~Sunday, September 27, 2020~
What a spectacular day out. Crystal clear deep blue sky, Aspen trees in all their glorious Fall phase, and the freshest, crisp air. The one good thing about being at 10,000 feet is we’re able to see Aspen trees in all their glory. The minute you drop down a thousand to two thousand feet, they’re non-existent. We soaked all this in while eating a yummy breakfast of eggs and bagels. The only thing missing is a nice picnic table to eat and enjoy the outdoors. Jeff and I prefer eating and cooking outdoors, even with the trailer. While I had dish duty, Jeff put away a few new items we had recently mailed to Hannah’s, one of which was our new license plate frame for the trailer, advertising FootprintsOnWheels.
When we custom ordered it, we were trying to decide if we should put www.FootprintsOnWheels.com or just leave it FootprintsOnWheels. We decided on the latter with a little trailer insignia added and a wood grain theme for the backdrop. It looks pretty cool!
Today was going to be a day of sightseeing, so we gathered up a few necessities before hitting the road. As we left, the thought did cross my mind…..I wonder if we’ll find our way back to our site without a map or any reliance on GPS. We shall see. Cedar Breaks Monument is likely called “monument” instead of National Park since it doesn’t quite have the grandeur of let’s say The Grand Canyon, Bryce or Zion. Don’t get me wrong, it does take your breath away when you peak over any rim to witness these plateaus now transformed into hoodoos, fins or windows from years of wind and rain eroding what was once flat plateaus. The last time we were here was with Tim and Tracy about 1995 when our daughter Hannah was 1 years old. We had camped at the Cedar Breaks Campground back then, but think I’d much prefer the scenery of where we’re currently staying. We did a few unexpected things today like taking a 2 mile rim hike from an overlook to the visitor center, which surprisingly was open.
The visitor center was built in the early 1900’s by the CCC (a group of men who desperately wanted work while enhancing our National Park system). There are plans to build an even larger visitor center in the next few years, while hopefully preserving the current one. Then we saw a turn to drive up a pretty rough, rugged 3 miles to a scenic overlook called Brian Head. From the turn off to the summit is an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet, putting us at about 11, 300 feet. Thank goodness we had full sun and very little wind or we would have only done a Chevy Chase glance and left. There is a hut at the summit that overlooks the valleys below, but you also get a panoramic view of Arizona, Utah, and Nevada all from one vantage point. Pretty amazing.
We did get a few groceries at a little general store in the ski resort town of Brian Head before making our way back to our site. Oh, and by the way, we did find our way back which turned out to be easier than we thought without the GPS. Remember it’s just an open forested land, not a physical address. I couldn’t help myself from taking more photos of the gorgeous scenery we’ve been privy to watching. It was the perfect time of day to photograph all of the orange and yellow leafed Aspen trees, completely drenched in soon to be faded sunlight.
In terms of boondocking, we truly don’t think we’re going to find anything quite as beautiful and scenic as where we are at the moment. We are surrounded by mountains with the Fall foliage right outside our door. So soak it all in we must. It’s a funny thing when you tell people you’ve been boondocking, it’s met with a common response, “wow how do you do that, having enough water, power, supplies, etc. for days on end?” The reality is it’s not that hard if you plan ahead. And it’s more about managing the supplies you have. You have more of an awareness of how much water and propane, for example, you are using. This is our first true dispersed camping experience that allows us to challenge how long we can go and how well we can do with how we planned; take this evening for example. The temperature by 9:00 p.m. got to around 35 degrees, and the trailer about 61. Definitely chilly. As we’ve mentioned in past posts, these are the times, an inverter would sure come in handy. The inverter would turn anything that runs on D/C power and convert it to A/C power; convenient appliances such as the fireplace, the portable space heater, the blow dryer (I only use once/week), and the microwave. The problem….inverters, and good ones are not cheap, nor is the cost to install them. We were advised that once we bite the bullet, don’t pay for the installation in California. Wait until we get somewhere where the labor prices are a little lower. California’s pricing….about $170/hour and it’s a day and half job. Ouch!! When we’re not “plugged in” we normally run the heater which takes a ton of propane (heat) and electric power (blower). We’re never worried about power since we have 2 lithium batteries with the added stored electricity we get from (1) 190-watt solar panel (we haven’t even installed the second one yet). So tonight, since we don’t have the inverter yet, we are running the 3,000 watt generator at 9:30 at night to do a test to see what we can run without stressing the generator too much. The result…...do not run the portable space heater and the fireplace at the same time (pick one). We chose the fireplace for heat and ambiance. The lights are all LED and don’t take much of any power. The fireplace didn’t tax the generator too bad, but you’re not normally going to run a generator at night right, unless you’re neighbors are about 2 football fields away. Once we’re under covers, we don’t care if the trailer gets down to the upper 40’s, but we do care that Sadie stays warm since she lays on top of our bed. I find myself covering her with her special blanket on cold nights like this. I always know when she needs an extra layer when she curls up super tight in her ball, instead of her usual sprawled outness on our bed.