Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Sent Me This

 Rachel sent me this.

Heather sent me this. Said it reminded her of when I coached the girls indoor soccer team we had.
Linny sent me these.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

It's Quiet on this Night

 Jax and I laid on the porch above the steps for awhile tonight. I put the head lamp on red so the bugs which have just started to show up don't get us. I saw the first ringtail because of my headlamp I saw little red eyes looking down at us so it was hot dog time to feed and Kit@Kaboodle. Soon the feeding nights that so many reviews mention will be back. Many will be pregnant and they'll show up at dark dark to make sure they don't miss a meal. What is now a 24 hot dog night will consistently be in the 40s to 60s and occasionally above 80. They'll all show up at the same time and guests will sit on the porch and marvel at how close they can get as they meet the ringtail, skunk, fox, and raccoon all coming to the porch. It will be good to see all my friends at one time again and they'll be introducing new friends to the world of the porch as they have their babies. I've hardly seen them over the winter. 

Was a busy day for the Wind Caves as traffic converged from all directions. They have grown more popular with time.

The crickets are more and will continue to increase until mid summer. When I first moved here no matter what the temperature I left my window to my room cracked. I didn't know what was out here and hearing the crickets all night was soothing. It was only when they'd stop I'd wake up and think "What is here that the crickets don't know?" Shortly they'd resume and I'd drift back to sleep.

As the summer wore on there would be a few less crickets each night. Some of the ones I knew by their call would be gone. Who is killing the crickets? It's not the fence lizards, they're too small. I've never seen a side blotched lizard munch on a cricket because they exist at different times of the day. Then one day hiking up Hurrah Pass with Kobae, Kobae pulled into the shade. Just a couple feet from us a whiptail lizard came and sat in the sand. He moved a little bit here and there, partly in shade, partly in sun, that doesn't make sense. Then she started digging and I learned their bellies are sensitive to movement in the ground, like ground radar. She dug up a cricket and ate it. How am I so confident it was a she, because they all are. They replicate themselves even simulating the act with another female producing an unfertilized egg that morphs into themselves. I think Jax's happiest place is on top of the Wind Caves.

If there's no wind and you start at the cliffs to the left side of the caves it will bounce to the right side and you can get seven to nine echos.

The crickets make a comeback in the fall and there are a few each night as the nemesis of the whiptails stalk and hunt them in the warm months and in time the leopard lizards get most all of them and the crickets will survive to return for another year.
There is so much more time for this night. I wish I could enjoy them all. However the days are long and there is much to do. When the remodeling was over there were lots of extra mattresses and no place to store them so I took all the queens in my room, got rid of the frame, and just stacked queen mattresses on top of each other until I almost have to get a run at the bed to get in it and yet it's comfortable. I'm tired. I use to imagine my feet and legs relaxing and then sleeping and then working my way up relaxing everything until it came to my brain and I'd relax it and be asleep immediately. Now the days are so busy and the work so much that each evening when I hit the sheets it's almost instantly relaxing and asleep. I sigh it feels so good. A little tingle that the body and the mind will get to rest. 
Kobae sometimes pees, always in threes. Sometimes he poops. Sometimes he lets a third liquid out and that's his reserve. Should be ever run out of food he has a reserve to get him through. He only releases it if he's comfortable, knows where his next meal is coming from and has little stress in his life. I created something like that when I go to bed at night. The body and the mind relax but I know the dark is full of shadows. Somewhere tucked into a crevice there is a part of the body and the brain that it is their time to work. They listen, they taste, they hear, they feel. They detect the crickets not chirping and a hundred other things that they've listed as significant to monitor while the rest of the body and mind sleep. Through the night I know that's a fox eating out of the bowl, a raccoon scraping against a water can, a vehicle going to Wind Caves at 2am, I'm alerted to all of these by the night shift. They are diligent.

It's Quiet Tonight

The wind finally quit after five days. On the porch, the sun has set, it's moments from dark dark. One ringtail most every night, a skunk or two, few foxes showing up and the raccoons after midnight. Terrible fight last night outside my window in the wind. Jax jumped off the bed and wanted to get involved but they like to fight so what's the point? Still a three to four foot drop off at the river where the beach usually has been for all these years. 

Last weekend a lot of traffic across the river at Caveman Ranch. I thought we finally had neighbors but when Monday came there was nothing, and nothing since.

Hiking guest told me today they found a cactus blooming. Probably  the Claret. I'll go look around tomorrow.

As I'm typing I hear a jet at 30 something thousand feet above me. Probably Denver to L.A. or San Diego. All those years I lived in San Diego right by Miramar Naval Air Station home of Top Gun then. I rarely noticed the noise. But here I notice. I remember flying over this exact spot in the mid 90s somewhere from Denver to Anaheim to look at a building for the indoor soccer company. I looked down from the left side of the plane in front of the wing and I saw the evaporation ponds across the river from here and I saw nothing else. To myself, the big fish in the small pond of indoor soccer, "What kind of moron would live out in the middle of nowhere?"
On that day I didn't know I was just a few years away from hitting the wall. In the business world that's defined as go, go, go, 200 miles an hour, sleeping where you work to save the drive time to a hotel, normally sleeping on planes so you can catch up on sleep while still going as fast as you can. The wall was coming for me and my 20 plus years of 100 hour weeks were about to crash head on where you have nothing left. I thought I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as we made more money. It was a bright so it was close to the end. With time I realized it was a train coming from the other direction.
I hit the wall and the train hit me. I was at a Board of Directors meeting and after founding the company and leading it for 20 plus years I told them it was over. I'd hang while people took my place but then I was going to do something else. As I was driving from our Austin facility to the Tucson location I saw people out in the sticks walk out of their house and get on their dirt bikes and take off and I thought "I need some dirt trails."
As I was driving to our Boise facility I saw people walk out of their homes and grab their canoes getting in the Snake River and I thought "I need a river." The search began. I kept adding things to my list and it got more difficult finding what I was looking for. I looked for years and in 2006 I found Camelot Lodge, out of business, the camels gone, but having done years of camel tours. I was looking for solitude and rest so being out of business was just what I wanted. I tried to get out here in my BMW but in those days the road was bad and I got four flats and four bent rims. That's how I met Nations Towing. Eventually when the real estate agent brought me over Hurrah Pass I looked out and saw the evaporation ponds and thought. "I am him. I am the moron." The agent said "I'll introduce you, then what?" I said, "Just drop me off. If I can't cut a deal I'll walk back." He drove off.

 I talk to the Haydukers that come through and many tell me they're looking for something too. Maybe this. They hope they'll find it on the Hayduke Trail.The Whistler, Derrick, Danielle, and Teresa, all searching. Wanderers.

The first yellow headed blackbird showed up. That means the red-winged blackbirds have left. A few Brewers blackbirds will show. They have such a sheen to them. And shortly, the cow birds will be here with their R2D2 sound.
For the first few years I didn't take any guests. Then I took a few. They told somebody. They told somebody else, who also mentioned it to someone they knew.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Just Stuff

 Propane truck was here.

There's a little water trap on the way here now according to Linny's Jeep.
I'd been sending people down to the boat ramp where all the kayaks are telling them to get into the river they need to go in between the two sandbars. Nobody said anything but next time I hiked down there, aren't any sandbars anymore.

Linny has learned to ride the trials bikes and that's where you'll find her when she's not working on the houses, hogans, or rooms.

Rough Day Coming

 Linny went to Salt Lake for a week for a doctor and dentist appointment. Looked at the schedule and has a Friday with six check outs and all eight check ins. I called her and said call me the second you're done in Salt Lake because there is a tough day coming up. I drove up Thursday morning, picked her up, bought another two seater kayak and headed back trying to get back to the lodge as quick as possible but when we hit Moab traffic was backed up forever. Jax slept well though. Six singles and three doubles down at the river now.

Heather Was Here

Daughter Heather showed up with the grand kids and were pretty active during their time here.

Skeleton of a big horn the mountain lion took out a year or so ago at the top of Jackson Ladder.

Jeep Convoy on Cliff Hanger at top of Jackson Ladder.

Sunday, April 11, 2021


Jax, guest Rachel, and I climbed to the top of the Wind Caves. Jax went crazy that we were doing the hiking stuff we use to do every day. 


The best part of this first review is that when I read it I thought "she's right on everything". She emailed me saying she could fix it and I hired her and she did all the work. 


“Read the reviews so you are properly prepared and your expectations are on target, then pack your bags and GO!! This place was stunning and so unique for a multitude of incredible qualities. I almost don’t want to give my review because I don’t want this place to be so busy I can’t get a booking. At the same time I am grateful for the reviews I read so our trip was just what I had hoped it would be and was prepare for physically and my expectations were just right. I was geared up for the crazy drive to get into Basecamp and had what I needed to be comfortable while there. What you can’t really be prepared for is the sense of wonder you feel being there. It is magical and made me feel like a carefree kid who fills their pockets with pretty rocks and gets excited to find cool fossils for show and tell. We had a blast laughing our way through caves and spent quiet evenings strolling and hiking through some of the prettiest scenery you will see but without fighting any crowds! I felt myself pretending I was a National Geographic photographer taking pictures every two minutes because every turn deserved its own shot! Empty your phone unless you have unlimited storage. Tom is awesome! He is the owner and host. He is low key, friendly and makes you feel like your questions deserve his time and he hasn’t already answered them a million times. He seems genuinely invested in you getting to enjoy what you came there to do. He isn’t intrusive in any way so if you want to just do your thing he is fine with that. . He is definitely what contributed and played a part in this place feeling magical. The land! So many things to do and see! Truly breathtaking and you don’t feel hurried or oppressed by crowds of people like so many other places around Moab. You can experience peace and quiet if you need that. The accommodations and amenities: We stayed in a room in the main house. There needs to be some renovations and updating. If you want the Hilton then go to one. But nothing that was wrong or needs work stopped us from having an incredible and unforgettable time in this unique and stunning natural wonderland. There is plenty of hot water, and the towels smelled clean. Bring your own soap and shampoo. If you need something Tom is never far and if he has it he will share or get it for you if he can. Yes, there are certain areas and items that need some attention, updating or an upgrade. like the ceiling fan in our room needed a good wipe down and the sink needs to be replaced. .but it worked. Tom is aware of all of that but he has many hats in running this place and he is great at the best things about this place. He knows the land by heart and will happily join you or guide you to seeing things that will last in your memories forever. I guess the best thing I can say is that I can’t wait to go back and stay even longer. Tips; Drive in during daylight! Drive a car with good tires and good clearance. Wear Depends if you are a timid driver because you might pee your pants on a few of those turns! If you have a heights phobia get someone else to drive and wear an eye mask. Part way up Hurrah Pass my husband commented that he was no longer sure he loved me enough to drive over this road ever again!” Ha ha! We have been married for 34 years so I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean that. By the end the trip he was relaxed and drove out like a pro. I would also watch the weather because I am not sure I would want to come in during a rain storm. Bring your own food and water and paper plates and forks etc and cups. if possible. Paper towels are a good idea too. We used the main house kitchen and were welcome to use Pans and kitchen supplies but be sure to leave it so Tom doesn’t know you cooked there. The mini fridge worked as did the mint microwave, the grills and fire pit. If it makes you feel better bring your own pillow and sheets. Bring ear plugs if you are staying in a room at the main house. The animals can get pretty loud outside and running around on the roof! Nighttime is party time for the critters up there. However they are fun to see until you actually hope to sleep. Be sure to have proper hiking boots if you plan to explore and hike. No one needs a cactus needle jabbing them through the fabric of a tennis shoe. If you own a telescope the stars are amazing! I loved our time at Basecamp. and can’t wait to go back. In the meantime I will look at the pretty pile of rocks I brought home a do nothing but smile and recall happy memories! 🌈☀️❤️” 

“The views are absolutely spectacular and you must rent a side by side (ATV type thing) for exploring once you’re up there. Tom gave us some great tips for where to explore! I drove in a Honda Fit, and I would absolutely never do that again :) Yes, Tom gives ample warning about the road, but if you do not have high enough clearance, this will be a harrowing experience, as it was for me! To be fair, it was raining, which made it even harder. Tom thankfully helped us drive the car back up Hurrah’s Pass when we left (he is an old pro and made it look easy!) It is beautiful up there, a real treasure, but if you have a smaller car (again I have a Honda Fit), know it will take you several hours to get there and nerves of steel. But Tom is very helpful and his dog rules!”
“What an experience! From the second you pul off on to Hurrah... you’re hooked! Don’t let the road scare you, it’s all part of the adventure. Just take it slow and take it wide on the turns. Would definitely recommend an SUV at least if you don’t have 4wd (you can make it either way, just a little less anxiety). The female hogan was well appointed with everything you need and anything else, Tom’s just a walkie talkie call away. Listen to what he has to say... he knows things! 10/10 recommend the UTV... the property has so much to see! Would recommend bringing bandanas for the dust! Overall amazing experience - will definitely be returning!”
“Rustic but not roughing it is how we would describe Tom's place. We liked Tom's laid back demeanor. He is super knowledgeable about the area, and very responsive to all questions and requests. You only need food and clothing. He provides plenty of water and firewood. The bed in the male hogan was very soft and comfortable. There is a propane heater that works great, though I like to bring an extra blanket for extra warmth. The outdoor shower was powerful and hot! The views , silence, and star gazing is amazing. I recommend headlamps or flashlights for night, as it is pitch dark at times. The grill was great and basic supplies to cook with are also supplied. Take advantage of all the property has to offer. Kayaking to Colorado River, side-by-side rental (the most affordable rental you will ever find for these) and ride to the wind caves and Chicken Corner, he has discs for the 2 amazing frisbee golf courses, and hikes you will not find on any trail map. Pay close attention to his instructions and maps if you are not use to the area and terrain and bring plenty of water on your hikes. Our only regret was not staying longer. We recommend 4-6 nights to fully explore and enjoy the property and surrounding area. Loved everything!”
We had the extra surprise and pleasure of discovering our view from the Anticline Overlook (past the Windwhistle Campground where we set up camp) was your place and all the wonderful hikes we did while staying there. We saw Skinny People from above, and all the twists and turns of the Hurrah Pass Road. It was really fun to see it all in a bird's eye view.

Our time at your place was really special--the views, the hikes, the hogan, cooking outside, the fires, the night sky. More than that, your unique hospitality made it special. I almost feel sorry for folks who don't get it. Their loss.

Thanks again for doing what you do.

If you're looking for a true Southern Utah experience, this is the place to stay! Its a unique location right in the middle of hiking trails, kayaking on the Colorado River, 4 wheeling, and more right out the door. Tom is a great host who is anxious to share info on things to do and places to explore. The disc golf course looks amazing even though we wore ourselves out on the hiking trails and didn't get to do the course. Tom is host also to many wild animals & feeds them on the porch and in the yard . We loved Kobae the 200 pound tortise, all the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and the ringtails which would eat from his hand. Even the baby skunks were cute. The road in is a challenge but doable in our 4 wheel drive pickup. But once you're there, away from the busyness of town & internet, the experience can't be beat. We'd definitely recommend staying here at the Base Camp if you're looking for fun and an adventure.

The Days

Each day has such high hopes but it fills up with day to day items as the sun comes up so for the last few hours and now late into the nights is when I've got to get the administrative stuff done.

I've been putting substantial time into the two Polaris side by sides. Each day I check oil and gas and clean the air filters. Last year I spent $25,000 roughly on them and got nowhere near that back in rentals. It was actually starting to look like I might break even this year but today while pumping water next door one quit on me on the way back and oil all drained out quickly. I have to get a trailer. Tow strapping them to town takes two people and that's not possible right now and probably for the rest of the year and maybe forever.
A real view looking out the window of the front queen. I had a similar shot on the web site in the early days and somebody ask where I got the picture.
Last year when May 31st came I was down $75,000 over the year before and then the phone started ringing with people cooped up in their houses for two months and they were done. When the year ended I had gotten the whole $75,000 back and $75,000 more. This year, not even half into April I'm $35,000 up over last year.
Jax and I drove another vehicle up Hurrah and got to hike back.

Not long after we got back, that very next night, the wild horses, thought to be only in the Maize section of The Canyonlands, in the dark, a lone Mustang showed up.