Hurricane, Utah: April 20-28, 2014

Hurricane will never be confused with Sedona. Everything Sedona is, Hurricane isn’t. Both cities are great but uniquely different. There are no Pink Jeeps in Hurricane.  It’s basically a Mormon town, with a lot of the Fundamentalist LDS, that serves as a gateway to Zion and Bryce National Parks. So most tourists typically stay one night. A lot of those tourists are Euros. All the hotels and motels are run by folks from either India or Pakistan. The only ones treating Hurricane as a destination are mountain bikers. Every year this place is getting more popular and for a very good reason, the mountain biking is awesome and unique. It’s quite a scene to be walking through the grocery store and see the Fundalmentalists ladies with their long dresses and hairdos, lost Euros, and scruffy mountain bikers, all pushing carts up and down the aisles. It’s an interesting vibe.

We’ve been coming here for at least five consecutive years if not six. I can’t imagine not coming yearly.  Here’s the picture book story of this years visit.

Yup, that's us camping in the Walmart parking lot on Easter Sunday. As I like to say "an Easter to remember". It wouldn't serve any purpose trying to explain how we ended up at Walmart, just know that we did.

Yup, that’s us camping in the Walmart parking lot on Easter Sunday. As I like to say “an Easter to remember”. It wouldn’t serve any purpose trying to explain how we ended up at Walmart, just know that we did.

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This pic is from Monday, but this not so swell guy pulled in Easter Sunday night, as we were just falling asleep. It sounded like he was trying to rebuild his engine and spilling all the aluminum cans and bottles he’d been scrounging. We wake up the next morning and he was on the other side of the lot. I’ll give him bonus points for trying to have a matching paint job on the truck and trailer.

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On Monday we moved to this beautiful site at Sand Hollow State Park. We chose the primitive area. Only two other campers!

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On Tuesday, Sand Hollow turned to Sand Hell. I guess there’s a reason the area is called Hurricane.

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We were the only ones here, imagine that. I guess the other people were smart enough to not stay during a sand storm. We had sand in every crease and orifice of the Airstream and our bodies.

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Wednesday, over to Quail Creek State Park. That’s Gooseberry Mesa in the background. Five nights at this wonderful place. We only experienced one knucklehead who had his generator running past 11pm. Amelia actually confronted the guy. We did have strong wind, but without the sand.

Mike and Chris joined us again this year. This is a pic from the Prospector Trail/ Church Rocks area. It's the traditional first ride the day everyone arrives.

Mike and Chris joined us again this year. This is a pic from the Prospector Trail/ Church Rocks area. It’s the traditional first ride the day everyone arrives.

Absolutely love this place! We affectionately call it The Goose.

Absolutely love this place! We affectionately call it The Goose.

For those of you that haven't been, this shot gives you an excellent idea of the terrain. That's my wife following the dots!

For those of you that haven’t been, this shot gives you an excellent idea of the terrain. That’s my wife following the dots!

Amelia and Chris

Amelia and Chris

Amelia and myself at the Point on The Goose.

Amelia and myself at the Point on The Goose.

Amelia going down a steep rock with eight guys watching in amazement.

Amelia going down a steep rock with eight guys watching in amazement.

Mike cruising Hamburger Rock.

Mike cruising Hamburger Rock.

Sara has a new boyfriend! She sure liked Mike. We had three post ride dinners at our place and one in town. There's this guy that cooks a great wood fired pizza. He's open Thursday - Saturday. It's literally a wood fired pizza oven on wheels on the side of the road. If I was on my game that evening I would've taken a pic. We took the pizza back to Mike and Chris' hotel room at the Rodeway Inn and they cracked open a stellar bottle of wine.

Sara has a new boyfriend! She sure liked Mike. We had three post ride dinners at our place and one in town. There’s this guy that cooks a great wood fired pizza. He’s open Thursday – Saturday. It’s literally a wood fired pizza oven on wheels on the side of the road. If I was on my game that evening I would’ve taken a pic. We took the pizza back to Mike and Chris’ hotel room at the Rodeway Inn and they cracked open a stellar bottle of wine.

Sara the Lizard Hunter.

Sara the Lizard Hunter.

Unfortunately it rained on Saturday, so we lost a ride day. This is Sunday at Little Creek Mesa. A very large and remote area. No dots here, just cairns, and minimal signage. A few years back a couple of people got lost out here and died. Every time we've done it we've been with Mike, a retired USMC Lt. Col. helicopter pilot. He's great at reading a map and tracking GPS.

Unfortunately it rained on Saturday, so we lost a ride day. This is Sunday at Little Creek Mesa. A very large and remote area. No dots here, just cairns, and minimal signage. A few years back a couple of people got lost out here and died. Every time we’ve done it we’ve been with Mike, a retired USMC Lt. Col. helicopter pilot. He’s great at reading a map and tracking GPS.

Chrissy clearing a short steep up.

Chrissy clearing a short steep up.

 

We may have missed a day of riding because of the rain, but it sure left some beautiful pools for us to ride around and sometimes through them.

We may have missed a day of riding because of the rain, but it sure left some beautiful pools for us to ride around and sometimes through them.

Love riding the rock!

Love riding the rock!

Amelia enjoying the rock, Chris in the background.

Amelia enjoying the rock, Chris in the background.

Little Creek Mesa, a beautiful place.

Little Creek Mesa, a beautiful place.

After Hurricane we went to Las Vegas to visit my Dad and his wife, Lu. We spent two days there in a 935 space RV Resort. It was weird after spending so many days in beautiful locations. From there we drove through Death Valley to one of our favorite spots, the Alabama Hills, for a quick hitched evening. Then it was back to Mammoth and condo living…..

Parking for Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley. When we first arrived there was no one here, so we decided to have a little lunch before walking the dunes. While lunching, this bus full of Euros shows up. It was hilarious watching all the Euros taking pictures of our Airstream. They were all quite impressed.

Parking for Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley. When we first arrived there was no one here, so we decided to have a little lunch before walking the dunes. While lunching, this bus full of Euros shows up. It was hilarious watching all the Euros taking pictures of our Airstream. They were all quite impressed.

The dunes crawling with Euros. It must have only been a 20 minute stop, because they quickly loaded back up in the bus, but not without posing in front of the Airstream for more pictures.

The dunes crawling with Euros. It must have only been a 20 minute stop, because they quickly loaded back up in the bus, but not without posing in front of the Airstream for more pictures.

Amelia loves sand dunes.

Amelia loves sand dunes.

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Morning in the Alabama Hills.

Morning in the Alabama Hills.

11 thoughts on “Hurricane, Utah: April 20-28, 2014

  1. Thanks for the tour! You are amazing. As an aside, the other night I was telling a new friend all about our Monday night dinners at Grandma Pauly’s. Boy, didn’t we have fun?

    Love,

    Pauly

  2. Hi,
    I really enjoy your blog.
    I don’t mean to criticize you but want to make sure you are aware of the value and complexity of desert potholes. I have included just a sampling of information that exists. Thanks for your blog.

    A pothole is a unique habitat that is very easily disturbed. Pothole organisms are sensitive to sudden water chemistry changes, temperature changes, sediment input, being stepped on, and being splashed out onto dry land. Human use of pothole water by swimming, bathing or drinking may change the salinity or pH of a pool drastically. More importantly, this change occurs suddenly, unlike the slow, natural changes to which organisms can adapt. Hikers should therefore avoid using water in potholes as well as walking through dry ones.

    Pothole organisms not only have to endure dry spells, but also must evaluate conditions and decide when to break dormancy. Desert precipitation falls at irregular intervals, and once water enters a pothole there is no guarantee that there is enough for an organism to complete its life cycle. Most organisms living in potholes have very short life cycles, as brief as ten days, reducing the time water is required and allowing them to live in the shallow pools. Even vertebrates such as toads, which are found in other environments, display shorter development times when found in potholes.

    A pothole is a unique habitat that is very easily disturbed. Pothole organisms are sensitive to sudden water chemistry changes, temperature changes, sediment input, being stepped on, and being splashed out onto dry land. Human use of pothole water by swimming, bathing or drinking may change the salinity or pH of a pool drastically. More importantly, this change occurs suddenly, unlike the slow, natural changes to which organisms can adapt. Hikers should therefore avoid using water in potholes as well as walking through dry ones.

    While these tiny ecosystems may seem unimportant, they can act as an indicator for the health of the larger ecosystems in which they occur. These pools do not have the ability to counteract acids, so the acid rain caused by industrial pollution may be lethal.

    There is an amazing diversity of life in pothole pools. Although some species are geographically widespread, many are rare, narrowly endemic to certain locations, or unique only to these rock pools. Transitory or ephemeral waters like potholes are ancient environments inhabited by ancient organisms. Many species have survived to the modern day only because these rain-filled pools are available.

    The pools are free of many predators such as fish and some aquatic insects found in permanent waters like oceans, lakes, ponds, or tidal pools. Animals of pothole pools appear to have remained basically unchanged over the course of hundreds of millions of years, having fossil records dating from the Mesozoic Era and earlier. Accordingly, they are described as “Mesozoic lifeboat niches” for organisms that have not survived in other habitats, but who have found continuing sanctuary in potholes through geologic time.

    The trade-off of using pothole pools as a refuge is that organisms must be able to endure great and rapid changes in water temperature, pH, oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration, and ion concentration. Perhaps most significantly, they must endure the periodic drying of the pool.

    Pothole organisms not only have to endure dry spells, but also must evaluate conditions and decide when to break dormancy. Desert precipitation falls at irregular intervals, and once water enters a pothole there is no guarantee that there is enough for an organism to complete its life cycle. Most organisms living in potholes have very short life cycles, as brief as ten days, reducing the time water is required and allowing them to live in the shallow pools. Even vertebrates such as toads, which are found in other environments, display shorter development times when found in potholes.

    A pothole is a unique habitat that is very easily disturbed. Pothole organisms are sensitive to sudden water chemistry changes, temperature changes, sediment input, being stepped on, and being splashed out onto dry land. Human use of pothole water by swimming, bathing or drinking may change the salinity or pH of a pool drastically. More importantly, this change occurs suddenly, unlike the slow, natural changes to which organisms can adapt. Hikers should therefore avoid using water in potholes as well as walking through dry ones.

    While these tiny ecosystems may seem unimportant, they can act as an indicator for the health of the larger ecosystems in which they occur. These pools do not have the ability to counteract acids, so the acid rain caused by industrial pollution may be lethal.

      • HI Cindy!
        Thanks for the information, repeats and all! Very interesting. Just for the record, we only went through two or three potholes and only because there wasn’t any other option. Mostly we stayed out of the water/potholes.

        Tell Curtis and Shay I was thinking about them when we did our slot hikes. They would LOVE Cathedral Wash and Buckskin Gulch!
        Amy

  3. Great Post! Loved the pictures; already looking forward to next year! Give Sara a treat for me, she’s a sweet dog.

  4. You make riding a bike seem so graceful Amy. I guess the phrase that best suits you right now is “you were born to ride.”

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