Two Holes in the Ground

Miffed about the Rift

Welp, my intent to visit the Grand Canyon North Rim was foiled by our country’s overreaction to the #}~*&$!€ Covid threat. So very stupid at this point. Open. The. Damn. Country.

So I hung at Jacob Lake on the Kaibab Plateau, 40 some miles from the canyon rim. I could’ve gotten to the rim by way of forest service roads but they were rough and a 3-hour drive each way in an F250 didn’t fire me up. I’d had done it in an ATV…

The cold, windy weather made it tough to stay outside so it turned out to be a lazy couple days listening to the pine trees sing.

Another Hole in the Ground

When I passed through southern Utah last spring Cedar Breaks National Monument was inaccessible because the roads were still closed. This time I made it! The scenic road had opened just a few days earlier. Thankfully.

Cedar Breaks - Sunset View Overlook
Cedar Breaks – Sunset View Overlook

I dropped Synko at the KOA in Cedar City and then drove the 60-70 mile loop around this really cool, beautiful geological display. Similar to Bryce Canyon, the Breaks displays maybe a dozen layers of rock and sediment types. Very cool. Very pretty. Very impressive.

My added reward for a few extra miles of driving was stopping into Policy Kings Brewery downtown. I’d visited here last year and this time was great too. Soooooo nice to be able to actually sit and enjoy a couple brews, Covid be dammed. Their Chai Saison and Azzaca IPA are both very good. I like this family-run place; they always change up their beer selections, as they run a nano system making very small batches. Kinda like Bonfire in Eagle Colorado. Good stuff.

Friday I dropped in on friends Ed & Kathryn; we visited Snow Canyon state park, Tuacahn Center for the Arts, and then Coyote Gulch for a remarkable dill Havarti burger. (Scratch adjective remarkable; superb is a better descriptor.) Good scenes, a good burger, a good brew, a good venue and good friends made for a really good evening. Thanks to Ed & Kathryn for their hospitality. I’d missed them last year when I was in the St. George area but they away. Glad to have it work out this time!

I made the short drive to Las Vegas better by detouring through the Lake Mead Recreation Area and Valley of Fire state park. Much better than boring I-15. The couple hour drive wrapped up with a quick visit to Blue Beacon Truck Wash to knock the bugs out of Synko’s teeth. It was an $80 bill but the ol’ girl looks much better.

Only Slots in Vegas this Time!
Only Slots in Vegas this Time!

At the Vegas KOA I spent hours cleaning the Utah red dust from every nook & cranny of Synko’s insides. That stuff gets everywhere. My truck got the same treatment. Tedious cleaning—but it’s not like I was distracted by any gaming action. The only slots playing today were the laundry machines! Stupid Corona.  Scratch stupid Corona; stupid Coronoa overreaction is a better descriptor.)

Next up: a week in Pahrump hanging with Pam & Billy, and Julie—a scenario for times unreportable? Oh yeah, here comes the heat tooa few days north of 100 forecast this week. Dang, kinda early ain’t it?… Check back in a week or so for whatever’s reportable from Pahrump and then my 5-day run across country to Nashville the first week of June.

Pukaskwa

WhiteRiverTrail
WhiteRiverTrail

Pukaskwa National Park lies on the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior just east of my camp at Penn Lake in Marathon, Ontario. I wanted to visit the suspension bridge over the White River so I hit the trail about 10am. The trail starts out nice and inviting and winds through forest and across a huge marsh, where the park service has installed a floating boardwalk to help hikers across. It would be a long hike around this beautiful marsh, plus the floating wood was cool to walk across.

The friendly trail changes it’s spots pretty quickly as it winds it’s way through the riparian landscape. The trail bed changes almost constantly, from soft loamy soil to tree root twisting paths to knee crunching rocky outposts to boggy mud. It’s not an easy trail but it is always interesting. Beautiful scenery the few times the trail exposes from underneath the forest canopy. Under the canopy it’s a robust mix of ferns, berry bushes (hmmmm) and streams. The 9 kilometer trek with temps in the teens took me right at three hours to reach the bridge.

O.M.G. The bridge and the gorge it spans are nothing short of spectacular. Worth every step to get here. I could’ve stood mid-span for hours. God’s creativity is on major display in this special place. I know He liked my smile as I took in His creative work.

Check out a video of crossing the White River Suspension Bridge

After a lunch/snack break, I started heading back to the park visitor center. My knee was starting to nag at me so I slowed down to accommodate the little bitch. About 7 kilometers into the return hike a couple from Wisconsin caught up to me. Ed & Marybeth passed me in a downhill section and then, next thing I knew, they had turned and were running back toward me.

“BEAR! HUGE BEAR!” was what I heard. Marybeth’s face told the story even better: downright scared. Ed was right behind her, majorly concerned that the bear had turned and was coming toward them. We huddled together to make a bigger target and made lots of noise. Decided to wait for more hikers coming back out of the woods to join us for an even bigger party threat. About 15 minutes later locals Josh & Emily and their German Pointer came upon us. Josh let the dog off the leash to run ahead and we all set out following the fearless dog, making noise and Emily ringing her bear bell. I was super glad I had met up with my new trail friends at the right time. Security in numbers. And, they are great, friendly people. I’m getting used to that up here!

Never saw the bear again but our eyes & ears were on alert and the dog, running around through the bushes gave Marybeth a start or two (but she didn’t scream like a little girl, lol). We had about two kilometers to go and made good progress, despite both my boots trying to toss their treads. Dang it. I like those boots. Being on the road might make it difficult to get them resoled. Anyway, by the time we got back to the visitor center my dogs and my knee were screaming at me. I drove back to the campsite in Marathon, took a loooong shower in the park shower (I knew I wanted more than six gallons of hot water), threw a steak on the grill, opened a bottle of Casa Nuestra Cabernet Franc, and in a little time, with feet up in the recliner, I nodded…

To the Soo

Took me seven hours to drive 247 miles, at 90 kph (55 mph). That’s ’cause I stopped several times to check out beaches, rivers, lake views, and the informative Lake Superior Provincial Park visitor center. Another beautiful drive that alternated between following the shoreline and heading inland. Tons of small lakes, meadows, rivers, forests. There’s a lot of water flowing into Lake Superior. I guess there hasta be: it’s a huge body of strikingly clear water.

About 3pm I arrived at the KOA in “The Soo”. I’d completed my circle tour of the big lake. At a leisurely pace I spent two weeks from Tahquamenon Falls near Whitefish Point through Duluth at the west end of the lake, Thunder Bay, Marathon and into the Lock City to arrive at the east end of the lake. Very cool.

The campground thankfully has a high pressure RV wash so I washed the bugs outta B’s teeth. Dang, the old gal was a lil scuzzy! Cost me $14 to clean her up. Beats the $200 mobile wash services wanna get. That ain’t happening.

I’m hanging in The Soo until Friday, when I’ll head north & east toward Montreal, Quebec and beyond. Having fun! Not enjoying the Canadian fuel prices but I’m this far so no holding back now!