Archive for the ‘The Great Outdoors’ Category

Cold for AZ!

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

It has been a fun trip to the bottom of Arizona. I’m not sure why but I had visions of this land as flat barren desert. It’s not like that at all. There are mountains, canyons, rolling hills of grasslands, and trees of all varieties. Some of the landscape is so rugged that border patrol has to go on foot to catch smugglers and illegals. It is what makes this area so popular for border crossing.

Two days ago I drove to Patagonia, AZ, to check on a camping area I had heard about. I spent the night at Patagonia Lake State Park. State parks are usually avoided because they are expensive, but this one had a shower and drinking water, which both I needed. I also washed some clothes in the shower so that was another savings.

The next morning I hiked a short trail around the lake. There are cattle pastured beside the lake where you sometimes will walk through the herd. Once, while coming close to a cow, I put out my hand in a friendly gesture, and she lowered her head and started to charge me! I think it was one of those false charges but it unsettled me anyway.

I met some nice people on the hike. One couple had done a bit of hiking on the AT so we kind of had a starting point of commonality. We talked about travel and the pros and cons of hauling around a giant home or living in a ‘go anywhere adventure vehicle’s, and eventually came to the conclusion that there is no conclusion.

I left Patagonia and followed the Harshaw road east. The road is paved part way but then turns dirt for 15 miles until it hits route 83 outside of Canelo. There were many beautiful places to camp along the road, but the area seemed to desolate – no cell signal or TV signal or people – to stop and camp there. Every once in a while I would pass a ranch but saw no campers and met no vehicles except a border patrol 4×4.

I eventually made it back to the same area I camped in before. The nights have been very cold, and I don’t run my propane heater while I am asleep, so I have been bundled up in my down sleeping bag wearing a knit hat until morning. All the cold has forced me to remain inside a majority of time, so I have been using more media than normal. Yesterday I raised my solar panel with two metal legs, tipping it towards the low, winter sun, gaining a tremendous amount of charge.

Each day I go for a hike. I can hear drones flying overhead and boarder patrol drives by several times a day. I have to admit that I am sometimes concerned about walking into an uncomfortable situation. I really don’t know how the early settlers could live in this area. They didn’t have to worry about the Mexican Cartel, but can you imagine seeing an Apache War party riding your way?

I will be heading back to Mesa soon. Next week Karen and Noah are coming to spend Christmas with me. I’m really looking forward to that!

Did anyone hear the booms last night? I thought someone was setting off explosions, but apparently it had something to do with meteorites entering the atmosphere.

Kicked Out!

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Where in these mountains are you hiding?  Are you still in Yellowstone, or have you moved on?  Isn’t it getting cold up there? It has dropped into the 80s here daytime, and 60s at night.  Just wondering about you; we heard from you so often when you were on the AT, and then having you here totally spoiled me.  I love when I know that you are nearby.

Love, Mom

Hi Mom

I was in the Craters of the Moon NM in Idaho last night. This morning while I was driving to one of the trails I was met by a park ranger who told me I had to leave.He was very kind and apologetic.It is almost getting too cold and stormy to be up here near the mountains. Every night it gets way below freezing, and with all the cloudy days, I’m having trouble getting a charge from my solar panel. I think it is almost time to migrate.Tonight I have found a hidden campsite in the Sawtooth National Forest that doesn’t appear to be important enough to be attracting attention from the forest service. I hope I don’t get a knock on the door in the middle of the night!~On The Trail With Castaway 

Love, Dale

Jellystone Park

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

There is one thing that everyone goes to see when they visit Yellowstone and I faithfully went to see it. Even with the kids back in school, cooler fall temperatures, and summer vacations over, this park is mobbed by throngs of tourists. Every campground is full, roads are packed with cars, boardwalks are lined with sightseers, and the attraction areas are a zoo of humanity. The area around Old Faithfull is sure different than what I remember when we visited years ago; four-story hotels, cabins, gift shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and a gas station, form a gigantic circle around the Geyser, all raking in the tourist dollar.

Yellowstone is so big – over a million acres – and so spread out, that I elected to stay inside the park so as to make day trips on my motorcycle manageable. It is easy to drive 100 miles or more just to see a quarter of the park.

When you drive through the areas of wildlife you may see a couple cars in pullouts looking for animals. When you see a half-dozen cars it means there are bison, elk, or pronghorns in the meadow. If the road is lined with cars for a mile, sometimes parked in the road, blocking traffic in both directions, it means someone has seen a bear.

I have seen three bear, countless elk, bison, and deer, geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and steamy holes. I have taken a couple of short hikes, listened to ranger talks, and read numerous information boards. You could spend weeks here and not see everything, but tomorrow I will move down
into the Grand Tetons National Park and then into Idaho. I know I should not be surprised at the weather here, but I want to get to the west coast before it gets much colder. I keep seeing signs that say you must have snow tires or chains to drive some of the passes when it snows, and they are predicting snow tomorrow.


Friday, September 20th, 2013

It looks like an RV rally at the Cody, WY Walmart this weekend. There must be at least twenty rigs in the side parking lot, all staging for the assault on Yellowstone National Park. I’m sure it works out well for the store. Most travelers stock up on basic supplies and do a little impulse buying as well.

I enjoyed the SD Black Hills area. One of my favorite things to do is tour a cave and there are two of them, Wind Cave and Jewel Cave, situated only a few miles apart in the picturesque rolling countryside. The caves are many miles long, but only a few short sections have been developed for tours. I’m not sure why I have such a fascination with underground caves but it probably stems from my youth when we made tunnels through snow banks or explored passageways through the hay bales in the barn.

The weather has turned cold. I spent a couple of nights in the Bighorn NF at almost 10000 feet and woke to freezing temperatures. It is the first time in a long time that I have had to scrape ice from the windshield before driving out. Even here near Yellowstone the highs are only predicted to be in the 40’s and 50’s during the day and 20’s at night. I was hoping to see a lot of the Park on my motorcycle but may rethink that.


Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

No description necessary.

2013-09-11 11.59.44

Badland Bison.

2013-09-06 09.05.58