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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.

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Petroglyphs Near Snow Canyon June 15, 2007

Posted by Kim in Petroglyphs, Utah.
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Petroglyph

Day before yesterday, Tommy and Richard visited and we spent part of the afternoon searching out petroglyphs near St. George. Bing took us to a site not far from the entrance to Snow Canyon. I have uploaded several images of these to My Picasa Album and, if you are interested, many more examples of Utah petroglyphs can be found at This Site.

Gooseberry Mesa June 13, 2007

Posted by Kim in Bicycling, My Trip Logs, Travel, Utah.
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View from Gooseberry Mesa

Yesterday, we took a day trip to Gooseberry Mesa near Mt. Zion National Park. It is noted for having some interesting bicycle trails and my cousin wanted to check the area out before actually riding one. After spending some time figuring out the access route (our directions were not that good), we spent several hours driving around on top stopping occasionally for short walks to scenic overlooks. The views were spectacular and we encountered a number of cyclists who had nothing but good things to say about the mesa’s bike trails. However, they did say that they were very “Technical”… For those of you interested, a good collection of photos showing biking activity can be found here. For a collection of shots I took during our visit, check out My Picasa Album.

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.

http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=40.679401~-110.959082&style=h&lvl=15&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&encType=1

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.

2006 Bahamas Cruise – From the Start June 21, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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collage.jpg

Several people have asked me to reorder my posts on our cruise so that it would be easier to read. This should work:

Try this link which reverses all my posts that reference the Bahamas. However, in this order, my first post refers to an earlier cruise. For the 2006 cruise, start reading the second post down and note that when you get to the bottom, clicking on “older posts” will actually continue to the next part of the story.

https://kohaver.wordpress.com/tag/bahamas//?order=asc

Also additional supporting photos can be found in my Flickr set here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kohaver/sets/72157594144450426/

Enjoy…

Back Home… June 18, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Skyway Bridge

Thursday afternoon, after a smooth run from Cabbage Key near Boca Grande, we tie up at our home port in Tampa around 1600 hrs.  It has been a great month cruising around Florida and the Bahamas but it was time to get home and the sighting of the Skyway Bridge at the entrance of Tampa Bay was a welcome one.  Our overnight stay at Cabbage Key had been enjoyable and we awoke to absolute calm conditions… so calm in fact that we had no problems continuing our journey in the Gulf thereby saving considerable time on this last leg of our journey home.  Before leaving Cabbage Key though, we had a leisurely breakfast and spent some time enjoying the local scenery.  It was very quiet and we were able to observe numerous good sized snook and other fish feeding under the dock while a great white heron was busy trying to capture some of the bait spooked by these fish.  Several ducks also wandered the docks ignoring us as we just enjoyed the early morning activity.  The trip home was uneventful.  While it was very calm, the water was still cloudy and as expected, we saw no feeding fish.  We did observe a pod or "ring" of tarpon offshore from Boca Grande that was interesting.  There must have been a dozen or so fish in it and we were able to bring the boat right along side with bothering them.  We did not bother them but continued our journey home.  I suppose we were just fished out; until next time that is…

Just a reminder – Additional photos of the entire cruise can be found in my photo archive at Flickr also accessable from my sidebar.

Cabbage Key June 14, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cabbage Key

Today the storm conditions seem to be better so we will continue our trip home. It is still cloudy and a bit breezy as we leave the Ft. Myers Yacht Basin a little before 1000 hours but nothing to worry about. We are in no hurry as we don’t expect to reach Tampa before tomorrow. By the time we reach Pine Island Sound, the sun is winning out over the clouds and patches of blue increase. Shortly after noon, we approach Cabbage Key and decide to dock for lunch. It has it’s normal lunch crowd but we are able to get a slip and walk up to the Inn and get a nice table on the screened in back porch under a giant white mangrove tree. The dining room and porch are crowded and we have to wait a bit for service but we don’t care… It is pleasant and when we finally do get the food, it is good. Tommy and I have the rubin on rye and Ralph has the hamburger. Tommy and I also have key lime pie for desert. Cabbage Key is so pleasant, we decide to stop early today and dock here for the night. It’s almost 1500 hrs now and the rest of the crew is napping while I write this.

Foiled by the Weather June 12, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Storm over Lake Okeechobee

            (Storm over Lake Okeechobee)

We are sitting at the Ft. Myers Yacht Basin where we will spend the night.  It looks as though the storm will go in somewhere north of Cedar Key tomorrow so we will decide in the morning whether to remain another day here or head north in the ICW.  Here are some notes I Made over the past few days:

Saturday, 10 June 2006

Lets see…  where did I last leave off?  Oh yes, our journey home had just been delayed by the closure of one of the Locks on the Okeechobee Waterway and we had decided to wait it out in Stuart instead of traveling back south around the Keys and then up the West Coast to Tampa.  As it turns out, that was probably a wise choice though we couldn’t have seen it at the time.  We spend Wednesday through Friday nights in Stuart at the Pirate’s Cove Marina.  It is located in what the locals call the “Manatee Pocket” in the company of quite a few other marinas.  One of our cruising guides describes the place as being more like a series of New England maritime villages than the typical grouping of marinas in Florida.  The Pirates Cove had all the necessities to make our stay as comfortable as possible including swimming pool, restaurant, ships store and even provided complementary continental breakfasts during our stay.  Friday, we decided to try our luck fishing offshore part of the day but to no avail.  While we saw several “billfish” (even one swordfish, we think), we didn’t even get a strike.  Its being very calm and an almost full moon the night before might have had something to do with our success.  Anyway, when we returned, I made a call regarding the status of the Lock and was told it had been repaired ahead of schedule and that it would be open for business at 0600 in the morning (today).  We also learn that an area of unsettled weather was moving from west of Cuba into the Gulf and could be expected to intensify… possibly into a tropical storm.  We decide to leave this morning and at least try and get across Lake Okeechobee before the weather gets bad.  I am writing this from Moore Haven (Riverhouse Marina), west of Lake Okeechobee and about halfway across the state.  Our latest weather report indicates the storm has moved into the Gulf and is expected to reach tropical storm force in the next several hours and, if it does, will be named Alberto.  Projected path has it heading north along the west coast of Florida sort of aiming for the Cedar Key area sometime Tuesday.  That being the case, we will have to check the weather very closely in the morning and decide if we want to try and make it in to Ft. Myers or not…  No Wi-Fi so I can’t post this evening.

Sunday, 11 June 2006

Well, the latest report this morning states that the storm has yet to reach tropical storm strength and remains unnamed.  However, what ever you might call it, it is still heading north in the Gulf and we need to keep an eye on it.  As I write, a feeder ban stretches from between Naples and Ft. Myers across the state and as far east as Grand Bahamas.  This band is moving in our direction and we expect to get some weather sometime this morning.  For the time being, we will probably stay here at the docks in Moore Haven.  The cost is reasonable ($1/ft/night) and comes with free electricity, free ice and clean restrooms with showers.

Non-Weather Hold June 8, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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We are on hold again but it's not the weather this time. We arrived at Stewart, FL day before yesterday afternoon after crossing and cruised up the St. Lucy Canal to Indiantown Marina near Lake Okeechobee to spent the night expecting to leave early yesterday morning for a day's journey to the Gulf before sundown. Not to be… As we approached the last lock on the east side of the lake and asked for it to open, we were notified that the Franklin Lock (on the west side of the lake)  was closed until next Monday. Ouch! Alternatives are (1) – backtrack then swing south around the Keys and then back up the West Coast to Tampa. This would add over 400 miles to our trip plus take several days… or, (2) – to hang around and wait for the lock to open again on Monday. We decide on the 2nd option but did travel back to Stewart for better accomodations. We will spend a night or two at the Pirates Cove Marina, get some laundry done and just kick back. We might also get some fishing done out in the Atlantic here. Kingfish are supposed to be running and some Sailfish are being caught. I will keep you posted.

Weather Hold… June 5, 2006

Posted by Kim in Bahamas, Cruising, Fishing.
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Storm at Fresh Creek

                  (More photos on my Flickr sidebar link…)

Yesterday, we ran from Fresh Creek on Andros to Port Lucaya in Freeport, Grand Bahama.  We were dodging ahead of weather all the way.  The photo above, taken as we left Fresh Creek, shows the storm we were interested in getting ahead of…  Our first intintion was to go into Great Harbour in the Berries but, as we approached, another storm head prevented us from attempting to navagate its shallow water entrance .  So, we headed on to our alternate, Port Lucaya, and clearer skys.  We arriving around 6:00 pm missing all the bad weather.  This morning we woke to a heavy downpour and a weather report that suggests we may be holding up at Port Lucaya for a day or two.