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.

Sunday, November 28, 2021


 Jax is my constant companion. He rarely goes anywhere I don't go. However if Nate goes to play some disc he will go with Nate. Nate sent me these pictures.

Thursday, November 25, 2021


Jax and I took guests to Skinny People on a nice hike. I'm a little wobbly it feels like. I used to blow through this hike but I had to use my hands a lot like it was the first time I'd ever done it. 

Jax and I took guests along the upper road looking down into the river. The place across the river poured a new boat ramp. They are for sure not in a hurry to make improvements. Cows showed up yesterday and the front gate is closed with the "We're Open, Close Gate" sign on it. Jax nose picked up the trail of the cows and each time we saw one on the hike he would run over that all excited not sure where to herd them or what to do and then come running back.

With guests Jax and I went into The Fingers. Beautiful as ever. Huge boulder been teetering on the edge for years and still hasn't come down but it's thinking about it and it will remodel the first finger dramatically when it comes down like the landslide did the second finger where Linny was shrouded in fog in the horror movie. All gone now.

The Return

 We got in around midnight to the lodge and went right to sleep. Jax never slept the whole 12 hours on the way there or back. I built him a bed in the front seat with elevation so he could see where we were going the whole time and he was interested. He hardly moved until we got about three exits from the turn off in San Diego on I-15 and then he knew where we were. Same on the way back. Wasn't till we hit the turnoff on I-70 to Moab that he got interested. We hiked around the property and it looks the best it ever has. They've cleaned out both garages. Cleared weeds everywhere, boat house, big garage, pond in front of the house, it looks really nice and tells me they are self motivators. It's first time I haven't been here since they started working here. Rain should be over so the beach is good for kayaks. Two paddles and three life jackets are missing from the start of the season, couple kayaks have leaks in them again from being dragged down the boat ramp and a couple jackets are torn. It's hard to buy that stuff here so when I go back to get Kobae in late February I'll bring it all back with me.

I'm feeling really good about Nate and Collin and so had business cards printed for them. I've been going  through the real estate listing in SE Utah for the last couple nights and have a few things I'm going to go look at in case the property on the hill doesn't work out. Even if I wind up staying here I could take guests out each day and still be doing the things I'd like to do as well and it would take the lodge back to the days when the guests got more individual attention away from the lodge.

Full completely for Thanksgiving and then not many bookings until Christmas so if somebody would like to go exploring and see some incredible stuff I'm mostly open for the next month at least.

Friday, San Diego hiking, Last Day

 Jax was really uncomfortable on the leash and the small collar I bought him didn't fit around his neck and the medium one fell right off when he looked down. So we hiked across the street and dropped into the canyons.

Was nice. No leash for Jax and because the trail is skinny Kobae didn't get confused about which direction to go. Generally could let him lead. Only ran into a few people as it was mid afternoon. We had to cross a four lane road each way but traffic wasn't bad at all as I remember it. Plus there was an island in the middle so I could park Kobae there for a bit as the lanes yet to be crossed cleared. One vehicle had to change lanes and one had to slow down a little and that was it. Pretty good crossing.
Coming through the desert in the white Ford 150 the windshield wipers came on just because, did two streaks across the windshield, then went off again. For a year 2000 Ford 150 with 238,000 miles on it and ran wonderfully on the long round trip journey twice again this year and with much of it's mileage up and down Hurrah Pass which is the equivalent of three or four miles to one on the road I give all the credit to Chris at Nations managing to wire the truck together to deliver Kobae again and there is plenty of wire holding it together. Despite having three Ford 150s and a Ford 250 this is the only one that is set up properly to get 200 pounds of attitude issues in the back for a twelve hour drive.
I've been struggling with what to do with the reeds in the pond in front of the main house. I didn't take a picture but Dishwasher pond has the same issue. I think Heather told me the city of San Diego isn't going to do anything because it's so expensive to get rid of them. That's probably the same for me but previously Doug drained the pond and then had people go in and pull all the weeds out but that means a lot of dead fish and while the cowbirds left a few days ago the red-winged blackbirds have dropped in there and that's where they stay each night so I'm not going to worry about it until I have a reason.
Heather, Tiago, and Zico joined us at Dishwasher all the way up to the east side of Tierrasanta where Kobae elected to take the sidewalk back. Mistake on my part for letting him choose. Had to put Jax back on the leash and he was miserable.
Eventually we dropped back into the canyons at Dishwasher Pond and had an uneventful hike back.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

San Diego, Things Have Changed

We got into San Diego about 2:30am or 3:30am Moab time. Paid plus $5 a gallon for gas at Terribles that huge gas station with 100 plus pumps just south of Vegas. Kobae made himself right at home finding a place to hump the stairs. Had to put some obstacles there for fear he'd fall in the pool and now he humps the stairs away from the pool. 

The backyard was the cleanest I've ever seen it. Heather said she told the kids Kobae was coming and they all went out back and put their possessions up high fearing Kobae would eat or destroy their stuff.

Kobae hiked three straight hours and quickly without a break around the neighborhood. Qualcomm Stadium is gone. Jax and I dropped off Linda at an appointment in a trendy sort of area close to downtown and every single person on the sidewalk, crossing the street, crosswalk or not, and even running had their cell phones out.

Three out every four radio stations were Spanish. I had to go through the dial five or six times before I found country. Driving back from Popeyes by the High School that use to be called Serra and is now called Canyon Hills, three out of every five kids walking down the sidewalks was wearing all black, boys and girls. I don't remember anybody wearing black when I went. Linny hadn't watched the first four episodes of Yellowstone this season so we could watch it together. Four out of five cowboys wore white hats. I don't know about the contrast but there's probably something.
As we walked Tierrasanta we got a lot of recognition people waving as they drove by. Coming up to us saying they still have the video from seven, from five, two years ago of Kobae chasing their dog. They still laugh over them. There was an older couple screaming at each other about where one of them planted the flowers, it's winter, they won't get enough sunshine there, I planted it where you told me, you're stepping on them........No neighbors came out so I assume it's a frequent occurrence. Lot of people introduced themselves. Many said they knew Heather and later Heather said she knew where we were all the time by people emailing pictures of us all hiking together. I didn't take a book cause with Jax on a leash and Kobae being Kobae I wouldn't have read a single page and my hands were full already. Ran across two kind of like former newspaper boxes called Free Little Library and people put excess books in them free for anyone to take. One more day before heading back.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Just Stuff

 I like the cottonwood trees on the property. They grow wherever they want in what direction they want. Branch could head up for awhile and then go straight down

You can see how far underground the trunk was before the rains hit and gathered in the creek bed washing all the surrounding soil from around them.
There are sunflowers everywhere as compared to most years there aren't any. I feed the birds and chipmunks sunflower seeds daily and this year they've either been carried and occasionally dropped or deposited in some form and with the massive storms this year watered frequently. I've found them as far as about half a mile from the lodge but none anywhere after that.

Jax and I got a hike into The Fingers where some of the Canyonlands was filmed and it's beautiful as always. Lots of deer and big horn tracks.