Saturday, July 11, 2009

A week at Fishlake

Sunday, July 5
We drove 2.5 hours north, our longest distance since we arrived in Utah to Fishlake, which is in the mountains and guess what it has - a lake. The lake must be teeming with fish judging by the number of campers here. We have never seen a CG so full on a Sunday afternoon.

We trolled around for quite awhile and finally found a good site, only to have a reserved for Tuesday sign hung on it after we signed up for it. So we will have to find another one tomorrow.

It’s about the same elevation as our last place, Panquitch Lake, but it is cooler and a lot more scenic here.

We are close to Capital Reef, where we were June 3th. One of the reasons we are here is to revisit Cathedral Valley in the north end of Cap Reef, this time by going down Thousand Lakes Mountain. The transition from mountain to red rock is supposed to be dramatic.

We explored the area looking for another campsite. The terrain reminds us of Montana. East of the lake are numerous “dispersed” parking areas right off the road along the Fremont River. Two of them interested us. We could put the chairs by the river in the shade and listen to the river babble. We have never seen road side parking along a paved FS road. This must be one busy place in whatever season is high season.

We saw a sign for the trailhead to Pelican Canyon. Sure, right, lots of pelicans here. A mile or so down the road on Johnson Lake we see two-dozen pelicans on the shoreline. And get this, not a single pier for them to perch.

Last month, the Cottonwoods were sending their seeds out on wafts of “cotton”. In some places, the air was rather dense with them. Around noon here, if you look up it looks like a light snow. No Cottonwoods this high up, it’s Aspen’s.

We found the perfect campsite nestled in Aspens and we both agreed this was THE place. Then Dorothy noted that mosquitoes were chewing on her. She ran to the Jeep. I looked down and saw a few on my legs, one was as large as a bumblebee. I think they are called Wood Mosquitoes. So much for the perfect campsite.

We did find another campsite at Doctor Creek.

Something that is new to us, are the number of double, triple and group campsites. Utahans like to take 2 or 3 RV’s, a few tents, lots of trucks, a boat or two and a passel of kids camping.

We drove to Cathedral Valley today. This time descending into the valley from Thousand Lakes Mountain. [Which does not have a thousand lakes. It is said that “back when” someone likely confused it with Boulder Mountain which does have quite a few lakes]. The drive was good, but did not meet the expectations that I had built up from reading a description of the drive. Perhaps when the aspens are yellow, it would be more rewarding to the eyes.

Cathedral Valley is picturesque, but it was also warm so we only spent an hour or so there before retracing our route back up the mountain. There is a campsite only five miles up the gravel road that overlooks the valley. You can also see Boulder Mountain to the south and the Henry Mountains far to the southeast. The view rivals the panorama from Muley Point. We might take KoKo up there for a night or two.

We thought we might get back to the paved road without seeing another human, but coming out we saw one truck at Round Lake below and another truck checking on his cattle, but no one in Cathedral Valley.

We wanted to put the yaks in the water today, but the breeze started out moderate and built to blowing like stink. So, before lunch we drove to the mountain overlooking Fishlake, a high clearance road since the dirt that covers the large sized rock roadbed was exposed in a few places. The view from the top was worth the effort to get there. I posted two pictures taken at the overlook.

We have been gone long enough now that we don’t feel the need to do something all the time. We lazed the afternoon away surfing the web and watched the news and “Friends” at dinner. Having both cell phone and TV at the campsite is novel for us. It’s been over a month since we have had both.

Not much to Blog about. We moved a mile down the road to a dispersed camping area. [In a National Forest, dispersed camping is allowed anywhere there is already something that resembles a campsite. Which just means, you can not make a new one. The bottom line is that you have the place to yourself and it’s free.] In the afternoon we drove into the only town and made some phone calls.

Another wonderful day in paradise.

Another lazy day. We are sleeping until almost 8. I might be awake, but Dorothy has not been able to get to sleep until after midnight for over a week. So I nap until she wakes up.

I spent the morning locating back road trips, as described in a tour book, on our large-scale map. This done, I can now see where we want to go next. Darn thing is there are zero formal CG’s anywhere close to that point. So I guess we will go to Richland Monday and see if the Forest Service office can point us to dispersed area that we can get into. All too often the personnel in the offices don’t know much about camping spots. When we see a Forest Service truck picking up trash or doing repairs, we ask them as they are out on the roads everyday.

There is still too much wind to paddle the yaks. Maybe tomorrow?

Saturday, July 11
Another glorious lazy day. I am too lazy to even Blog.
We did get the yaks in the water for awhile before the breeze came up. Well, it came up while we were out. I surfed back to the ramp off wind.

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