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Trans-Canada Trip – 2009 October 5, 2009

Posted by Kim in Camping, My Trip Logs, Photos, Travel, Uncategorized.

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Earlier this year, I was recruited by my cousin Tommy to help move his 36 foot Airstream trailer from where he had been keeping it near Palm Springs to his current home in Tampa, During the planning stage, we decided it would be much more fun and adventuresome if we were not to just travel I-10/I-75 directly to Tampa. Say, something different… like head north then follow the Trans-Canada Highway east to Nova Scotia than continue south hugging the east coast back to Florida.

Mid June, I flew west meeting Tommy in Las Vegas where he and the trailer picked me up on his way to his brother Bing’s house in St. George, UT. After a two week plus visit while waiting for Tommy’s son Danny to receive his passport and join us, we head west where we planned on following the Pacific coast north to British Columbia then on to Novia Scotia. One other person would join us before we leave St. George… Megan. She happened to be visiting Bing and Betty when we arrived and asked if she could possibly tag along for the trip. A final crew is fixed. There are four of us… Tommy, Danny, Megan and me (Kim). A reasonable number considering the size of the trailer and truck (crew cab pickup).

I had hoped to keep a trip log while traveling but failed to do so. I did manage to document our trip with photographs which I have posted as set (album) on my Flickr site. The images are in chronological order and I have annotated a few to establish location. Clicking on the above collage will take you to the album.

One final note regarding this trip- After over 7 weeks on the road and reaching only as far east as mid Ontario, we decided to drop down into Michigan, visit Charlivoix (where both Tommy and I had spent some time when we were kids) then head south back home to Tampa. We will save the 2nd half of the trip for another time. It seems we wanted to spend extra time in almost every place we passed through. There is just too many beautiful vistas in North America and rushing through them without spending time to enjoy just doesn’t satisfy ones craving for adventure, or for just “Being There”.

For those interested, link here for a map of our route.


Ga-lump, Ga-lump, Ga-lump… Click, Click, Click… Ga-lump Ga-lump, Ga-lump June 23, 2007

Posted by Kim in Camping, Cruising, My Trip Logs, Travel, Utah.
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Rainbow Bridge

When my cousin asked his neighbor whether or not she had ever visited The Rainbow Bridge near Lake Powell and if so, was the trip worthwhile, she answered; “All morning to get there; Ga-lump, Ga-lump, Ga-lump… Take a few pictures; Click, Click, Click… Then all afternoon going home; Ga-lump Ga-lump, Ga-lump. 80 some miles of fighting the waves and dodging boats.” Well… it was something we had to try.


Earlier this week, we loaded up the Air Stream, the 15 foot Boston Whaler and hooked them up to 2 cars and headed for Page, Arizona, Lake Powell and the worlds tallest and longest natural bridge… The Rainbow Bridge. The only practical access to this National Monument is by boat on Lake Powell. The current closest launch ramp is at Antelope Point Marina a short distance from Page, AZ some 150 miles east of St. George, UT. From the launch ramp it is approximately 40 miles to the bridge.


We spend the night at an RV park in Page and after breakfast Wednesday we launch the boat and head out on our quest. Shortly, it becomes apparent we will be sharing the lake with many, many other boaters. Although we had little wind the “seas” were choppy. All that excess boat traffic through the relatively narrow fingers of the lake make for very unusual, haphazard wave patterns. Our little Whaler was jumping all over the place (Ga-lump, Ga-lump, etc.) We have a portable GPS with us so finding the narrow Forbidding Canyon leading to the bridge was no problem and several hours after launch, we approach the courtesy dock about a mile and a half hike from Rainbow Bridge. We are not alone as the dock is crowded with boats. We have probably the smallest boat there so it isn’t difficult squeezing in to the dock. We definitely won’t be alone in our trek to Rainbow Bridge. It is HOT, but we take our time and reach the bridge where we take a short timeout to catch our breath and enjoy the sights. The park service has a ranger on duty I guess to keep people from attempting to climb over the bridge. He tells us that until a few years ago, there was a registry book on top of the bridge for those climbing to the top to sign. The Native Indians have long considered this natural wonder to be a holy site and have expressed concerns about visitors approaching or walking under the bridge. Today the National Park Service asks that you visit this site in a manner respectful of its significance to the people who have long held Rainbow Bridge sacred. Yes… we did do a bit of “Clicking”… Additional photos of the trip can be found in my Picasa Album.


The return was pretty much a repeat of the trip out… We did stop at the remote “Dangling Rope Marina” some 10 miles from the bridge to sample some of its renowned soft-serve ice cream. The ranger we met at the bridge insisted it was a “must” thing to do. The only access to this marina is by boat but it is spacious and new and filled with people. In addition to the ice cream, they maintain a small supply store, ice house and fuel dock. The ice house was interesting… a semi-truck trailer on a barge (2 of them). There were a number of larger house boats docked stocking up. The ice cream was excellent. It was really more like frozen custard… much better than what you would get at most fast food outlets. We make one additional stop before returning to the boat ramp. We navigate up a small side canyon and find a small sandy spot where we anchor the boat and take a swim. The water was cool, but it felt really great on our hot, dusty bodies. By the time we leave our swimming hole, the sun is low and we have to head right into it for the remainder of the trip which thankfully isn’t that much farther. It was a long tiring day by the time we got beck to the RV park. We had traveled some 82 miles round trip in something over 5 and ½ hours of lots-a bouncin’ around. There would be no problems getting to sleep that night.

From St. George to the High Uintas June 7, 2007

Posted by Kim in Camping, Fishing, My Trip Logs, Travel, Utah.
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The High Uintas

Here I am in St. George, Utah getting behind in my Writing… I have been here since the 15th of May and during that time we have made only one trip outside the immediate area worth writing about. Last Monday, my cousin Bing, his wife Betty and I left here and headed north. Our goal was to explore some of northern Utah east of Salt Lake City… in particular, part of the High Uintas. The overall plan was to take several days getting there and to enjoy some sightseeing and fishing on the way. Our first night, we found a small US Forest Campground in Beaver Valley about 150 miles north of St. George. This beautiful little valley follows Beaver Creek within the Fishlake National Forest and is an area we have camped and fished before but wanted to revisit. During our first night out, Bing and I both came down with something… he worse than I. He ended up spending most of the next day in the local emergency room at the hospital in Beaver getting re-hydrated. We have yet to get a final report, but possible cause was E. Coli or some other bacterial infection probably from something we ate. We stopped for dinner shortly before setting up camp and both of us had the fried fish dinner while Betty had something different and didn’t get sick. Anyway, this kind of put a damper on our fishing for that and the next 2 days until recovered enough to continue our adventure. We did check out Little Reservoir Lake late the second evening and noted a very healthy fish feed in progress but were still not feeling well enough to break out the rods. Our next stop was at a small Utah State Campground north of Provo near Heber City. We were still in recovery mode and, instead of fishing the Provo River as we had intended, we just sort of previewed the area. There was no lack of fishermen but no one seemed to be catching. One fisherman we talked to said they had just increased the water flow from the Jordanelle Dam and the change in water flow and temperature had put the fish down. “Come back next week when they reduce the flow back to normal if you want fish…” Near our campsite, there was a small, unpublicized and unimproved hot spring my cousin was familiar with. It was less than 5 minutes from the trailer and was a key reason in our selection of that campsite. It is a crystal clear spring bordering a swampy area with a water temperature bordering on “Too Hot” for me. A local said she thought the water temperature to be about 115 deg. F. Bing thought it great but then again he has spent time in Japan where such things are the norm. We spent 2 nights here before moving on into what would be virgin territory for all three of us… the High Uintas. Leaving Kamas, taking State Highway 150, we traveled “up” some 25 miles to a recommended campground on Washington Lake in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. This was recommended to us by a Forest Ranger when we stopped to purchase a recreation pass to the area. At over 10,000 feet, this campground is the highest any of us has ever stayed in. It is actually above the Aspen, into the Lodge Pole Pines, and just below the Alpine Fields… absolutely beautiful country. We arrive on a Saturday and are unable to get a site directly on the lake shore, but did get a high site with a view of the lake just next to a small frog pond. All around us there were patches of still unmelted snow and a profusion of small wild flowers of varying colors just bursting forth plus a large population of frogs in the pond that kept us well serenaded during our entire stay. The following view will give you an idea of the camp area.


Washington Lake is at the bottom and, our campground (newly constructed), while not shown, was at the upper end of the lake between Washington Lake and the slightly lower altitude Trial Lake north of it. The small lake just above Washington is Crystal Lake where we spend some time fishing… beautiful but not yielding many fish to us. We probably would have done better if we had revisited it after learning some of the tricks we developed later that same day. That afternoon, we drove up to Mirror Lake, a few miles east, to check out the scenery. Betty elects to stay with the trailer as she was not feeling well. Mirror Lake is just the other side of the highest pass on SR 150 and the vista getting to it was spectacular. After walking along the shoreline a short distance, noting several fish being caught, we decide to break out our rods and give a try in the small stream flowing out of the lake. We could see many nice trout, including several albino trout, in the 12-15 inch class with no other fishermen seeming interested as they were concentrating on fishing the lake itself. It turned out to be a great decision on our part… Almost from the first cast, these fish were fighting to get on our lines. In no time we were catching and releasing trout with almost every cast. Before returning to camp we probably caught forty or so trout… many in the 12-14 inch size range. It was undoubtedly the most trout I have ever caught using a fly rod without moving more than 5 feet from where I started fishing. Outstanding!

We returned to camp well before dark to find Betty feeling worse than when we left. The camp host suggested that her problem was probably related to altitude sickness and offered the use of an oxygen tank to see if that would help. According to the host, this is not uncommon at this altitude. After using the oxygen for a couple of hours, Betty lost her nausea and most of the headache she had and decided she wanted to stay on and not move to a lower camp. It truly was a beautiful site. The next morning she was feeling well enough to ride with us back to Mirror Lake for more fishing action. Another day of extraordinary fishing… I know that between us, we must have caught and released a hundred or more fish. Bing found himself actually changing fly patterns trying to find something they wouldn’t hit so eagerly without much success. Once again, we stop fishing while the fish are still hungry and return to camp. By this time Betty was once again having problems with the altitude. Before dark, Bing decides to try his luck in a small stream where it emptied into Washington Lake just 50 yards or so from the trailer. Luck once again is good and he keeps 4 small fish for breakfast. The next morning, however, we decide to head back south and save the trout for later. Cloudy skies, windy conditions and news from other campers that there was a storm system moving in, with forecasted snow for the high country, help make our decision. We elect to travel directly back to St. George without stopping for another night or two on the way home. As it was, we fought a very strong wind the entire trip home. After a good nights sleep and return to the desert, Betty is feeling much better. I have posted several of the photos we took on the trip on my Picasa Album Site.

Howling to a Full Moon Rising April 7, 2006

Posted by Kim in Camping, Travel, Wildlife.
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Last year, my cousin, his wife and I traveled to northern Utah to fish the Flaming Gorge section of the Green River… the subject of which I will reserve for a future post. However, on that trip, we camped for several days at a campground in a burned out area near the river. We did not select this site for its beauty, but because it was close to the boat launch and take-out areas. A major forest fire several years earlier had been responsible for the devastation and our initial intent was to remain for one night then search for a more attractive campsite. It was our observations that first night that caused us to remain several days and prompts this post.

At first observation, the area around the campsite was bleak. Every direction one looked there was a forest of blackened remnants of the juniper and pinion pines that once flourished here… under them a carpet of golden grasses. In the distance could be seen a backdrop of rolling hills and ridges themselves like attired. We set about collecting wood (no lack of that…) noticing patches of wildflowers still remaining even though it was now early summer. As the sun disappeared, and the dusk intensified, a full moon appeared over a distant ridge. And with it came the haunting howl of a lone coyote. Now this is something that might not seem exciting to many of you out there, but to this Florida boy, it was attention grabbing. It was to be shortly followed by an answering bay coming from a distance ridge in another direction. What followed was a series of answering calls… many animals singing their greetings to each other and to the rising moon. This exchange continued for ten minuets or so before coming to an end for the night. It would repeat every night we were there occurring later each night awaiting the moon’s first appearance above the ridge. We never saw the coyotes, but we heard them every night.

Mother Nature often provides compensation when something of hers is altered. Had we been camping under a blanket of a lush, thick forest, I feel certain we would have missed the essence of this image; Howling to a Full Moon Rising.

A Night to Remember (or Forget?) April 1, 2006

Posted by Kim in Camping, Fishing, Old Photos.
Anclote Key Camp

Anclote Key Campsite...

It was sometime in the mid 70’s, as I recall, that some friends and I planned a camping trip to Anclote Key located in the Gulf of Mexico near Tarpon Springs, FL. The camping party consisted of five adults, three children, three German Shepherds and enough camping gear and other supplies to provision a small army. It was to be a week of fishing, swimming and relaxation. When we left the dock in our two nineteen foot boats… with only inches of free-board above water, I am certain anyone observing would have had serious doubts about us getting to our destination without sinking. However, as it was one of those beautiful calm summer days we have here in Florida, we had no problem reaching our destination. (This calmness will have a significant impact on the outcome of this story.) While we had spent many day trips to the key to fish and swim, this was our first overnight trip. The north end of the island had a large grove of Australian Pines and we chose this area to set up camp. It was a beautiful camp site with dense shade that would help protect us from the fierce Florida sun. As it was high tide, we were able to navigate the boats into a shallow bay behind the island and beach them within 50 yards or so from where we would set up the tents. Life is good.

Once the camp was in order, Mike, James and I grab our rods and head for the shallow sandbar extending from the north end of the island in hopes of finding supper. The girls and kids decided to stay behind and do the beach thing. It was probably about 3 hours before sundown when we set out. Fishing was good as I recall… each of us catching several large speckled trout; keeping a few for supper. The sun was below the horizon as we made our last casts and headed back to camp. As we approached the camp (it’s almost dark now), we see everyone, dogs included, in the water. We expected to find them in camp preparing supper waiting for the fish. It was not a happy crowd we see as we approach. Before we reached them, they were yelling something about mosquitoes and sand gnats (no-see-ums). They said they couldn’t remain in camp… even for a few minutes. It seems most of the pests were under the trees where we had set up camp. Thinking they were being a little over sensitive, we go into the camp and find they had not been exaggerating. Imagine your body itching and burning (all over), with your brain yelling at you that you MUST scratch every inch of your body RIGHT NOW, and you might get some idea of our situation. Why not try insecticide? We did. We had probably brought a gallon of the stuff with us. We used what we had in short order with little or no effect. It might have helped keep most of the mosquitoes at bay but had no effect on the sand gnats. Someone suggested they had heard that kerosene would work so we even tried smearing some of that on our bodies. Didn’t help… and now we smelled like a petroleum distillery. What to do! We certainly couldn’t stay there under those conditions. We could leave, but checking the boats, we find it is now low tide and they are high and dry as is the bay. Using them is out of the question. It is better on the beach but “they” are there too. The best solution seems to be in the water… neck deep in the water. Did I say it was a completely calm night? Not a breath of breeze and a full moon rising. A breeze would have kept the sand gnats at bay, at least on the beach. Four adults, three kids and three dogs spend the night neck deep in water. James elects to bury himself in his sleeping bag under the sand on the beach.

With the dawn, the bugs are gone and the tide is up. Imagine five adults and three kids , with dogs under foot, going through the camp grabbing “stuff” and marching to the boats throwing it in and returning for another load. (Was that whimpering I heard as I passed others going to-and-fro? I certainly wasn’t doing that was I?) So ended our camping trip to Anclote Key… What a night to remember!