Thursday, March 4, 2021

Lot of Stuff

It's been busy. The bookings are crazy. I can hardly leave the computer for an hour or two and when I come back there are six or eight more requests. I have had a couple of 20 to 30 bookings in a day. Both places are pretty much fully booked for the next eight weeks and it's expanding quickly in to the next ten weeks.

Because the disc tournament sold out so quickly as we're somewhat limited by how many people we can have here at one time we're looking at doing another one in October. We may have two of them a year. Occupancy wise the lodge is full either way but the disc people are so nice it's right doing it twice.
I ran into the County Supervisor for roads on Hurrah Monday and he said the road would be closed all day Thursday as they were putting a semi layer of something down for dust control. SITLA who owns most of the Hurrah Pass Road is paying to have all the works arounds closed off. He sent me a picture from Hurrah this afternoon of where they have closed the old mining road off that occasionally somebody goes around in the dark and it's a daring rescue to get them back. They had an excavator up there putting big rocks to close the off road knuckleheads.

Jax and I are getting a hike in most days.

Three or four days ago the remodel looked like this.


Now it looks like this.


Snowpack is climbing. It's now 82% of the March 3rd average. April 6th is generally considered the snow pack high point and at the moment with roughly a month to go we're at 68%. There is still four or five feet between the dock and the water.






Monday, February 22, 2021

Sunday

 Linny's family came to visit so while they were all in the river kayaking or wading out to sand bars Jax and I got a hike in up Hurrah Pass.



On one narrow portion of the road there are three places I'm getting a little nervous about the rocks above falling and taking out the road. Seems like the crack is a little bigger in each one or it protrudes out just a little further. I called the county and it's rare when I see a sizable ground event on the road. There was one on the other side right when I moved here and really nothing since. They said it would take them a day or two but they could fix it.


Jax, Linny, and I are back together and in the next week or so Kobae. It's as if the early days are returning with the same cast of characters.
Big week for rehab. Whole crew coming in today for the week see what can get knocked off. From about the 8th of March on both sides of Base Camp are pretty full already until the end of April and that's how it was last year except there won't be 77 cancellations this time. I hope.
Jax and I got to the top of Hurrah and then we hung out waiting for Linny and her family in the truck and side by side so we can give them a ride back to their vehicles.






Sunday, February 21, 2021

Almost Kobae Time

Next door at Last Hurrah we're been pretty full most days. I've closed the lodge since the 16th of February until the end of this month. I hope most of the remodel will be done by then but there are always issues especially in the boonies. Not only are there the normal issues but there's boonie issues also. 


First boat came down the river yesterday. I didn't see it as I was further out hiking with Jax and couldn't see the river from where we were but I heard it head downstream and I didn't hear it come back.
Storm blew in last night for an hour or two and brought a cold biting wind with it. I saw one skunk and one daring fox. Even with Jax sitting on the porch with me the gray fox came within 50 feet or so for it's hot dog.
High 40's and mid 50's for the next week. Almost time already to go get Kobae. Use to be March, April, and May was the busy season. Then after a few years September and October got added to it. Then last year with Covid the busy season went from March to early January and now this year when February ends I'll be up $20,000 over Jan and Feb of last year. Part of moving out here in addition to having a place for all the managers of the indoor soccer companies to get away was to begin retirement. It's not working out that way. For ten or twelve years in the early days people would pull up the drive way and feel sorry for me. I was an idiot for living out in the middle of nowhere and then last year when Covid hit I woke up one morning and found out I was a genius all of a sudden. What a strange world.




Saturday, February 20, 2021

Learning Curve

So the same guy that criticized me about feeding the animals and said I was doing it to entertain guests and it was illegal who I clearly demonstrated was wrong on both counts now comes back to say I was right that it's not illegal but they ask you not to feed the animals and a lot of human interventions in the biological cycle backfire, because even the best trained people with the best intentions can't predict the full extent of their actions." Well then why should I listen to them? For sure I know what the short term cycle is and it saves lives and those lives will live to create more lives without dying the horrible death of starvation and the birds will live long and not suffer the eye disease, and I don't have mice and pack rats anymore. Those things we do know because I'm right here experiencing it on a daily basis. Then somebody else chimes in that they won't learn to feed themselves. I clearly demonstrated that's not the case either. Only the babies show up after six months or so. The adults have learned to feed themselves or they'd be coming back in the evenings or maybe they just tired of Kit&Kaboodle and hot dogs every night. After being wrong about everything, he has this classic finish "I'm sorry if I offended you. I'm sure you do mean well."


In 1976 I was a guard at the stockade at Ft. Carson. Then one day I came to work and they told me I was not a guard anymore, I was a confinement officer, a few months later they said I was no longer a confinement officer I was a correctional specialist. There was no pay raise or anything just the changing of names to make somebody happy.

We had a prisoner named Blankenship. He was several handfuls. If he was going to leave his cell to go to court it would take five of us. I'd assign one guard to be in charge of his right arm, another his left, and one for each leg, and I'd handle wherever he would break loose. We all took a couple hits or kicks from him before we could get him in hand irons, leg irons, and restraining straps. There was nothing I hated worse than having to let him out of his cell. When we'd eventually complete our task of taking him wherever and put him back in his cell I would wait around for three or four minutes knowing what would happen next. He'd call out "Sergeant Higginson I have something for you." I'd open the tray door and there would be the handcuffs, leg irons, and restraining straps that he had worked his way out of in less than the five minutes he had been back in his cell.
One day a soldier walks into my office and says "Sergeant Higginson my name is Specialist Dennis. I'm the new counselor and I've just received my list of the prisoners that I will be working with." He handed me the list. I said "I assume you'd like to go through the list with me so I can tell you who your problem children are going to be." He said "I don't mean to offend you and I'm sure you mean well but I've just completed four years of........." criminal something or another, social something else and three or four other college classes at some university up north. I'm thinking Illinois or close but I'm not sure. Then he said "I don't want to go into my first meeting with preconceived notions. I've never met them. They won't have anything against me so we'll be starting new." Then he said "Let's go in alphabetical order. First up, I'd like to see Blankenship." I said "How about just to mix things up, lets start at the end of the alphabet and go the other way." He smiled at me like I was being funny and said "Blankenship." I got on the phone and called the control desk and told them I needed four guards to max block right away. Specialist Dennis followed me down the long hallway to max block where there were four guards waiting for us. I gave everyone their assignment for arms and legs and then looked through the window bars and said "Blankenship, your counselor is here." He smiled.
I said "Specialist Dennis, when you're done conversing with Blankenship you let me know." He nodded. I opened the door and Specialist Dennis stuck his hand out to shake. Blankenships's first punch broke his nose and his glasses. When Dennis fell to the ground Blankenship jumped on him and started hitting him with a fury I'd never seen. I said "Specialist Dennis, when you're done communicating with Blankenship don't forget to let me know." He was yelling "I'm done, I'm done." Four guards jumped on Blankenship and I dragged Dennis out of the cell into the hall way then went into the cell to restrain Blankenship. We all took some blows and so did Blankenship. The difference being Blankenship didn't care. There was blood in the cell, on the door, and in the hallway. I took Specialist Dennis down to the dispensary to see the medic and wrote up a report. I didn't see Specialist Dennis for awhile.
A few weeks later Specialist Dennis comes into my office. They'd re-set his nose and his glasses had a little bit of tape on the front of them and on his left ear holding them together. Dennis said "I'm sorry to bother you Sergeant Higginson, do you have a couple minutes?" I said "I do." He said "I was hoping you could go through this list with me of people I'll be counseling. You know, maybe you could let me know if there's any issues I should be wary of, any conditions or things that I should know about." I said "I'll be happy to go through them with you. Don't ignore the people on the ground that are living the experience every day. They know more than you and they know it in detail and Specialist, congratulations, in your two weeks absence with time to reflect, you've learned more than you did in four years of reading books and college classes."




Friday, February 19, 2021

Colorful Few Days

Storms have been visiting just briefly and the moving out. 15 to 30 minutes usually. 




With in town side by sides rented pretty much all the time prices have gone up this year. Before it was $550 to rent a six seater for a day. $440 a four seater, and $330 a two seater. There's has been a 20% increase this year. I had someone come out to play disc golf and they rented a two seater to get out here for $400. Six seaters just went to $660 a day. It's madness.
Had a Prius here back in November or December. A couple days ago I had some folks follow me up Hurrah Pass in their Honda Fit. Had about two inches of ground clearance.....maybe. I went over the top and told them to come up the right side, it looks worse but it works. The driver responded on the walkie talkie he didn't want to drive it up the last 100 feet so I told him I'd do it. When I started to walk down the road to get to the Honda Fit I saw the girl woman that owned the car walk behind the Hurrah Pass sign, close her eyes and put her hands over her ears. When I got to the Fit the guy said "Good luck." I breezed up the right side and never touched though I confess I thought I was going to.
The next day Linny and I are driving back from town and there are fresh tire tracks in front of us. We're trying to guess what type of vehicle it is as we're closing on it. The tracks get whiter as we get closer. It's a passenger car from the design on the tires. When we come around the corner we see the vehicle stopped and talking to someone who just came down Hurrah. Linny says "Is that a Tesla?" I pull up next to the Tesla and it's two guys headed out to play disc golf. I admire their grit. I tell them they can follow us but I got about a quarter of a mile and it took them about five minutes to catch up. There are six miles to go. This isn't going to work. I hit my right turn signal to pull up next to me. I hand them the walkie talkie and say "I'd give you a ride but the back of the truck is full of wood and the inside is full of propane bottles and packages that came in for the remodel. If you get to the top of Hurrah call me on the walkie and I'll come get you for the down side. If not leave the walkie at Mad Bro in town. They never called. Next day I'm at Mad Bro and they said two guys left this walkie talkie for you.





The Days

 It's mostly warm, 40s at worst. Fifty something today and 60 tomorrow. Jax and I hike every day and some days Linny goes with us but Last Hurrah is pretty busy so Linny has her hands full keeping the place up next door. We're out of dryers at the moment. Can't get repair people to come out so I'll take a fridge in to get worked on. When it's ready I drop off a dryer and bring back the fridge. Haven't seen ice in the river in a couple weeks.



More disc golfers showing up every day and the weather keeps warming. They're coming from Salt Lake saying they just got 18 inches of snow. Colorado Springs told me the temp when they left home was five degrees and Denver said it was seven degrees. It's nice here. The storms are all around us and they come in for 15 to 20 minutes some evenings and then leave again.
There was a scene in The Canyonlands where Linny was a ghostly figure in the back of one of the fingers. Couple days ago we hiked over to relive the moment. I can't find the original picture but I will. We hiked to the back of the finger and the ledge she stood on while the fog machine was cranking out fog below her....is gone. These two rocks landed right where Linny was standing as the ghost and there's a couple more up there waiting to fall.

We hiked through the rest of The Fingers pointing out where certain scenes were filmed and people got whacked.








Thursday, February 11, 2021

Wednesday

We're getting busy already. We're booked this weekend at both places. We've been doing work around the property together when it takes two of us. This is almost impossible for me to believe but there are places on the property itself where guests have driven off the road and left tracks which just encourages the next person to follow them and eventually it turns into a road. There's no shortage or railroad ties at the gravel pit so that's what we've been using to block the attempted new roads. 


Unfortunately I'm spending a lot of time behind the desk checking to see all the booking sites sync with each other and with my internal one to make sure I don't get any double bookings. In the old days it wouldn't matter because I always had something open but that's no longer the case so I can't make a mistake. Linny is always out cleaning something when things go vacant next door and helping Aleatha with the remodel here. Today Linny was next door cleaning Jax and I took a break from computer work and got a hike in.

I remember finding this beer can on top of a balanced rock when I first moved here and now have re-found it almost 15 years later. Don't think you can get there without ropes.
Jax found the remains of the 1300 pound cow that broke it's ankle out here several years ago. The cowboys couldn't right it, shot it, and dragged in into a wash. Jax is fascinated by things that have died and there's no shortage of that.
I've been very fortunate with the quality of guests that come out here. I think mostly they are people that understand there won't be a mint on their pillow, you need to come prepared, and it's more glorified camping or you can go explore the wild and retreat at the end of light into some semi comforts. Occasionally when I feel a real close bond to people when they're checking out they'll say something like "We'll be back for sure." I tell them "That's fine. Just make sure you use a different name so I won't know it's you and I'll approve the reservation." Usually they hesitate for a second and then realize I'm joking and smile. But one time I could tell the people were deeply hurt and no matter how much I apologized and told them I could only say that because I feel so close to you and knew you'd know it was a joke they didn't believe it. I stopped for a second thinking they were playing me, which I deserved, but I don't think they were and when I emailed them after they had been gone a few days to see that they got home safe they never responded. I rarely do that anymore. 

I'm starting to feel a sort of similar about the family that launched the paraglider a few weeks or so ago. The woman called the next day and left a heartfelt message that she was so sorry and it pained me to listen to the emotion in her voice. At the post office a couple days ago I got a card from a name I didn't recognize. When I opened it, was a follow up apology. "....from your property without your consent. I regret doing that and being so disrespectful.....and hope you would allows us to visit again....." Jeez I feel bad. She sent me money also. Holy cow.


Film commission called and want to bring some people out to look at the place for a potential TV series. I've had no contact with them since they didn't back the Yamaha people when the Moab Punk Ass Weenies turned on them. The film commission helped Yamaha get their permit before the Punk Ass Weenies went Facebook and tried to shut them down. The Film Commission folded like a cheap tent in a dust devil. I'm not comfortable I'm good with them yet, or ever.
Which reminds me I've been watching motorcycle stadium cross racing and the Yamaha commercial filmed here is on every time between the heat races and the mains. They also have a second commercial which talks about all of their different kinds of vehicles to include snowmobiles and there are three or four flashes of red rock filmed here on the property and ends with a side by side on the cliffs and The Saddle in the background.


Which further reminds me I've had three recent reservation requests where potential guests have mentioned that they read the blog or a good chunk of it. My profile on some of the booking sites doesn't look so good. Normally when somebody makes a request to your property the host says yes or no but almost always yes because they want the money. I respond telling them to bring their own food and explaining the road to them and that they'll need sufficient ground clearance. Most booking sites give you 24 hours to say yes or no. But to me if they don't respond within that 24 hours telling me they have transportation that will get them here I let the request expire or turn them down. I don't want to go looking for them in the middle of the night because they drove an inadequate vehicle to get here. While most hosts have a 97 or 98% yes rate sometimes mine doesn't break 50%. Potential guests think that means I'm real discriminating about who comes out here and I am but in different ways that are likely unnoticeable. So they'll send me resumes, people I can call to check on their good heart and morals and sometimes even pictures of their families. It's not unusual. This was one of the best and I'll just quote a small portion. They explain they'd been out west once many years ago when they were younger and now wherever they live they've been in lock down forever and it's time to break the bonds. ".......it's time to explore, relax, and remember what it was like being 2 young knuckleheads again without reservations. That's knuckleheads, not Punk Ass Weenies." I took them. Even if they don't have the right vehicle they have heart and they're dreamers. If their vehicle doesn't make it they'll hike here.