Monday, June 6, 2016- I left San Francisco at noon and headed southeast to the Serrano Campground at Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains.
When I was a little girl, I went to camp in Big Bear at a place called Tamarack Lodge. Big Bear Lake is vast, deep, and very blue and was the body of water that taught me to water-ski. The air is crisp and clean and has a particularly distinct scent. These fond memories made it my target for the first night. Because of my late departure from San Francisco, the sun had already gone down when I arrived so I pitched my small tent purchased for quick overnight trips and enjoyed my first outdoor snooze.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016- I awakened with the sun and birds with the realization that I should get on the road- my next destination was over 7 hours away! On day 1, it was clear that my driving distances were too industrious if I wanted to stop and look at anything that piqued my interest. I'll tuck this tidbit into my lessons learned list.
One of the biggest challenges in preparation for this trip was packing. It's hard to know what one will need on a cross-country-and-back road trip. When space is limited, consideration should be given to every single item. This is harder than it sounds. Within 24 hours, my car was already feeling like a disaster. Putting my tent back into my cargo carrier evoked the spewing from my mouth of every bad word I have ever known. I realized that I probably only needed one rug for the floor of my larger tent. The camp host was happy to receive the gift of the 6x8 all weather rug. I'm sure the shedding of excess will continue as I travel.
Destination #2 was Kaibab Lake Campground in Arizona's beautiful Kaibab National Forest.
I reserved this spot for two nights so I pitched my larger tent- a 10x10 Kodiak Canvas. I absolutely LOVE this tent for its spaciousness, windows on all 4 sides, durability, and ease of use. I'm a 58 year old woman and it's easy for me to put up and take down!
June 8, 2016- Unlike my absolute reluctance to get out of bed every morning, I'm waking up with the sun (or was it the generator from the dude with the huge RV a couple of sites away?). I made coffee and oatmeal using this little set up,
and then commenced to pulling everything out of Marlo (my car) to come to some sort of order with all the things I brought.
By consolidating like things in containers, I was able to make much better use of my space. This go round, I shed myself of an old pair of kick around clogs and an extra pair of flip flops by leaving them with the camp host. One campers trash is another's treasure.
Somewhere along the line, an indiscriminate bug bit me in the most indelicate place and the good nurse in me ignored the sensations of pressure and stinging until this was no longer and option. A mirror to my bottom and the fact that my next stop is in Escalante, Utah, even farther from civilization, I decided that a trip to the urgent care and a prescription for a topical steroid in nearby Sedona was prudent. I used the opportunity to talk to the MD and the pharmacist about my trip and my hope to raise awareness about hepatitis C. They both said they don't deal with hepatitis C patients, but felt that in neighboring Flagstaff and Cottonwood, there are plenty of people who would benefit from education. The physician gave me the name of a GI practice in the area and I will follow up with them. I returned to my campsite, heated some soup, and sat in my lounge chair in the cool breeze from the lake thinking how lucky I am to have the opportunity to embark on this epic adventure.
June 9, 2016- Packing up was made much easier by yesterday's organization session and I was packed up and ready to go by 11AM. Driving north on Highway 89 the scenery was almost other-worldly. Photographs simply can't capture the magnitude of the natural structures, the trains, the desolate beauty.
The photo above is where the Colorado river meets the controversial Glen Canyon Dam.
I arrived in Escalante around 8PM and checked into the Circle D Motel. Managing hygiene while camping is absolutely doable (I'll address that in another post) but I can see that the occasional check-in to a place that has a hot shower is going to be the ticket.
I'm headed out today, with a guide, into the off grid world of Escalante. There will likely not be any wireless but I'll be writing and will post when I re-emerge.
Until then, happy trails.