October in Utah: Busted

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Note to the reader. This report is about a 5-night trip we intended to do into the San Rafael Swell and Orange Cliffs unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. No photos, we were too bummed at the time. The participants were me, Judy and John G., Daisy and Louise.

A cursory look at the weather forecast didn't look good. As we got closer to Go Day it didn't get better, but on Saturday were all on our way. Too much momentum had built up and the only way to know was to go. By early afternoon it was raining hard in Monticello. I stopped at the Peace Tree Cafe to do a sit, wait, and try to come up with a reasonable idea about what to do. None came, so I moved on to Canyon Rims.

By the time I got to the campground, it had stopped raining for a bit and even warmed up, giving me a chance to commit to the fool's errand of setting up camp. I did that and it started to rain off and on for the duration of our stay in Utah. Judy and John and then Daisy and Louise came around. Daisy and Louise had to sit in traffic for 90 minutes in Shiprock while the annual parade went through town. I knew there was a yearly traffic horror story and had managed to avoid it. Now I know and so does anyone who reads this that you need to stay off Highway 64 in Shiprock on the first Saturday in October.

So we're all sitting in our cars at Wind Whistle Campground in Canyon Rims Recreation Area wondering what to do and Judy suggests we go to Needles Overlook. This was on the agenda anyway and it turned out to be the highlight of the trip that was consumed primarily by lowlights. After returning to the campsite, everyone else decided to head for Moab or Monticello and motel it for the night. I was committed and would stay the night at camp. We decided we would text or call each other with spotty cell service about a decision the next morning.

Sunday morning came and it was a foregone conclusion that this gig was over. All that was left was to communicate and go on to our devices and/or vices. My vice is that I like to get up really early on my last day in camp. I did that and was kind of enjoying breaking camp and eating a cold breakfast in between breaks in the rain. By 5:30 or so I was feeling pretty tall in my britches for doing that. Backing out of my dark-as-ink campsite onto the road, I was not able to judge distance and went right across and onto a slope on the other side where my rear wheels dug in real nice and tight.

So now it's 5:45 AM, in the dark, in the rain, and I'm stupidly stuck and I'm trying to come up with a reasonable idea of what to do for the second time in 24 hours. There were no reasonable solutions here. With that short thought experiment out of the way, it was time to unload the truck of all the gear and line up some 2x4s I had brought along for this purpose of building a ramp. The problem was though is that I could not get them lined up properly without guidance. I needed help.

I hate help but everyone needs it from time to time. There were a couple of fellas from Missouri in a nearby camp that I had been chatting with on Saturday. They had been sitting around their camp under their tarp in the rain for a couple of days and were bored. One of them was a big rig truck driver and he was already getting up when I went over there. He had heard the commotion, had an idea what was up and was happy to help. I was astounded and grateful. He lined me up and I escaped vehicular purgatory.

Neither of these guys would accept any remuneration or gift other than a heartfelt thanks and handshake.

Now all I had to do was head into cell range and let everyone know what they knew already. Stopping once again at Peace Tree, I ran into a couple of folks with appropriate attire for the activities they had planned, similar for the activities we once had planned. The young man asked me what conditions were like. I silently pointed to my rain and sand soaked boots and clothes. He understood. Next, I called Louise and Daisy to tell them it was off. She invited me over to their room for a bit and I thankfully did that changing into clean and dry clothes and cleaning up a bit. The motel was filling up with soaked denizens whose plans had been ruined or waylayed. Apparently, this was happening all over as I heard later from John as he and Judy were bounced from Moab to Monticello and finally to Cortez by booked up towns, dodging storms and traffic.

In conclusion, I believe that nothing was lost but time. We the participants of this voyage are of the vintage that there is not a whole lot of that left to us. Because of that, we are also very experienced and this kind of thing has happened to us before and will again. We learned much from this trip, the lessons of which we will use on others. Finally, we had an adventure. Short and prosaic but adventure still because that can only occur when things go wrong.
 

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#3
One of the better TRs on BCP!

Why? Well, reading about all the awesome trips with fantastic photos lately makes me feel bad because I've been stuck with an assortment of things keeping me from getting out.

Your TR was FANTASTIC because it not only made me feel better (selfish, I know), but reminded me of many such crazy endeavors and made me laugh. Funny how those can turn into fond memories later. Thanks!
 
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blueeyes

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#4
One of the better TRs on BCP!

Why? Well, reading about all the awesome trips with fantastic photos lately makes me feel bad because I've been stuck with an assortment of things keeping me from getting out.

Your TR was FANTASTIC because it not only made me feel better (selfish, I know), but reminded me of many such crazy endeavors and made me laugh. Funny how those can turn into fond memories later. Thanks!
Agreed! Sometimes things don't go as planned.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
 

Dr Nebz

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#5
Sorry things did not work out as you had planned. I've been there. But the best thing is that you made it out. Not all adventures are sunsets and clear skies. That would be boring. Sometimes these places test us. It makes us rise to the moment. Any day in the wild is better than a day at the office. Thanks for sharing!
 
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#6
As I type this from Cliff Dwellers, where I got a room tonight to wash off the mud from lower Cathedral Wash earlier today. I started trying to dodge rain last Thursday outside Vernal at McKonkie ranch petroglyphs with a stop in the Colorado National Monument, then Black Canyon of the Gunnison, then Chaco for a couple nights more of rain, Then back up to Mesa Verde for a little snow, and finally back to Utah, had to dodge more boulders then cars going up the Moki last night to rest at Muley Point. Every long hike I had planned, washed out, replaced by one park after another. Still, some awesome sights as usual. Headed into the white pocket tomorrow on my way back north to Washington. FInally found 70 degrees today along the Colorado in Vermillion Cliffs. Could have stayed in Washington for rain. Still and all, wettest / coldest day has been better then the best day at work. I got to watch a 5 pt bull 20 yards off the road one morning in Chaco and a couple of small bucks practitcing their sparing in Mesa Verde. I found a full campground late one evening in Chaco and an empty one for the most part in Mesa Verde. The guy that moved his car closer to my truck in the visitor center parking lot was amusing as I tried to sleep. Not sure what his reason was, his original spot was a good as mine one row back, he was still sleeping when I left in the morning to watch the elk and enjoy the Pueblos before anyone came along. The rental camper van that parked 10 feet from me in the dark last night at Muley Point was irritating, although they did sleep through a nice sunrise before the rain clouds won. Since I get up early I had to open and close all my doors numerous times this morning searching for something, I am not sure they were sleeping at least I hope not.
 
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#7
You were resilient and adaptive. Sometimes 5 days of rain throws plans out of gear. That's how we ended up in Organ Pipe Cactus National monument. Thanks for sharing the adventure, I read it several times @SKLund !
 
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Thread starter #8
One of the better TRs on BCP!

Why? Well, reading about all the awesome trips with fantastic photos lately makes me feel bad because I've been stuck with an assortment of things keeping me from getting out.

Your TR was FANTASTIC because it not only made me feel better (selfish, I know), but reminded me of many such crazy endeavors and made me laugh. Funny how those can turn into fond memories later. Thanks!
You have that exactly right. Type II fun is what it's called.
 
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#10
I used to like the Peace Tree when I lived in Moab, but they remodeled and it got too busy (good for them but not me). I like the one in Monty lots better, but I haven't been there for awhile. Wish I had a hot latte from there right now...it's snowing hard here in Glenwood Springs.
 

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#12
Screw the Peace Tree in Monticello. I stopped there in the evening once because I wanted a smoothie and they told me they didn't serve them that late...just dinner. ...and they call themselves a Juice Cafe...
That reminds me of a story my friend told me about going into the Burger King in Green River. There were six of them, and they went in to get shakes. The kid behind the counter served the first three, then looked at the clock and said they didn't make shakes after a certain time and refused to serve the others. They complained to the cashier at the convenience store attached to the Burger King and she told them he did that all the time.
 
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#14
Our office is in El Jebel. A tree branch just dumped about 5lbs. of snow on my head.
LOL hope you're OK. It's still coming down here in Glenwood, but the flakes are almost raindrops, much smaller than earlier. We have about an inch, but it's quickly turning into slush. Have some downed limbs, too. (Whoops, sorry for the thread derail.)
 
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#15
That reminds me of a story my friend told me about going into the Burger King in Green River. There were six of them, and they went in to get shakes. The kid behind the counter served the first three, then looked at the clock and said they didn't make shakes after a certain time and refused to serve the others. They complained to the cashier at the convenience store attached to the Burger King and she told them he did that all the time.
Shoulda gone to Chow Hound
 
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#16
LOL hope you're OK. It's still coming down here in Glenwood, but the flakes are almost raindrops, much smaller than earlier. We have about an inch, but it's quickly turning into slush. Have some downed limbs, too. (Whoops, sorry for the thread derail.)
More thread derail from me @Rockskipper ...
Snow is better...It’s pouring again here and we just lost power. Some pole down again. I was right in the middle of writing a nice trip report from yesterday, bummer. Rick just started the generator up. It never ends. Not that long ago a drunk driver took a pole or two down and fled into the forest....
 
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#17
Are you in Boulder Titans?

I just took the dogs out - lots of trees down, one fell on a car across the street from a friend's and he lost his big ole apricot. Tree carnage. But we have power. Good thing, cause it makes me crave good hot home-made spaghetti from Marie Callender.
 
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#19
Are you in Boulder Titans?

I just took the dogs out - lots of trees down, one fell on a car across the street from a friend's and he lost his big ole apricot. Tree carnage. But we have power. Good thing, cause it makes me crave good hot home-made spaghetti from Marie Callender.
Nope @Rockskipper - not in Boulder right now (North East now), but we will soon be in Denver and out West. Power just came back on, so I can finish the trip report from yesterday's hike. It's been cloudy and raining non stop all fall it seems (except 2 fabulous days this week).
 

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