January 21, 2023
Well Luke turned 40 yesterday and we celebrated his latest trip around the sun. Luke’s mother Lynn has been visiting for the past week and so has very snowy weather. We have been challenged with trying to find sights to show her and activities to do that she will enjoy. It is still beautiful out here when it’s covered in snow, but you cannot see all of the colors of the landscape with the snow on everything and hiking is a bit challenging as some places are slippery or the snow is too deep for her hiking boots. We tried to take her to Devil’s Garden to see the arch there and get a photo to show her friends, but that didn’t really work out. The snow was deeper than our boots and about 100 feet from the arch Luke and I both slipped and fell so we called it quits. No one wants a broken hip on their vacation. I tried to take her on a golf cart tour of the campground, but almost immediately got the golf cart stuck in the snow so we had to give up on that for now.
Let’s take a little photo tour of the week so far showing someone around our little slice of heaven. We took snowy walks around town and most days we ran into friends to chat with along the way. These are from the snow we got on her first day here. We took it easy for day 1 anyhow as the altitude change seemed to have a bit of an effect on her. If you plan a trip to Escalante yourself, I think it’s wise to plan to take it easy on Day 1. Between the higher altitude and the amount of time you spend traveling, it’s nice to have a rest day to adjust. Also, if you come in winter, bring snow boots and possibly snowshoes if you want to see the wonderful outdoor sights here. Everyone here says they haven’t seen this much snow here in the past three years, but we can no longer base expected weather patterns on past year’s experience.
The next day we took her to Boulder so she could see the views going over the Hogback and the Anasazi state park museum. We were disappointed that we couldn’t show her these views with the spectacular colors and textures of the rocks, but no one can control the weather. I still think it looks amazing, but maybe because I have seen in and fallen in love with this landscape in other seasons.
I finished my cross stitch of Delicate Arch finally which I had started back in the Fall and put aside for a while. We trudged through the snow to find some pieces of petrified wood on private land out here where we had permission to collect a bit. Lynn had never seen it and the dogs were happy to come with us for a run through the snow.
We went to visit Butch Cassidy’s boyhood home in Marysville and then drove a little further to see the Big Rock Candy Mountain. I find the old song this place is named after quite charming, but I did not see any candy on this mountain. This trip was more about the journey than the destination. Luke realized we were close to Ritchfield which is one of the only close(ish) urban areas so we went for Chinese food. Honestly, the Chinese food out here is kind of crappy so stick to traditional American foods when you’re in this part of the country.
You can make your own determination about the type of character Butch Cassidy was. He seems to be considered a sort of legendary hero out here as so many attractions and hotels are named after him. He is famously known for supposedly not killing anyone. However, he was a criminal who robbed many of their entire bankroll and as far as I know he didn’t use these fortunes he took to help the poor.
We did see the coolest truck top campers I’ve ever seen on the drive though.
We received a delightful gift in the mail with no note attached so we had to do some detective work to figure out who they came from. It turned out that my brother Bob and sister-in-law Bekki know us well and wanted to send us a belated gift for Christmas. Cheetos, a miniature kit, and candy are a winning combination.
I’ve enjoyed my morning walks alone with Lynn. It’s probably the most time I’ve ever spent alone with her so we’ve been able to get to know each other better. We conspired about Luke’s birthday cake and ended up buying brownies at Ranch Dog to make brownie sundaes for his birthday dessert. Lynn gave him 40 scratch tickets that didn’t result in any big wins. Lynn and I teamed up for trivia night and she was an excellent partner due to her love of history. We missed the first few questions, but only had a couple incorrect answers and had fun playing. Did you know that an octopus has three hearts or that there are 11 time zones in Russia?…well, now you do.
Today we’re off to Kanab to tour the Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary and whatever else may be open to see in winter there. In local news everyone around here is looking for employees for the spring. I agreed to help out the mexican food truck that’s open now thinking that they needed help now, but when they asked me to start in March I realized that this would be way too much for me in the Spring when my job at Yonder would be starting again and some of the volunteer projects I signed up for with the dino dig and trail maintanence would be starting. The next day Ranch Dog asked if I knew anyone who could work there in the Spring. I promised to share these opportunities with my Yonder friends when they came back to town in case they wanted second jobs. I was blown away this week when I discovered that the minimum wage in this state is still 7.25/hr. If I remember correctly, that was the minimum wage in Massachusetts back when I entered the job market at age 16 in 1996. I think this must certainly be a large part of the reason that people cannot find workers. With the current cost of living I wouldn’t expect any adult to want to work for that little compensation.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents her journey through her photography and blog to share with others.