Sunday, December 10, 2017


I'd walked down to the river earlier in the week and the stream that was flowing between the bank and the beach had turned into a trickle. There were hundreds of baby cat fish trapped in the cut off water going back and forth in an enlarged fish tank of sorts. I was thinking by the weekend I'd have to go down there and dig a 20 foot long six inch deep trench to the river for them to escape or get a bucket and spend an hour catching them. I wasn't looking forward to stepping into the cold water but when I walked down to see if that dreaded day had come the river had risen, re-connected with the creek, and all the baby catfish had returned to the river.

Friday Hike

Coming out of Last Hurrah I made a nice trail earlier in the year for guests to hike out and have a chance to view the big horn in a valley below then drop in to the rock canyon and do some boulder hopping. However up on the plateau part of the trail there wasn't any single file walking and it's all trampled down and beat up. I'm pretty embarrassed. So today Jax and I are hiking around Last Hurrah trying to find a trail that skips the part that can get worn down and stays on an already made game trail or spends most of it's time on rock and or in creek beds where the next rain erases any previous signs of our intrusion.

Jax: Good Dog, Bad Dog

I really like to hike with Jax. He's an amazing climber. He picks what for me are the most unlikely routes and climbs them like it's nothing. Then he comes back down a different way to check on me and see what's taking so long, then goes back up a different way giving me three options for climbing the obstacle.

Jax has a dream to be a cattle dog. One time he saw the cattle dogs nipping at the heels of the cattle and the first time I got out of the truck to open the gate that was surrounded by cattle he jumped out and went over and started nipping at their heels to drive them away from the gate. It was bedlam.

Jax has another dream that one day, his idols, the ultimate climbers of the canyon lands, the big horn sheep, will play with him. Back in January and February there were several instances where he got within five or ten feet of the herd and then they ran off and he looked crushed that they left him behind and wouldn't play.

Thursday we're out hiking. We're doing the finger canyons to see if we can find the leftovers of a big horn or deer that the mountain lion might have taken earlier in the week.

I'm taking some pictures of the amazing scenery and then when I look down Jax is gone. That's never good. I see him shooting across the rock to play with one of his friends. Except, they don't think of him as a friend. I'm very thankful the big horn are so gifted. I was afraid Jax's enthusiasm to play with them was going to get this one hurt.

For the next 45 minutes or so we continued to hike through the fingers but each time I'd glance over the big horn hadn't moved and didn't appear to be coming down until we left and that in fact turned out to be the case.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Some More Stuff

One fox showed up in four nights so that means the mountain lion is back or there's another one. She has never come down twice around the same period of time but she has this time. Jax and I explored the property looking for tracks, scat, and a high point in which to observe.

She's come back twice this fall after having just been here a couple weeks ago, and, she's got a cub with her. I was kind of hoping that she would die of old age and I'd have lots more deer and big horn but it looks like this tradition is going to go on for awhile.

This is an eerie picture from one of our hikes. Shadow of Jax on a closer rock than the rock my shadow is on. We're about the same shadow size.
Jax and I hike up on the cliffs to see if there is a way to kayak around the island but the river is looking about as low as I've ever seen it. I don't think we can get through.

On the way back from the cliffs Jax and I come across the new hogan Doug is building up on top. I ask him what he was going to do with it and he said have me rent it out for him. Sure, I don't have anything to do when the season starts.

Some Stuff

There is an ebb and flow to the critters that show up on the front porch. Earlier this year I declared that the east side of the front porch belongs to the raccoons and put a video up that had eight adults and 15 babies eating out of three Kit&Kaboodle bowls. Over the year they've nearly all moved on. There were a couple living under the porch for awhile but where I use to set three bowls out each night and fill them up to three times and one more bowl in Kobae's pen for the foxes to eat. Now I put two on the porch and they are normally about half full in the morning and only the one in Kobae's pen is empty each day. I did find a solution for the raccoons stealing the skunk and ringtails food. I have a whole board I pry open each evening and put their food well back where the raccoons can't reach.
Filled up the pond at Last Hurrah before yanking the pump and dock out of the river prior to the eventual ice in the river that usually shows up around Christmas. Filled up the tank and gravity fed one more load into the cisterns before winter hits so I have water to work with on the plants.
The lodge was full of geologists over Thanksgiving and it reminded me that I had once found these cool striped rocks out at Jackson Hole but they've all disappeared off the front porch over the years so Jax and I headed out to Jackson Hole but after a couple hours searching I could not identify the location I had found them at the previous time.

Still it worked out. As we rounded one of the corners of the trail I saw a bunch of river rock. I need river rock. If you ever get a flat tire out here and go to put the bottle jack underneath the tire to take it off it just sinks forever in the sand. You grab any of the rocks around here and put the jack on it and the rock breaks under the weight of the vehicle. That's doesn't happen with river rock. I always keep a nice river rock in the back of the jeep and another in the truck. Sometimes when guests use one of the vehicles they clean it out and always clean out the river rock not knowing it has a purpose.

Cowboy Stuff

Jax and I found a cattle gate open coming down Hurrah without a sign on it to close the gate so we drove out to the cowboy camp to see if that was intentional. I've had lots of issues with the cattle people over the years. Picked up their trash, raked their atv tracks off the trail retrieving their cattle, and them not putting signs on their gates to close them so when people show up to a closed gate they just leave and the gates have been difficult to open and close. This year has been different. No such issues. Even when we drove out to the cowboy camp they had already moved the cattle down Lockhart and were opening the gates so no need to put signs on them.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Thursday: The Intergalactic Rock Zoo

To get motivated again I've set up five work projects to get done each day and once they are done then Jax and I can go out exploring. There is a place on the east side of Hurrah Pass that if you look at it from certain angles some of the rocks look like creatures from other planets. I found a path to get there once before and then the camera didn't work. On Thursday Jax and I drove up there, found a hole to crawl through to get in the area but I couldn't find the hole I crawled through to get there last time and this one was too dicey to attempt to get over there and take pictures of the rock creatures. Still, there were some decent shots.

Wednesday Evening

I'm burned out. It's been two full days since the last guests left and I haven't cleaned a room, done laundry, or begin working on the long list of items that need to be done before it gets cold and after that before the season starts again. I worked 100 plus hour weeks for 20 something years. When I retired I did so because I didn't want to work 100 plus hour weeks anymore. However back in August I decided I didn't want to keep selling stock to make the new mortgage payments for Last Hurrah next door so I stuck both properties on airbnb, homeaway, vrbo, trip advisor, wimdu, and more. In September, October, and November, just those three months, about equaled the income of the entire previous year. It started slow but once the reviews began coming in the place was extremely busy. Rachel took ten days off each month from her other job and went above and beyond the call to help out here and Michelle came and dropped Jax off and later visited him and she also contributed to easing the work load. However, I don't want to work hard again. This coming year I expect the income to again double, and the work load with it. I'm going to need some help. I want to return to enjoying this......

Tuesday and Wednesday

The season is over. There are a few bookings in December, January, and February, but the day to day check in and check out, the constant cleaning and maintenance is taking about a 100 day break and for Jax and I, it's ghost time. Still I've drawn up a list of all the lessons I learned being booked solid and things I need to do to prepare for next year. The list is massive. It's depressing so for two days I ignored it and hiked the property. Jeep has chosen Last Hurrah again to do the unveiling of their 2019 new models. This will be three of the last six years they have either used Base Camp or Last Hurrah. I've made two significant improvement so far to make their lives easier this time. HughesNet has placed their fastest internet system in both places and I have a 500 gallon water tank they can wash their vehicles with. A few months ago they ask me to find or create additional trails on the property so that they can have all the off road magazine people drive their new models while they are here for the unveiling. So Jax and I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday hiking the 145 acres from every direction trying to find additional routes they can use. I think we have something special for them.