Wednesday, June 24, 2020

I Hope You Have a Good Life

Tami is working at the bathroom between the two hogans. She goes in and out a couple times and then goes to set a bucket down and see the Midget Faded rattlesnake curled up in the shade. Her and Chris put it in a large trash can and take it down to the garage and call me. The two ways I've caught them is to set a trash can down and push a broom towards it. They want to go in the trash can so they only worry about a predator, us, coming from one direction. Or get grilling tongs and grab the snake three quarters of the way back so it can't bite you.
In the old days I would take them down to Lockhart Basin and drop them off but they'd make their way back in a week. They have some sort of radar that keeps them from going more than a mile from where they are born. I determined it's a straight line so after a few years of them returning I started taking them down toward Chicken Corner, climbing down a sketch game trail, to the bottom by the river, and releasing them there. That's this one's future. Karen, a guest, hears about the plan and says she wants to go on an adventure so the following morning we head out in her vehicle. The game trail is not visible from the road so what I look for is a deer or big horn track heading toward the cliff. I see one. We park and I head down the cliff face with my friend. Karen is coming behind me but she has her dog and as soon as I release it the dog will go for it so she returns to the vehicle. I release it where I've released 10 or 15 others.

It's Been a Week

Got a couple hikes in with guests, mostly Skinny People, one for The Fingers. Still not hiking by myself until I get Jax back. I better do something. Last couple times I got out of my chair it tried to go with me.

The bad spot on Hurrah Pass got worse. The Base Camp extra parking lot which was developed while I Uber'd guests back and forth is full so we have a second one now. The truck is taking a beating, me too, day after day two or three round trips each day.

I had one of the departing guest drive the remaining Polaris to town to get worked on but it broke down on the way. We are with but one functioning side by side and only good for around here. After three round trips on Hurrah Pass and a couple more that followed me back, it's late and I'm tired. Phone rings and guy says he broke him leg on a crash with his motorcycle out by Chicken Corner. He's in the hospital and I pick up his bike for him and bring it to town. 6am Chris and I drive out to almost Chicken Corner and brought it to town.

Heather showed up in a beast and shuttled her family back to Base Camp where she gets to feed  her tortoise Kobae each day.

Miracle of miracles. Taking a load of guests back to their vehicles in the Base Camp Hurrah parking lot I run across a grader going up Hurrah Pass and now the hard spot looks like this.
After a tough day or two Mother Earth noticed and said "Let me see if I can help you? She gave me this. Thanks mom.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

A Whole Bunch More Stuff

There are generally four ravens that hang out at the lodge. In addition to scaring off the hawks from going after the songbirds they occasionally kill a hawk and I have three buried in the wildlife vs wildlife cemetery. For the second time in the 13 years one of them has lost a mate and they mate for life. When the loss comes there is no consoling them. He/she walks around the yard crying and complaining and the other two try and bring the one who has lost out of it. They stay with the single bird and try and cheer it up but for a week now there's no consoling that is adequate. At 5:30 a couple of mornings I've had to go outside and while understanding the loss I have people sleeping as it just walks around the lodge complaining with the other two giving it loud awks.
Fran Tully is a guy that has taught off road riding on street bikes to hundreds of people over the years and he has taken the whole place for three days in October and invited everyone who has attended any of his classes so they have three days of riding from here.
The other day the Condo and the Main House each had their coolers blowing full blast and both hogans were using their air conditioners. It's been very expensive but I finally have enough panels and batteries that all of Last Hurrah can run full blast and not be in danger.
Several years ago Linny and I had two favorite side-blotched lizards we named Who's Up and What's Up who we worked together with on the porch to catch flies. They were unbelievable. After they didn't come back from hibernation one year it was painful and we never got connected to a side-blotched again but you recognize them on roughly the same place on the porch every day so there is a bit of a relationship. Last week there was a whip snake in bushes by the porch that was picking off a lizard here and there. I saw it almost get a whip tail lizard. After a couple days I decided I didn't want to lose any lizards so I pushed a broom in the bushes and it headed up the desert willow. Chris grabbed it by the tail and then I got it by the neck and took it to the gravel pit.

Next door at the Condo each year there is a song bird that has babies in the same nest. Two years ago she had three and they all worked out right. Last year she had one and it fell out of the next. A guest picked it up and put it back in the next but that's the kiss of death. Once babies have been touched by humans mom is done with them usually. This year I noticed the nest was sagging a big but figured mom would recognize it and fix it.
She didn't. After a couple of days the baby fell out and that's when they are vulnerable Tami took this cute picture and then the following day while working at the Condo noticed the mother flying back and forth frantically. Tami went outside and a different whip snake had it half way swallowed. Tami picked it up and put it in a pot with a glass lid on it and it immediately released the baby bird but it was too late. I buried the baby in our wildlife versus wildlife cemetery and took the whip snake to the gravel pit. I think I'll take everything that kills something to the gravel pit and then they can all kill each other.
Becoming a common sight is a small spotted skunk that sticks it's head out from under the porch all the time to see if there's an extra hot dog around somewhere. Tami got these two pictures and the next day I walked by and the skunk was sitting on the porch watching people walk by but as soon as I grabbed my camera it went back under.

Clawing back from being $40,000 down versus last year to maybe $30,000 down by the end of the month.

A Whole Bunch of Stuff

I've been spending a little more time on Hurrah Pass than usual. Last week had a couple come in driving a Ford 150, same as mine, but it had running boards on the sides. They couldn't get up Hurrah Pass in the one tough spot on the east side and when they back down to give it another run they sort of went into the creek bed next to the tough spot and got the rear bumper high centered. They walked the two miles up Hurrah to call me. I went out with one of the guests and tow strapped it over the tough spot. When they checked out Saturday I put a trials bike in the back, drove them out, and then unloaded the trials bike and rode back.
On Saturday a convoy of two SUVs, and a mini van headed out to Hurrah and the two SUVs made the tough spot but the van got stuck. So I headed up again to go get the van. Despite two hearty efforts by ownership just missed getting over the top so left it there and loaded a week's worth of stuff in he back of the truck and brought them over and will be taking them back on Thursday. I think one more run he could have made it. Each time he tried something fell off so the vehicle was getting lighter and increasing it's ground clearance. It would be inaccurate to say it didn't make it over the top because as things would fall off I would pick them up and carry them over the top.
I've been calling San Juan County for a couple weeks to fix the road but I'm not making any progress. The issues appears to be that Doug, who I bought Last Hurrah from was not happy with the road, petitioned them to change it from a B road to a D road so he could work on it himself. They changed it and lost their responsibility for it. Doug then sold to me and I don't have a front end loader or anything with which to fix it so I'm in no man's land at the moment.

Brendan and Amy were here last week of Canyonlands horror movie and they have taken all of Base Camp and Last Hurrah for a few days in September and are going to play the movie in the bowl area by holes 12, 13, and 14 on the original course and have the folks that did the soundtrack come in a play the it live while the movie plays on the screen on the land it was filmed on. I don't know for sure what tickets are yet but whatever they are it all goes to charity. I've called Linny several times and left messages and left them for her mom to get hold of her but her phone is turned off and her mom doesn't return my calls. I have no idea what's going on. I thought it would be cool if somebody or two that was in the movie would be here when it was shown. The soundtrack was done by Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger both of Umphrey's Mcgee.
The river has crested and the beach is coming back fast. Still no mosquitoes. It's pretty weird. Huge sandbar in the middle which is where everyone heads. All six kayaks were out yesterday.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Some Stuff

Kobae comes to the porch about 2 to 3pm each day for his meal. He's calmed down a little versus his big eat day he had a couple weeks ago. He's two or three head of romaine, five or so green peppers, and five or six cucumbers. When food comes out of his nose, he's full. Then he sits by the porch for awhile and heads back over the his house. Came out twice today to eat.
Temps drop about 4pm and it will go from 90ish to high 70s in an hour or two. I feed birds and squirrels, water, and I hate to say it but I kill ants. For 12 years no ant ever bit me and I'd see them on my leg and feet and nothing. Last week they bit me twice. It's only a matter of time before they bite guests so I'm eliminating them anywhere close to people. Plus I've seen a line of hundreds carrying bird seed back to the mound. Probably cut my bird seed bill by 20% and instead is going to ant spray.
Took guests on a hike to The Fingers.

Had three incidents in the last week or two where dogs didn't want to leave. They come to me for protection to keep them from going home to their fenced in back yard or whatever their situation and I side with the guests. They give me this look of betrayal as they are hauled off. This is Guru. His parents are really into yoga and they are all over the property filming themselves doing yoga. Apparently Guru has seen all the yoga he cares to see as he wanders over to the lodge and hangs out in the kitchen. I've found him at the boat dock, boat ramp, Condo, in the pond by the Main house, in the big garage next door and when Tami and Chris took his parents to town to kayak back they left him with me. He seemed content after they left and I was petting him and the phone rang. I answered and it was about a ten minute call. When I came out Guru wasn't around. Chris called on the walkie and said Guru followed the truck up to Hurrah Pass and they were taking him with them. When they got back he came over and hugged me as a sort of apology I think. Tomorrow his parents check out after ten days, going to be a tough one.
There are rock squirrels everywhere and more babies than I've ever seen and they all go right for the engines to see if there's any vegetable flavored started or spark plug wires and so far they gotten Tami's car and my Jeep. Without Jax we're vulnerable again so making all the guests park backwards and leave their hood's unlocked and we've built spraying engines with coyote piss part of our up and down the parking lot daily ritual. They've also eaten or torn out all but two of the bushes I planted to make more foliage where they feed to protect them from the hawks so there goes $150 worth of plant life as they destroy their own protection. To add to their destructive habits they are eating much of the flowers on the desert willows. There's been a whip snake hiding in the desert willow the last few days trying to pick off some lizards. He got a whip tail lizard but it sheds it's tail which the snake ate and escaped. Today when I went to catch it up the tree it went. Chris grabbed it by the tail and I by the neck and took it over to the gravel pit for release. I'm not close to any of the side-blotched anymore like Who's Up and What's Up but still I've seen a few of the same lizards for three or four years and gotten use to them.

River is finally going down and the beach re-appearing. Not much yet but it's coming. I haven't seen a single mosquito yet but I expect them any day. Water never got up in the tamarisk so I doubt there are many eggs to hatch this year but if so it's year 13 and I'll deal with them. Branches are falling daily off the right side of the dead cottonwood. Need an alternative place for the birds to go so I can chop that thing down.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Hard Rain of Saturday

It has rained most of Friday night and when I walk outside at 4:30am it's still raining and when I turn the headlamp Kobae's way he's sitting outside in the rain in amazement. On Saturday morning while it's still raining he's back in the hole but his head is sticking out getting wet. He's so weird.
It's coming. You can smell it in the air. I leave to escort check out guests across Kane Creek assuming since I haven't seen a vehicle come over Hurrah Pass it must me flooded. Meanwhile the storm is surrounding Base Camp.

Hurrah was beat up a little from the night rain but not bad and there was almost no water in Kane Creek but since I'm that far and only 20 minutes out of Moab I drive on in to get groceries. Tami and Chris head next door to do laundry, pump water, and start working on the main house. The rain comes hard and they head back to Base Camp but too late, they are trapped in the Jeep up on a little knoll above the driveway for 45 minutes while Mother Nature puts on a show.

I walk out of Village Market and it's hailing hard. There wasn't much water in Kane Creek a half hour ago but there's no doubt there is now. As I'm driving through the canyon everything is a water fall of varying intensity and water capacity.

There are numerous waterfalls on the switchbacks and for just a second I'm sliding floating on top of one of them. When I hit Kane Creek it's deep. I don't even want to think about it. I have the great God Momentum with me and I'm not slowing down. I shoot into the water, the truck hesitates for a second, and then picks up again and I blow out the other side. When I get to the lodge the driveway going down looks like this.
I wait until 5pm as there was the possibility of another round of wind and rain between 3pm and 5pm but at 5:15pm the sun is shining and no dark clouds or red wind in any direction so Chris, Tami, and I head to the bottom of the driveway where some extensive work is needed, then out to the sign to fix the beginning of the driveway. That was a lot of work even for three of us. Before and after pictures. Three more spots on the way over to Last Hurrah and at about 7 something we're done. I'm escorting more checkouts in the morning but I don't expect it to be too tough as the whole afternoon was full of vehicles going over and down Hurrah Pass so I expect by now a trail has been worn for us.

The Red Wind of Friday

Tami and Chris take guests to town to kayak back. River has somehow reached a new high water mark. I checked the site today for snow pack in the Rockies and there is on average three inches. How does more water come down every day? There's nothing left to melt. Usually it takes about four hours but they made it in three so the river is moving.

I have guests on the front porch that are interested in a Skinny People hike. I look out to the west and the sky is a little menacing with an expected storm but we have time for a Skinny People and back so we head out.

Just 20 minutes or so out I look up by Hurrah Pass and a wind is kicking up.
We make a left at the second bowl and start heading back. The wind is catching us fast and the dog almost gets blown over. We're got to navigate the narrow ledge to get back.
At one point we have to hug the wall as the wind is so ferocious we're getting pelted with gravel and medium size dirt balls. Being sandblasted. When we round the corner it's coming from the west also and we're right in the middle looking ahead and behind.

Gusts are up to 55 miles an hour and it's too dangerous to do the narrow ledge to get back so we gut it out until it dies down a little.

This is what Tami and Chris see from the lodge and Tami captures us returning from the hike right as the rain and lightning begin.