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Here I Come
Written By: OC Fotoguy
*Click images below to view larger versions.
Here I Come
Here I Come
Here I Come
Here I Come
Here I Come
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Here I Come
Here I Come
    I’m out of Las Vegas and heading east.  I like the sound of that.  There’s always a point in my adventure to places warm when it’s snowin’ and blowin’ in Ocean City, when I miss the beach, steamed crabs, and home; maybe I’m there.  I enjoyed Vegas and was fascinated watching the people on St. Patrick ’s Day.  They really performed, out did the bands, and the light show!
    Now, I’m going to spend a week or so north of the Grand Canyon starting with Toro Weap, which I know I may or may not get to.  The 65 miles of unimproved (not maintained in any way) road may or may not be drivable.  Then I want to go to Bryce Canyon, Utah (www.nps.gov/brca/index.htm), but it’s 8,000+ feet in elevation.  I have trouble breathing, after every 10 steps or so I have to rest, and can’t hike (walk) the trails.  Living at sea level, then being at that elevation is too much.  The who dos, rock formations, are fantastic, but the forecast says the high twenties at night!  That could be snow.  The up side is clear crisp photos in the morning.  I’ll keep the heater running in the truck as I snap photos at the overlooks.  I wanted to go to the slot canyons south Escalante, but I don’t want to deal with another washboard road.  Next will be Capitol Reef (http://www.nps.gov/care/index.htm), a National Park that most people have never heard of, and the elevation is about 2,000 feet, low for Utah.  It’s close to ... nowhere on the east side of Escalante – Staircase National Monument (www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/grand_staircase-escalante.html), which is a real NoWhereLand.  That’s why I love it.  There’s a great walk up a cliff, across a high plateau that leads to a big arch.  I could do that walk every day and be happy.  The visitor center has fresh strawberry shortcake on Saturdays (Someday I’ll get my timing right.) and all kinds of fruit pies baked from fruit grown right there.  The forecast is good, my truck is running great, my nest is working, and I’m feeling good, so here I come.
    This morning started with consternation and uncertainty.  The weather was great, clear blue sky and the sun was shining brightly.  A discussion was going on in my brain.  I really wanted to go to Toro Weap, but did I want to take the risk of what I knew was a terrible road?  I thought long and hard and decided to give it a try, but decided to stop and look at my map of the area.  I looked at Bryce Canyon’s location.  There were all paved smooth roads that would take me 2-3 hours to get there.  Toro Weap was closer, but the road would be torturous and could take much longer.  I decided to give it a try anyhow.  I put the key in the ignition and turned it - nothing.  The truck didn’t start.  The engine wasn’t getting any power from the battery to start.  Was I being told something?  Maybe there is a greater power!  I got my auxiliary battery, jumper cables, and hooked it to the battery in the truck and the engine started.  Then, I checked the wires to the battery; the one to the positive post was somewhat loose.  After tightening it, more thinking, I steered the truck towards interstate US 15 and Bryce Canyon.  The torturous road and all it could cause - I don’t need!  I’m glad I’ve been to Toro Weap, it’s the most outstanding remote, peopless, gorgeous view of the Grand Canyon, but I think it has passed to that Not Again List for me.  I’m all about enjoying what Mother Nature has to show me, but in places that are easier to get to.
    Here at Bryce most of the ground is covered with snow, but I wore sandals all day, without a coat (I didn’t bring one!), and the sun shined brightly.  This evening it’s going to get chilly though.  There’re lots people camping in tents, Brrrrr!  I used to do that, but no more.  That may’ve been first on the Not Again List before I began the list.  I’ll be toasty warm in my nest.  On the way I drove through the little town of Panguitch and passed the Smoke House Restaurant & Bar. Its rustic appearance indicated it’s been there for a very long time.  Looks like a great place for tomorrow’s supper, some NCAA Tournament Bball, and I’ll bet I can park my nest somewhere close overnight.  I spent the day doing landscape photos of the who dos of Bryce Canyon, that stretches from horizon to horizon and the sky trimmed in snow was the bluest of blue, that I’ll stitch them together as panoramas.  
    Then it was time for the Cowboy Smoke House, BBQ and Bball and I headed there.  As I pulled up I saw a “Sorry Closed” sign.  It’s not the season here yet, but it sure looked open yesterday.  Now, what am I going to do?  I bought gas and headed back to Bryce, checking for other places to watch the games, but saw none.  I got to the camping area, drove through it, and found no open camp sites.  I asked at the visitor center if another area would be opened.  They said no!  Whoops!  I’m nearly 200 miles from Capitol Reef N.P. my next stop. I really wanted to take a leisurely drive there, and it’s almost 4pm.  Oooooh, there was nowhere else in town I was interested in. There’s plenty of BLM land where camping is unrestricted, and I know there’s a closed Forest Service Camping Area just a little off the road.
    I head there and found a spot.  There were two vans tucked behind some trees. I take a spot that’s more visible from the road, but level, and go for a walk.  Here it’s over 7,000 feet in elevation so it’s a slow walk and I concentrate on framing red rock formations surrounded by evergreen boughs, nice.  Then I see at the top of a ridge with formations that look like heads and people.  I try to compose a photo with only them.  I’ll see what I can do with it when I down load them.  It was a very relaxing walk; now I’ll see if the local fuznics will bother me, and make me move tonight.  I also noticed the clouds were setting up to possibly color at sunset.  I’ll go out and see.  Doesn’t look so promising, so I’ll edit photos, listen to some music I’ve ripped to my lap top (starting with the Counting Crows), sip a few ACBs, and eat chips for a while, and hit the sack early.  Then, if I get roused in the middle of the night I’ll have had a good nap.  If not I’ll get an early start in the morning for my NoWhereLands.
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
more photos @ picasaweb.google.com/o.c.fotoguy2009
& facebook.com/OCfotoguy
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