Sunday, July 22, 2012

Life in Utah (Panguitch, Utah)

Well, I think 3 weeks have passed since our last post.  I guess my lame excuse is that we've been busy.  So let me summarize a bit.

We're still on our volunteer job with the US Forest Service in Panguitch, UT.  We''ll be here until the first week of September.  For the month of July Debbie and I are assigned to work in the Visitor Center only 5 days (5 hour shifts).  So most of our work here revolves around maintenance projects I've been assigned. I've repaired and repainted numerous picnic tables.  More recently I did some repair work on a garage and I just finished painting it.

What a fashion statement.  Shouldn't everyone have a hat like this? 

Soon I'll be starting on another larger garage. One day in early July I had the opportunity to go out with a trail maintenance crew.  We worked 8 miles of trail.  It was a ten hour day.  The beauty of our work schedule is that, other then the days we are assigned to the Visitor Center, I work the maintenance jobs any day I choose.  So our work schedule is not overwhelming but it's steady.  Debbie said to mention she really loves her work schedule.

Now in addition to our work obligations we try to stay motivated with our exercise.  Together or separately we walk frequently, often more then once a day. Debbie has returned to her exercise DVDs. I ride my bike with some regularity and the dogs (precious puppies) always need walking.  We also are doing some hiking. 

One day we arrived at Bryce Canyon at 7am to hike.  We left our truck at Bryce Point which is at the back side of the Amphitheater.  We started with the Rim Trail.  As the name suggests, the trail is very much on the rim of Bryce Canyon with endless spectacular views. There were unfortunately some forest fires in the area that day which gave the canyon a smoky, hazy backdrop and an entirely different look from the first time we'd hiked there.

After about 2.5 miles we got on the Navajo Trail.  This trail drops abruptly into the canyon.  Way cool! 

Thank goodness for switchbacks!

The tire track is from a motorized wheelbarrow. Some trail maintenance was being done.
We finished our hike with a little more of the Rim trail.  Our total for the day was 5 miles.  We then took the park shuttle bus back to the truck.

Another day we hiked in Red Canyon,  home of our Visitor Center.

We parked at the Visitor Center and walked several hundred yards up the road to the trailhead located in the Red Canyon Campground (operated by the  Forest Service).  The hike began on the Buckhorn Trail.

Red Canyon is a beautiful area and this hike takes you right through the heart of the terrific scenery. 

At the end of this trail, before it hooks up with the next leg, there is a tricky little spur. This portion of the trail can be quite narrow with some precarious sections. It's not fall to your death but a fall would be a bad day! Debbie was a little antsy but she proved to be a real trooper.

I guess the Trail End sign above is to keep you from walking off the edge of the moutain!

After successfully negotiating the spur we proceeded on to the Golden Wall Trail.

That same day we also did a two-mile loop hike from the Red Canyon Visitor Center that we often recommend to folks visiting the area who want to the see the highlights but don't have much time.  It includes the interpretive Pink Ledges Trail, a portion of the Hoodoo Trail, the Birdseye Trail and then a short walk on a paved bicycle trail back to the Visitor Center. 

See the Camel?

It was a great day of hiking totalling about 7 miles.

On another day we returned to the Cedar Breaks National Monument to participate in a wildflower walk.  (They are currently celebrating a month long Wildflower Festival.)

On the way we passed some sheep on the edge of the road. 

We spent about an hour and a half on the trail.  We didn't go a great distance but it was very enjoyable.  Here's a sample of what we saw.  Don't hesitate to let us know if we haven't correctly identified something.  We are definitely beginners so Debbie used the Cedar Breaks website to help with the plant identification.

Parry's Goldenrod

Black Twinberry

Aspen Bluebells

Markagunt Penstemon
Indian Paintbrush

Southern Ligusticum (white)

Fendler's Sandwort
Colorado Columbine

Mountain Deathcarnas


Elkweed Bloom

For another outing we loaded up the dogs and drove about  35 miles to the Kodachrome Basin State Park (named by National Geographic honoring the Kodak film).  The colors here are uniquely different.


We drove the park and our plan was to do a little hiking.  Poor planning!  Too hot for Debbie and the dogs but still a very pleasant day.

So we seem to stay busy. It's not that we're doing anything spectacular, we're just having a nice time.

In addition to our activities, Debbie spends countless hours planning travel itineraries.  We have a trip booked to the Galapagos Islands in May 2014.  She's always working next year's schedule and then there's the immediate future. When we leave here we're going north to Salt Lake City, then on to Grand Teton National Park and then Yellowstone.
One side bar to our current lifestyle is that we are eating very well.  Debbie prepares dinner most every night.  We could count on one hand the number of times we've eaten out.  Of course, there's mostly nowhere locally to go but, nonetheless,  Debbie is honing her cooking skills very nicely!  (Hope you're listening Rena... Debbie always says she owes that to you!)  Here's a picture I took of a great Derby Pie Debbie made.  It was so pretty and soooo good!!!!

The weather here is mostly enjoyable.  It can and does however, vary considerably.  It can be sunny, cloudy, drizzling, thunder, hard rain and sunny again all in the same day.  One day we had a surprising hail storm.  Our campsite looked like it had snowed!!!

Some evenings we've enjoyed magnificent sunsets right from our campsite.

We now have 3 hummingbird feeders!  Two sometimes did not last through an entire day!  We literally have hundreds of hummingbirds a day at our feeders.  I think we could sit for hours just watching these guys.

We bought a couple hanging baskets of Petunias that provide a nice splash of color.  However, we've found that the larger birds in the area just love to eat them!!  So although the color is nice, up close they're a little sad looking.

They like to drink up the hummingbird food too.

And now for what we think is a unique little twist.  When we leave here the first week of  September we're heading north to Montana for a specific purpose. We have committed to work the sugar beet harvest in Sidney, Montana.  We won't be digging beets, we'll be working at a site where they pile the beets for future processing.  It may be a tough little routine.  It will be 12 hour days, 7 days a week. The harvest should take 3-4 weeks depending upon the weather.  The work is not suppose to be hard, it's just that you're outside and on your feet ALL day.  The pay is quite good for retired folks.  With both of us working, we should net several thousand dollars after the harvest.

So that should bring us up to date.  Hope you're all doing well!