo's favorite time of year. Mine is fall, but she likes the new growth. Mrs. Whazoo, this Bud's for you...


The water just starting to show was colorful to say the least. And ugly at the same time, to say the most. Looking like something left from an oil spill upstream.




I should have known, as I stepped down with full weight on the wet sand. I've stepped in it before and know it's puckered look...


Quicksand. Luckily I'm still pretty quick on my feet, even if they do stumble a bit now. I've had to retrieve low top hiking shoes before as they were yanked and sank in the sand. Once, with the extra weight of a backpack on my back, the sand finally stopped at my knees. Having to throw the pack off and flop around on the sand to pull the legs out I'm sure the stream creatures had a  laugh. I never did see those low tops again, finishing the 30 something miles of the Paria in my water shoes.


At last the water was cleaning up it's act. I stuck my boot in the water to do the same.


I started to climb out of the canyon to look for the Arch. There were some places where climbing straight up was necessary. Being alone I'm getting timid in my old age. Knowing the knees don't bend well, the arms don't pull well and well, I'm just an old guy now, wandering and wondering how much longer I can do this. The Arch was called Phipps Arch and I wondered, could Mr. Phipps have made the mission a little more possible for me? Yes, I do know, thank you very much. I watched the show endlessly.


The Arch was gorgeous, and all mine today.




I did my own version of an arch. A small arch, as I arched my back to take this picture.


It looked to be an area of birthing arches. In a few millennia I have no doubt there will be many others to take their place in the archives of arches. And I wonder, why is archives pronounced with a "k" when it is spelled like an arch, with ives?


These incredible looking trees seemed to grow right up next to the sandstone walls, giving great contrast. 


Hiking back upstream I came upon a crossroads. And I wondered, who was coming and who was going? So I too, came and went.


Ribbons and variegations of color in the sandstone have always made me wonder. Where they caused by the flow of water as the sand hardened? Or by the pressure of geologic forces during it's formation? Ah, to be a smarter person would be good. Or, I could just google it. Knowledge is so passe these days, don't you think?




As I clumb out of the canyon. As I climbed out of the canyon. As I hoofed it out of the canyon I was admiring the view and once again found myself friction walking. I'm getting good I have to say, and think it should be a dance. Michael Jackson had the Moon Walk, Whazoo has the Friction Walk.


Dinner that night was scrumptious. Pulled pork sliders, stuffed olives and potato salad, all made from scratch...


As I scratched my head and wondered, "What do I heat up first, the potato salad?"


Leaving the Escalante area the next day I could see this fellow was tired of saying "Keep Out." Tired. Keep Out. OK I told you the puns would get worse now didn't I?


I mean Holy cow you guys never listen to me. I warned you...


I'm not telling where I went next, but giving some picture clues instead. It's a place we went to about fifteen years ago as a family in a Jeep. 


While hiking along one of my young daughters needed to make a quick stop. Of course that meant hiking over a hill to get some privacy since there weren't any trees in the area. Shortly she came running back over the hill and told us what she'd found, by accident. And off over that hill we all went.

Little Jen, now Mother to our Grand Babies, had found the Mother Lode of petrified wood.


It was incredible looking wood in that it was black.


There were some kind of crystals laying around also, beautiful to be hold.





I drove another few miles to camp. It was a fabulous place, a colorful place.


With some of the largest pieces of petrified wood I have ever seen. Not that I've seen a lot, but these trees were definitely old growth.










I had to laugh a little at my future son-in-law. Yes, my youngest daughter is engaged so not only do we have two new Grand Babies from our oldest daughter but a new SIL to be for the youngest. My SILTB is a great guy and thinks enough of me to buy a "return to Arizona" gift. And I wondered as I began to suck on my Arizona lollipop, did they take the stinger out?


Right there next to camp, in a tree, were shelves of rock. Who put them there? Was it a child, or an adult with a child's mind? Nope, wasn't me, I'm not that shelfish. But it sure was a strange sight, right in there with a rebooting tree.




After dinner, a fire. 


Next morning's walk yielded some rock art. Not Peter Max, yet I could tell this person was a wildlife pictographer.




This next sight had me bumfuzzled. Who or what would take a perfect looking bite out of a cactus?


No way, wasn't me I swear. You can't prove it either.




I stopped to jaw with this guy. He mentioned the need for a dentist, but I didn't think he had the spine for it.


Another strange sight...


Who was ribbing me as I hiked this dry canyon? 


FINALLY! I'll say it again, FINALLY I've discovered the reason behind all those "Wilderness Study" signs put out by the BLM. They are surely trapping wild grass for study. They had better hurry, some grass is making it's escape!


Stopping early to enjoy the evening, the wind was blowing across the top of my beer bottle, giving me a hoot.


To my wife: I don't know what night it is, not without checking. I'm sitting in my chair behind the camper, perched on a hill looking over other hills and trees. The kind of place we like to camp together, with a view as far as we can see. The wind is blowing. Not hard but enough to give the trees their voices, your favorite sound in the world. They're whispering to me now in so many different sounds and pitches, all saying the same thing. I miss you Dear, and whish you were here. Whish, whish, wish you were here, whish...


The next morning found me driving up a narrow canyon. Or did I find myself  driving up a narrow canyon? 




It still amazes me, the places we get to see from the comfort of our small homes on wheels.




These next few arches are all seen from the window of the truck as I drove along.


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Way back in the canyon, I fell in love.


If the owners had been there I would have demanded a tour. And if it had a diesel engine I would have stole it. What an oh-so very cool rig, I'd never seen one before, and it was a dually.


I was up for another hike that morning. I didn't know then but it would become one of my all-time favorites. Full of arches and incredible views, another solo hiker had told me of this place. If my quads had known how hard it would be they might have stayed at the camper.








The rock concert was about to start. It was Joe Walsh doing his best rendition of "Turn To Stone." And a hush fell over the crowd.



The sign was virtually unreadable, seeming to be as old as the dead juniper behind it. 


It lead me to views of the two types of sandstone separated by the narrow canyon. The deep red Wingate Sandstone, forming arches as it dips under the white Navajo Sandstone.


Ahoy, another sign that showed me the way in this ocean of sandstone..


And gave me the most incredible views of the Waterpocket Fold of Capitol Reef.






I offered a sacrifice, before I stuffed it in my mouth. Yes, that's the impression of an iPhone on the sandwich. They were cozy in the pack, jamming as I hiked.




Little did I realize as I gaped at those inspiring vistas, that the "trail" would have me going up and down the ridgeline for the remaining hike.


My quadriceps cried when they saw that we did indeed have to climb every peak.


A closer shot of the Waterpocket Fold as it unfolded on it's way to Glen Canyon.

Arches that I had looked up to see were now at eye level or below.






An apple was in my pack, waiting to see the world one last time. And I wondered, how much do they pay a guy to put stickies on an apple? And do they lick them first?






The red sandstone pinnacles looked other worldly to me. What a fantastical place that was.




Before I knew it the hike was over. My legs rejoiced without me, my mind and eyes were wishing for more.




It had been fifteen years since I had driven the twists of the Burr Trail, the road was much better now than then. I sat there and thought, the Moqui Dugway has nothing on the Burr Trail here where the road doubles back on itself.




The sight of grand vistas were burning their images in my brain after being decoded by my eyes. Surely my eyes were working well, the corneas not burned from over-saturation, my retinas not detached by the beauty. Or were these colors from my dreams?












A little goofing going on...


Even now, looking at these pictures, I can't believe I was in such a place. Of course I'm not a pioneer, fighting the land. The weather had been good to me and the truck and camper worked together perfectly to give me the best trip possible, it was easy. Is it because I'm going back to live in Phoenix, a place that has made me no longer afraid of Hell? Did I deserve this trip? I prefer to think of it in the perspective of a sentence uttered by Clint Eastwood, "Deserve's got nothin to do with it." Once again...I was lucky.

Thanks for reading, there may be a part two...if life let's me get around to it.
Whazoo


Whazoo's totally worthless thoughts:
I keep hearing over and over again, "Swipe your card." I want to say back, "Why would I swipe my own card, it's already mine?" I also want to wear thongs again. Yes, those things now called flip flops, on my feet. I don't like flip flops, that is something that people do, flip flop. They were once "Zorries" too, still I like thongs. When I think of thongs I think of the beech and the sand that gets between my feet and my thongs. I miss the good ol days, when a kid could go hiking over slickrock without friction walking, and texting wasn't even a word you could use in Scrabble.


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