Sunday, May 13, 2012

Colorado–First Month (May 2012)

O.K. so much for the plans of mice and men and Swankie.  I don’t know when I will begin working… so will post when I can instead of monthly.  A training session is scheduled for Tues. 5/15 and maybe I will know something then.  Until then… here’s what has happened so far in the merry month of May.
This was the plan:  Get to Colorado the first week of May, get up the mountain to my campground about May 5-6 and begin acclimating to the altitude.  Attend a training session on 5/11 and then begin working.  So much for the plans of mice, men, and Swankie.
May 7.  The other day I stopped by the Forest Service office for an area map and any other free literature on the area so I could “study up.”  I was informed that the road was closed to my campground and that normally they can’t get up there until July, but with the light snowfall here this winter, we might be able to start in June.  JUNE? I screamed inside my head.  I’m very tired of hanging around Rifle with their limited stores and supplies.  I can’t even get Butane for my cooking stove here.  I can, however, get a free shower at the Fairgrounds.
Frustrated, I headed out of town and ended up going through Rifle Gap where some artist hung a huge drapery across the gap some years ago. Here it is… .
IMGA0819I then drove on into Rifle Gap Falls State Park.  I was greeted by the hostess who told me to go ahead and “snoop.”  I had introduced myself and told her I couldn’t get to my camp… so I was just snooping around and could not afford to stay in their nice campground at $23 + a night.  She informed me that it was snowing at my camp today and the road up there was very very rough.  Ughhhhh!
I hiked up to see the Waterfalls, 3 falls, and they are suppose to be #6 on the list of top 10 waterfalls to see.  It was really nice.  Limestone caves, a hike to the top of the falls and getting to look back down on the falls.  Weather was drizzly and a bit cold but it was an easy hike and very enjoyable. 
On the way back out of the Park the Host and Hostess came out to chat and gave me directions to free BLM land… so I am now boondocking there tonight… it’s 6pm and I don’t want to go back to town.  The silence is almost deafening.  I should sleep like a baby.
Ten miles away from Rifle… no cell or internet service.  The Host and Hostess of the Park said after several years of frustration over that, they finally got Satellite internet.  I’m going to have to think on that and plan for it since I will most likely spent the majority of my future doing remote boondocking.  I’m going to have “internet” withdrawal this summer.
May 8 – Slept like a baby, NOT so much.  Tossed and turned… but finally fell asleep only to wake a couple hours later, freezing.  Luckily, I had a nice big blanket nearby… so covered up and went back to sleep.
When I woke in the morning, I had that headache, loss of appetite, and general icky feeling you get with slight altitude sickness.  I’m probably 1500 ft higher than I was in Rifle.  Then I realized it was my son’s birthday and I couldn’t even call or email him.  (“Happy Birthday, Richard.  You will always be my “bouncing baby boy.”)”  More ickiness feelings.  I applied the Lavender Oil to my neck, forehead and temples and followed that up with a Migraine pill.  I don’t know which one worked but I began feeling better after about an hour.
Then I continued with the task of taking stock of my food stock.  Big job since food is in so many different places.  I couldn’t do this in town as it required pulling stuff out of the trailer and the van and swapping things around.  But here out in the open on BLM land… I can finish the task.  I have now gotten all food inside the van, rather than having some in the trailer.  If a bear comes snooping, the van will be a little harder to tear open than that thin-shelled trailer.
I am absolutely astounded at how much food I have on hand.  I have told everyone that I had at least a 3-month supply of food… and that could very well be true.  Short on veggies and fruit and I’m working on that.  My goal this year is to acquire a great store of dehydrated staples and organize the trailer so it’s all readily available… but maybe not.. there is that bear thing again.  But now I plan to put my inventory on a spreadsheet, and calculate what I need for a month to stay healthy and well-nourished and then make up the deficit next week on payday, and then head out for the mountains.
I only drink bottled water right now.  Figure it is not worth the risk of ever drinking local water in all the different places I go.  There will be no potable water at the camp, so I will have to make sure my needs are covered by me, myself and I, at least the first month.  I’ve made room under my bed for several cases of bottled water.  I have two 7-gallon water containers and may buy a 3rd one.  I’ll need them anyway whenever I do extended boondocking.
I took a lunch break and fixed a burrito with fresh onions, chopped zucchini and a new product… Kroger brand, mini turkey pepperoni.  It does not need to be refrigerated until opened.  It’s a 4 oz. package in a zip-lock bag… and I found them very good.  I recommend vandwellers give them a try if they can find the product.  I won’t consider it a “staple” only a treat. 
The burrito was delicious and I have enough of the stuffing to make another burrito for supper.  Sealed the leftovers in a small snack zip-lock bad.  Very handy.
It’s 2:30pm now.  The inventory is done.  Think it’s time for a walk and then to begin on the spreadsheet.  Finally got a chart made and a spreadsheet ready… to record what I consume in camp, and will resupply based only on what I use up, or what I haven’t thought of yet.  Might be a good plan.  (July 2, 2012... o.k. that "recording" is not working... too busy!)
Curious to see if I have another headache in the morning… then I may go explore a little bit more, but can’t do much without spare gas money.  Have a sketch to finish up as well.  It’s been a good day.  First day without internet and it makes me feel a little squirrelly but sure got a lot done.
Harvey Gap State Park – I really really wanted to kayak and will go back there soon.
May 10 – My income tax refund is in the bank.  I can buy gas.  Wednesday, May 16 is not only my birthday, but payday.  I’m heading out someplace to kill some time away from Rifle.

And cowboys here too… getting ready to move a herd across the road to greener pastures.  I really wanted to get on a horse and help. Smile

Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.