July 4, 2022
What a great week it was with lots of adventure! I’m still set on the idea of building a community here with my fellow work campers and have been talking to everyone about it. They all seem excited about the idea and just talking about it has caused some contagion effect where others are being more social. The only bummer is that I may have started this movement too late. Many of my co-workers have plans to move on in the near future so we are enjoying each other’s company before they go and hopefully will have a small, but mighty and tight knit group even after they leave. I started “The People’s Exchange” pantry to leave items we wished to donate for each other and the stuff I put on there after cleaning out my cupboard seemed to get scooped up quickly. I also have begun a sign up for a group chat and group activities. Ikedra planned some events before she departs which I am grateful for as this is helping us bond and build some momentum. Sara also jumped into the spirit of this and invited people over for a late night fire. The next day, our friend Gabby was installing a new rooftop air conditioner and many joined in to help her. Not much feels better than people coming together. Now, if just the rest of our sad nation can get with it and do the same. It may actually be the state of our nation that made me feel so strongly about doing this. We have more in common than that which divides us and life is much better when we find and focus on that. There is not much I can say right now about our terrible supreme court outcomes over the past few weeks. It is becoming difficult to feel hopeful for the future of our nation. A few of us work campers decided to celebrate Pride at the end of the month by parading through this tiny town in our great Red state. Many who saw us maybe thought we were loony, but we got a few honks and waves and we felt good doing it.
Luke and I took a couple of trips down the Burr Trail road in Boulder, Utah. The first time, we didn’t make it all the way, but on the second trip we made it to Capitol Reef. The trail continues up some switchbacks and into the Waterpocket fold. However, that part of the journey was not in the cards for us this week due to the dirt road being flooded at that point and our worries about getting stuck in quicksand. Let me explain a few things here. First, the Burr Trail road has been used to move livestock from summer to winter ranges since the late 1800’s by early LDS pioneers. It was then described as “the most God-forsaken and wild looking country that was ever traveled” with deep sand uphill and slick rock which made traveling through the sandstone canyons here very difficult. It was eventually mostly paved in the late 1980’s to allow miners to move Uranium more easily out of the canyon. The views driving though here are amazing. We saw Long Canyon, the Henry mountains, the Circle Cliffs, rainbow clay badlands, and some mild flash flooding. The Waterpocket fold is the defining feature of Capitol Reef National Park. It is a buckle or fold in the earth’s surface running 100 miles long. Millions of years ago, tectonic activity pushed the rock up higher on one side than on the other creating canyons, arches, and natural bridges. Many of the slot canyons along this road have pools of water in them that you have to wade or swim through. The unpaved parts of the road can become impassible when it rains due to the high amount of clay in the earth which can make even 4 wheel drive vehicles get stuck. Here are photos of the chinle clay hills or Badlands we passed, a view of Long Canyon from above, a section of the fold from the South end of Capitol Reef, “The Castle” at Capitol Reef, and a flooded wash in Capitol Reef. Amazingly, on the drive in through a bit of rain we saw muddy waterfalls flowing off of the cliffs and rushing rivers of muddy water filled with debris in the washes though on the drive back a couple of hours later, it was all dry or just a trickle of water remained.
Luke and I also got to try out our new MIOPS lightning trigger for the camera. It took a couple of tries, but we eventually captured a bolt. Stormy days also have these silver linings now that we are excited about witnessing flash floods (from safe higher ground of course) and lightning over a dramatic landscape. We didn’t get a lot of bolts concentrated in one area so we are still working towards getting great shots. While we work on mastering this, at least we also had opportunities to witness and capture some epic sunsets and cool looking landscapes with storm clouds. If you look closely to the left in the second shot you can see lightning striking.
This week was also my birthday. Now I’m 42 and living a great life which some may consider less successful, but I think is just perfect. Luke made me a cake…it may be the first cake he’s ever made. Despite it breaking and having the frosting melt, it was delicious and incredibly sweet of him. He also got me this totally awesome new skirt that is very “Jenn”. He made this fun collage of various photos he has taken of me as well which I will make the cover photo for this week.
To end the week I took my friend Ikedra to Singing Canyon as she wanted to see a slot canyon before she leaves next week. It is a short and easily accessible canyon along Burr Trail road. It is named this due to the echo and lovely acoustics the slot canyon walls create. I recorded videos of her singing as she has a beautiful voice and during one a bird with a soprano tremolo joined in. While we sat there and soaked in this place a group came in and sang a verse of Amazing Grace in perfect harmonies which felt a bit magical to witness.
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 the journey through her photography and blog to share with others.