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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Our Hike-n-Camp-n-Fish-n-Tour-n-Picnic Trip! WHEW!

At the end of July, we decided to take a few days and really explore the Uinta Basin.  We packed up the van and went up into the forest.  We discovered a fun hike- the John boy trail- in the Red Fleet State Park.  It ascends a mountainside of red cliffs and the view from on top is spectacular!  The hike was fun and family-friendly, and the weather was nice that day with enough cloud cover to keep us from sizzling.

 We made it!
 On our way down we heard what we thought was thunder close by.  But, it turned out to be an explosion at the mines across the way.

We made it back just in time to drive to our camping spot for the night- a yurt in the Uintas!
 The yurt was accommodating in a primitive sort of way.  We only had to shoo one mouse out at night and although we saw plenty of spiders, they didn't bite us... whew!  I did have one crawl over my foot as I stood up to find my shoes at night and anyone who knows how terrified of spiders I am can imagine my horrification.  Despite the spiders, I was happy we were in a sturdy yurt and not a tent, since we definitely were in bear country and I felt a little more secure.  Our hikes around the place were short and not too deep into the woods because I was sure a bear was ready for his human-dinner.  That was somewhat disappointing to Steve.  He wanted to explore. 

We had a small picnic out on our deck. 
Later that night, we saw a little owl perched on that railing post, surely awaiting his mouse-dinner that was lurking in the woodpile.  You can barely see him in the dark, but he's out there.
It was disappointing that there were fire restrictions in place, so we could have no open flames.  Darn! Luckily we still could roast marshmallows in the wood burning stove in the yurt.


After a good night's sleep, it was time to clean up and get going on the day's adventures.
We saw and heard lots of wildlife in the mountains even as we drove to our next destination, the Historic Swett Ranch near Flaming Gorge. It's known because it was the first place in the area to get telephone service, and acted as a hub for for the surrounding communities in it's time.
We were pretty much by ourselves on the homestead.  The tour is self-guided and it's like walking back in time.  The place was beautiful and peaceful.

 We walked all around discovering all the little buildings and bridges.
 We found the old outhouse. 

 And we found the cold storage cellar.  Complete with running electricity!  With a flip of a light switch we had light and could hunch our way to the back where they used to keep potatoes and other food stored.
 The hummingbirds joined us for a picnic on the porch.  They were fun to watch and they weren't afraid of us in the least!  They kept fighting each other for the sugar water in those feeders.
After lunch, we went to Flaming Gorge to visit the dam and also go fishing.  We drove over the bridge to the tour-spot.

 The tour began at the top of the dam, then they took us down in the longest elevator ride I've ever been on to the bottom of the dam.

 We went from the top, down to the bottom.

And back to the top again.
 It was breathtaking both at the top and at the bottom!  It's a must-see for anyone in the area!  Next time I think we'll bring some change to feed the fish at the bottom.  They were swarming waiting for food.
 We decided to try fishing right near the visitor's center.  The kids played in the sand while Steve fished and caught nothing.

After no fish and a long warm day in the sun, we were ready to get to our home for the evening, an old guard station from the 1930s that now is rentable.  We couldn't wait for the warm showers and indoor plumbing.  Unfortunately...
 That's not what we found.  The water was turned off to the place, apparently the pipes need repairing.  EEW!
 No shower, no indoor plumbing.  Actually, there was a layer of dirt on everything.  I was a little put-out.  But we had to make the most of this cute-but-seriously-in-need-of-a-clean place.  So we used wet wipes for our showers and hand sanitizer as our wash-up.  We thankfully packed enough water and buckets to get by for washing dishes.  We played a game and read some books as a family before we went to bed. 

 The fridge was supposed to work.  It was warm and smelled of mold.  We didn't use it.  Plus, it's a propane fridge.  Just the idea of that freaked me out.  Good thing we had just enough ice in our cooler to keep food fresh.
 Steve was brave and lit the stove, but after we used it I swear I could still smell gas, so we left the windows open and kept the propane turned off unless we were using it.

 There's the sink I wanted to use.
Lily is standing on the bridge that led to the outhouse we had to use.
 At least the scenery was beautiful.  The white house to the right in the picture below is actually a bunk house that sleeps up to 8 more people, but good thing we didn't invite anyone else because there were no bunk beds as promised, and the floor was loaded with rodent feces.
We had fun at the Colton Guard Station despite all the disappointments.  During the passing thunderstorm at night, we were able to sleep and we didn't even really know it had rained until we got up the next morning and saw the ground wet outside.  I let the ranger know in the morning that the place was falsely advertised and he said that I should've gotten a phone call telling me about the plumbing being off.  Well I didn't receive any such call.  I told him the place needed a good cleaning and it was gross for which he responded that the place is rented out so often that the rangers don't have time to come in between groups to clean it.  Tsk. Tsk.

At least we had our own home-sweet-home to look forward to and new family memories.

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