Monday, December 6, 2021

Skinny People

 Nate, Collin, and I did Skinny People taking our dogs, Rugby, Ranger, and Jax.

Chicken Corner

 I took Collin out to Chicken Corner to show him things I have found a long the way so if something happens to be these things don't get lost to future guests. This is a natural bridge.

This rock formation is called the Solstice Tower but before we knew it had a name we always called it Four Fingers and a Thumb.
This is the intersection of Lockhart Basin and Chicken Corner.
A Story. When I moved here 15 years ago, a previous owner told me that around Christmas somewhere a lady in her 40s or 50 would show up and ask me to escort her to her past husbands marker. Take her out there and leave her alone for half hour or so and then bring her back. She showed up over the holidays somewhere and I took her out to the marker. It was just a rock shaped like a headstone, didn't say anything on it. I took her out there, waited in silence until she came back to the vehicle, and brought her back to the lodge and I never saw or heard from her again. Bill who worked her put a lariat around it and then we left it alone.
Ten years later, maybe five or so years ago I'm driving out to Chicken Corner and the marker looks different. I park and walk over to it and it has a metal sign on it and people are leaving trinkets and the like around it. I look down and it says this. That's all I know.
Looking through The Saddle from the other direction.
Across the river at the lightning shelter at Dead Horse Point and down into the river.

Jax and I walk around Chicken Corner.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Vehicle Out and Stuff

 Jax and I took the 3rd vehicle up and down Hurrah Pass in the last week or so and then hiked back.

While Hurrah Pass is all but empty of traffic now last week one guest said their vehicle got hit by a side by side that was blowing down the road and sadly on the other side of Hurrah Pass up above Kane Creek is a rock that juts out and last week Moab was full of base jumpers and one jump spot called Jay Leno, while they were unloading their side by side off the trailer to come over here, some one jumped of Jay Leno who's chute didn't open and they died. With friends gathered around the lifeless body the last two jumpers went anyway and landed safely.

After this review was written the guest, in the private comments, said she had to rewrite the directions for me to use. She said she couldn't help it, she's a lawyer. Posted the new version in her private comments.

"Simply Amazing. This place is 1000% worth the journey. I wanted to stay longer after our first day, and wish I would have planned it that way. Tom and Colin are excellent hosts, who immediately make you feel welcome and at home. The views all around and the terrain is like no where else on earth. It is so incredibly beautiful, you will be left with your breath taken away at almost every turn. We got a chance to ride on one of the side-by-sides, and had an amazing time exploring the wind caves, chicken corner, and all the Moab past Hurrah Pass had to offer. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The place had everything you needed for a comfortable stay, and to cook your own food. They had a nightly fire burning where we made new friends. The rooms are cute, and the beds are comfortable. Very highly recommend! Hurrah Pass is a difficult car ride- next time I will get a high clearance 4 wheel drive."

Jax got a haircut. Longest he had gone without one. I got to say, still my two favorite pictures of him are when he got here and roughly two weeks later leaving him with me while Michelle went to give her two weeks notice. So, 1st is arrival, 2nd is two weeks later. She said he was a designer dog. Maybe but he's a desert dog now.

Season is over. Last guests checked out today from the Thanksgiving weekend. Periodic guests here and there, then busy for Christmas/New Years, and then periodic until March.
Everything is winterized. Now the little stuff. Turn the hot water heaters to vacation and the fridges off. Filling up all the gas cans. Collin just took all the empty water jugs and propane bottles to town in Constant Impact. Each time Collin or I go to town we'll bring back wood and be good and stocked up.

When I was in San Diego Linny said they just got Lt. Dan all washed up and looking good. I said "Who is Lt. Dan besides the movie person in Forrest Gump?" She said that's what they named my nice looking Ford 150 that is currently in San Diego but headed back this way soon.

Boulder Canyon

Jax, Teresa (guest) and I hiked the Boulder Canyon behind the hogans. 

The north side of the property just beyond the hogans is so scenic.

As you walk along the hogan ridge you take a ridge that T-bones it from the left and take it all the way to the end. That's is often a good time place to run across the big horn herd but they weren't there on this day. Much of the valley has this gold colored floor across it.
Coming out of the Boulder Canyon it opens up to a wide gently sloping valley which will take you out to the road.

Jackson Hole

 Took guest to Jackson Hole in the new side by side. Only about the 4th or 5th time I've driven it since I bought it.

It's a 2022, 1,000cc Polaris Ranger. The other two are pretty smooth going out for guests but I have to say this one is even smoother.
Traffic has dropped off considerably. Nate went to town last night and saw two vehicles on the way in and none of the way back and very little traffic in town for that matter.
Cactus needles are turning red.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Vehicle Out and Reviews

 Jax and I, more me than him, drove a vehicle out, up and down Hurrah Pass, can't even remember what it was, then we hiked back.

“Long review on this fantastic property incoming! We originally booked for 2 nights but ended up staying for 4 after reading reviews. We came with two dogs (who had a blast!!). Scary drive over the top of Hurrah Pass but doable in the 4Runner. Just be sure to take your time and utilize Tom’s directions to make sure you go the right way. Once we got there, we pulled up to the main lodge past the Base Camp sign and Tom greeted us there. Then we followed him in our vehicle to the Hogan. Having a real indoor bathroom and outdoor shower was really nice - a huge upgrade from camping in the desert. It is shared with the other hogan however we had no issues with sharing. Even though the two hogans are in the same vicinity, one is higher and one is lower on a hill and the layouts of the seating/cooking/fire pit areas make it so that they are still private. Firewood and water were provided so we didn’t have to pay for or lug in extras. We used the mini fridge, coffee pot, and microwave provided in the hogan. There were also outlets to charge our phones. Although we brought a camping stove, we used the grill that was provided instead. Star viewing with the zero gravity chairs was incredible. I’ve seen a lot of shooting stars in my life but I saw the second biggest meteor I’ve ever seen while we were there. I will never forget it. Various constellations were visible too. It was impossible for me not to take hundreds of photos from the hogan because the sunrises, sunsets, and clouds constantly changed the colors of the beautiful surrounding desert rocks and formations. The Colorado River is also viewable from the hogan area. Cacti were blooming too. Tom entertained my annoying amount of questions about the local flora, fauna and geology. I learned a lot from him!! We originally wanted to drive into Moab for a day to do our usual hikes, but after seeing how busy Moab was along with the long drive over Hurrah Pass, we decided to stay and play on/around the property only. Be sure to ask him about activities, use his kayaks to get to the beautiful sandbar across the river, and rent a side-by-side to go to the Wind Caves and Chicken Corners if you have the time. We didn’t even make it to the disc golf courses which is crazy considering we love discing. There was just so much else to do! Tom, thanks for the awesome time, property, and hospitality. We will be back! Lauren”

“A truly EXCEPTIONAL, once in a lifetime adventure. The "road" over Hurrah Pass is spectacular, yet testy. Some white knuckles, yet never an issue for our Wrangler. Initially, we were very reluctant as we navigated the hairpins, canyon drops and rock features, but with time, we became comfortable, took our time; navigating, photographing and admiring the spectacular views. The Base Camp is MUCH greater than we ever anticipated. We stayed in the Male Hogan (3 nights) and it was the most relaxing and incredible trip we have had in years... if not ever! The views are remarkable, the peace and quiet is restorative. The journey to Chicken Corners is highly recommended, and Wind Caves (en-route) is stunning. The Hogan is stocked with everything we needed, except food & drink (Tom provided us with plenty of water). Tom, with his dry wit, is a GREAT story teller and most accommodating host. His attention to detail and responding to our occasional needs was spot on! We shall return!”

“Imagine staying in a National Park without the hassle and the crowds. That's what you get when you stay at Tom's outstanding property. You're completely surrounded by beautiful, Moab, Utah rock structures with all the peace and quiet in the world. The Hogan is a unique and fun experience with comfortable futons to bed down at night and other thoughtful touches to make your stay a special one. Additionally, you can experience kayaking opportunities on the Colorado River, several walking, hiking and biking trails and a vivid night sky resplendent with stars. And don't forget to take a drive just outside Tom's property to the stunningly beautiful Chicken Corners area. The property itself and the surrounding area are a photographers and cinematographers dream come true. Tom is an outstanding host, attentive, with a wealth of hiking and travel tips for the surrounding area. We were so very fortunate to be able to stay at this beautiful desert Paradise, and we hope to again in the future. Strongly recommended. You won't regret it!”
We as family sat on the porch of the property and came up with words to describe our trip: extraordinary, epic, ancient/time travel, spiritual, fascinating, pushing limits, and phenomenal. The house was clean and provided everything we needed for our trip out there. We were able to cool down between hikes and jeep rides. The scenery is a million dollar view. Every day we would wake up and couldn't believe we were in between mesa and next to the Colorado River. Tom was a phenomenal host. Every place he told us to hike was worth it. We kept saying, "if Tom tells us to go there we will not be disappointed." I would highly suggest a Jeep rental. We avoided wear and tear on our own vehicle and had the ability to go wherever we wanted without worry. There were some tears from my twelve year old when we left. We are definitely going back next summer.

1st and foremost bring Tom some Mike's Hard Lemonade (any flavor)! This man is an Angel in Utah! His whole being is so great and sharing his property, his prehistoric tortoise Kobae and Jax his peaceful dog is all a treat. 2nd Yes the drive is better suited for a 4x4 and actually quite the experience that you will never forget. However, grin and bare it you will be fine! 3rd The rooms are what you would expect in the middle of Utah far away from everyone. Your insomnia will be cured during your stay as there are no people or tons of cell phone towers. You will have the peace that you need. Tom was gracious enough to provide amenities for a comfortable stay. He was very kind and knowledgeable about so much and it's rare you meet a kindred spirit like him. I promised I will be back because I am anxious to get some real rest disconnecting from everything and everyone. The internet was down so no wifi during my stay which was a blessing that kept me enjoying the surrounding atmosphere. Make sure to check out the wind caves. Thanks Tom! And Kate was super kind and helpful with anything I needed and even shared some of her personal stash of treats. She was really chill. And the stars at night are the most epic thing I have ever seen. At 40 years old I have seen the milky way with my own eyes. Make sure to download the stars app to get an even better description of what you are looking at. Also, the people that come to the base camp are all looking for something new and peaceful. Here is where you will find it. BTW this is the longest review I have ever left.
Travelled with a friend and my great dane. To start, the drive in was so beautiful, road was rough but made it down just fine in a Nissan Xterra in about an hour. We arrived just in time to meet the resident tortoise. It was hilarious watching him chase my dog around. The king room was the perfect size for us and was very clean and had cute furnishings. Our view off of the back deck was to die for. We spent our days driving down to chicken corner, swimming and fishing the Colorado, hiking, and relaxing. Tom is hilarious and we loved his stories and knowledge of the area. The only thing about our stay that sucked was realizing we had to leave at some point. Absolutely best trip ever, you will not regret staying!

I especially want to put this review on there because Jennifer made me think a different way. I'm competitive and have been my whole life. When I have an obstacle in front of me, it's me against the obstacle. So when I see Chevy Volt's, Edge, Fiesta, Prius, Geo Prism, Toyota Corolla, and many other small vehicles in the parking lot I look at it like they won and Hurrah Pass lost. But there is the possible reckoning when turning the vehicle in. Normally I'll drive people out, Collin will work on their vehicle, and or I'll send them to see Chris at Nations Towing and put it on my tab. Chris never bills me. I just give him money when I see him and when I ask him he says "It's close." I suspect he's going to wait until the bill for fixing vehicles is in the hundred thousands and then foreclose on me. I also thought I was saving the guests money so they didn't have to pay extra for a higher up and more expensive vehicles since the others can get there. In the future I'll change my wording to prospective guests about the Jeep/truck options.

One more thing. Lot of people say the road is bad here or there or prepare for this but the road is always changing. I just read through five months of reviews and four or five mention prepare for and get a run for the last 100 feet going back up Hurrah Pass but that's a cakewalk right now. Another review said "forget everything you've read about the road, it's worse, but that was then and this is now. It's changing always. The reviews help a lot. Ok here's Jennifer's review.

"We stayed in the male hogan for 3 nights. The only thing we wish we could change was our choice in rental car. We flew from the east coast so did not have our own car. We did rent a medium SUV with AWD (it was a Ford Edge), but as many have said before me the road is no joke and really a pick-up truck, jeep, or something like a 4-runner is much more appropriate and will ensure a much smoother trip. We did not make it without scraping several times on the way down and up, and on the trip down we ended up dragging a rock which partially ripped the heat shield off the bottom where the engine is. We pulled over, walked the last mile down and Colin drove us back up to the car and patched it for us so we could drive the rest of the way down. Just because the car can make it, doesn't mean it is the best option so bear that in mind when choosing your vehicle. Beyond that, this is a wonderful place to get off the grid a little bit and enjoy the beauty of this area without crowds. Hosts were very friendly and helpful. The hogan is exactly as described and we had everything we needed to feel comfortable. Had no issues sharing a bathroom and shower with the neighboring hogan guests. Definitely recommend checking out the night sky after the moon has set if it is a bright moon. I accidentally stumbled upon this at about 4:30 am when I got up to run down to the bathroom. I've never seen the stars this bright anywhere before. Many constellations were perfectly clear. Highly recommend playing some disc golf (if that is your thing- original course was our favorite) and taking out one of their side-by-sides to Chicken Corner and the wind caves. This is definitely going on the list of places to re-visit!"

Loran and Jacob

 Loran and Jacob stayed here a few months ago and sent me these pictures.