vividdawn

Vivid Dawn's random ramblings

Camping trip 1

FIRST CAMPING TRIP OF 2014

 

Antelope Island State Park – Utah

April 21-22, 2014

 

7:00 pm

 

Finally packed up and on my way. The drive through the city was as expected…nice and boring and frustrating because I wanted to get there NOW!

I finally got to the park gates, paid the $15 fee, and started across the causeway. I didn’t remember to record the drive, but it probably wouldn’t have been a very good video as I was heading west and the sun was directly in my vision and would have been glaring the whole scene on camera too.

 

 

8:00 pm

 

People had been warning me about the bugs, but I didn’t bring any insect repellent. I have been to Willard Bay State Park many times, and they have TONS (probably literally) of bugs, and I’ve never really been bothered by them. But the ones at Willard don’t bite/sting…the ones on Antelope Island do! The whole time I’m setting up camp, I’m getting little pinches and stings all over my face and neck.

I hurried to get the fire going, so that I can sit in the smoke and use that as a bug repellant. Since I was in a hurry, I made the fire wrong. I put kindling down, then plopped a single log on top of that… the kindling had flames, but the bigger chunk of wood didn’t have any air circulation under it and really just smoldered… at least there was plenty of smoke for me to sit in!

 

There was a little black beetle bug sitting in a space between my car and the campsite. Every time I went past, it raised up it’s end and waved it at me. I think it was a stink bug warning me it wanted to spray (never did, though).

Didn’t see any Bison, but did see evidence…very old droppings! LOL

 

 

9:00 pm

 

I start to get a little nervous. I know the wildlife there, so I knew what to expect. The sun had set just under an hour ago, but it was still rather light for a while. The birds were twittering, squawking and otherwise making nice background noise… until they all went quiet suddenly!

A bison I can see coming, and birds probably wouldn’t have “alerted” to that anyway. So now I’m wondering if there’s a cougar slinking around somewhere, and I get on high alert too! After a few moments I heard a coyote do a yip-howl, and felt much better. A coyote is more intimidated by humans, and I could likely scare one off with just standing up and waving my arms. A cougar, especially a hungry one, would be another matter!

 

 

10:00 pm

 

The fire is out and it’s dark enough I don’t feel safe with being outside anymore (coyotes still yipping ever so often). Plus, I want to get enough sleep to get up in a few hours to watch the meteor shower. So I pack up all my food and put it back in the trunk of the car so no critters will get any bright ideas about a midnight snack from my camp.

Even with the windows rolled up, I can still hear coyotes carrying on ever so often. The sky has large patches of clear space and stars twinkling though. Looks promising for the show!

 

 

April 22, 2014

 

12 am

 

Finally get to sleep. I’m warm, but underestimated how uncomfortable the back seat of a car is. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was flat, but there’s that hump in the middle between the two main passenger seats (supposedly 3 people can ride back there, so why the huge lump??). And a seat belt was jabbing me in the ribs.

 

 

3:30 am

 

Woke up just before my 3:45 alarm. The sky is one huge dome of dull gray…not a single star can be seen glimmering. Bah! So much for that idea. I decided to go back to sleep until the sun is up.

 

 

6:45 am

 

Once again beat my alarm by about 15 minutes. I get up, get dressed – and very surprised it’s not colder than I thought it would be – and use the toilet, which smells pretty good for being a hole in the ground kind!

While I was awake, but still in that mode of sitting around and getting more alert, a beautiful yellow bird flitted to the bushes next to my car. I scrambled to get my phone off the charger in the front seat to get a picture, though it doesn’t seem to be quite as nice as I wanted. In flight the bird showed off it’s bright colors more, but being landed it of course wanted to blend in with the ground cover.

 

 

7:30 am

 

Now that the sun isn’t blaring into the front window, I enjoy the scenery a little more. And finally remember to record a bit of it. Of course there’s lots of different birds, and I finally saw a larger animal! There was a lone deer on the causeway, who ran off when a construction truck went rumbling past. I could see plenty of tracks in the mud of the salt flats a little closer to the main land too.

 

 

Whenever I tell people I went camping the other day, as soon as they realize I meant JUST me… “You went by yourself?!”

Um…is there some law saying I can’t, that I don’t know about? I don’t understand why this is such a shock. Yes I have a bad heart, and it does randomly have “episodes” that need a trip to the hospital to remedy. Yes I’m a little 5-foot 80 pound weakling girl. Yes I’m going in just my car with a cooler of food.

Yes, I can do this! I can’t refrain from having fun for all the “what if”s. What if my heart went crazy? Cell phone, and I pace myself so I don’t get over-exerted. What if I can’t prepare my camp on my own? Don’t take too much and distribute weight into smaller loads. What if it gets cold? I have wool blankets (actually had to take the blanket OFF a couple times last night as I was so warm!). What if there’s wild animals? That’s why I’m in a car, not a tent!

I’ll be honest that last night was a little intimidating and daunting. The fire didn’t get going big enough (my own fault for rushing it), and therefore got into my car as soon as it got dark enough I couldn’t see anything bigger than a chipmunk coming near my camp. I had plenty of gas so I could run my car and use the heater if needed…but I didn’t, as the wool blanket was plenty!

But I had fun, and I will definitely do this again! All by myself!

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Good times

I got my paycheck from TextBroker. The bad news is that I didn’t put it in savings. The good news is that I get plenty of stress relief and laughter – I bought the kids a new toy! It’s one of those ball track things. Ollie (currently a foster) seems to think it’s a good place for a nap. The two black brothers play with it the most, as they’re the youngest and easier entertained than the older cats.

Ollie toy nap
I also bought a new litter scooper – metal, because the plastic one is just too flimsy. I also bought 140 pounds of litter, so that should last me a while!

I have decided to try a new schedule. I will wake up at 4am (give or take an hour), and start my daily To Do list. Then a nap, THEN go help Gabi with her chores. Bedtime is now set at about 6 to 8pm.
Two days. So far, it’s going pretty well! I have cleaned up a major section of my main room, almost caught up on laundry, and better about eating more often. Even though I don’t actually have more time, it certainly seems like I do!

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Aaand another thing!

I had a friend comment on the “excuses” post, and it reminded me… I volunteer at a cat shelter for an hour, twice a week. Again, the boss lets me go slow and take all the time I need. Because I AM willing, I wanted to do my fair share and not be a “slacker”. Well… I tried mopping the floor. 5 hours later I was in the ER with A-Fib (a heart arrhythmia that can cause strokes!).

 

So see… I keep trying, and it just doesn’t work! *sob*

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The good, the bad, and the wonderful!

Wow, I haven’t written anything in “forever”! (well okay, just over a month…but considering I wanted to do at least once weekly… oiy!)

 

Okay, so… the good is that I got a blood test and apparently I’m perfectly healthy. I thought I was low with Magnesium, but it’s just right… maybe I’m just a wimp and fret about every little thing. The bad, is that even though all my electrolytes are fine, I have another ear infection. Had fevers on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Now my ear is ringing, sounds have a metallic quality, I have pressure and feel like a bobble-head. In May I had this, and was given antibiotics which really did nothing…so I figure it might be viral. It could be worse though, at least I have no pain…just the little annoyances.

 

The wonderful… well, just about everything else. I am so grateful to have luxuries in life like a home to live in, any food I want to eat, a car, a computer. Yeah, some people think those are life’s “basics”, but really… there are plenty of people living in the streets with literally nothing. I am soooo not in a position to complain about anything!

I should go to church tomorrow.

 

And I have 3 foster kittens that are all black. Big Brother is doing just fine. Little Brother should gain at least half a pound (if not more), and Sister is right about at 2 lbs when I weighed her last week. They’re all playing and healthy, so I guess I shouldn’t worry too much. At certain angles, they look like wingless bats… of course I can’t take a decent picture because they’re constantly moving! (except when they’re asleep of course).

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Sunday service

I did not go to church (yet again!). I did, however, serve my fellow men… well, women actually.

Today I delivered a live trap to a lady who is trying to catch all her ferals and get them spayed.

Then I went to Gabi’s and scooped litter (only did her bedroom and the 3 biggest boxes downstairs).

On the way home I decided to take the scenic drive by the river. I was just under 60mph, and would have liked to go slower, but I’m not sure if I would get in trouble for that. Probably not, as there was hardly any other traffic and I wouldn’t be impeding it. Besides, I had medicine for the foster kittens that needs refrigeration and as it is was kinda warm when I got home.  No pictures of course, since I was driving  😉  Maybe next time I’ll stop on the shoulder if I see something particularly pic-worthy.

Now I’m going to put new linens on the bed, take a long bubble bath, and go to bed. Got a doctor appointment in the morning, then back to Gabi’s to do a FULL job of scooping all 20-ish boxes.

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Scooter – aka: ?

Kitten season has begun!

In the last few weeks, the no-kill rescue I volunteer with has gotten over two dozen kittens! Oiy!

One of the kittens seemed to have deformed back legs. Special needs cats are extremely difficult to adopt out – and since I already owned a crippled cat, my boss asked if I would take this one. She was calling him Scooter, because he would scoot instead of crawl. His feet also point outward to the side, rather than pointing straight in towards the front paws like they should.

In the last couple days he has started walking better and better, so maybe his tendons were just a bit too short when he was born. He’ll probably be perfectly fine, once he gets moving around more and can stretch out his muscles a bit. He’s already lifting himself up on them, rather than just pushing against and going forward along the ground.

 

Anyhoo. I refuse to keep his name Scooter. For one thing, that’s sort of mean (I didn’t name Paizly “Stubby”! Though my dad did call her that, but it wasn’t her official title), plus if he’s getting better it wouldn’t fit anymore anyway!

So now I need to come up with a proper name. I want it to be unique and reflective of either his appearance or personality (he’s much more calm and quiet than his siblings).

3 or 4 weeks old

3 or 4 weeks old

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I’m too tired to think of a decent title. I probably should be in bed, but figured I ought to post something really quick.

More flowers have bloomed in my “secret/feral” garden. Yellow daffodils, red tulips and purple hyacinth.

Image

On my way home from pet adoptions, I saw the little herd of deer that live in the field near my house. I actually stopped the car (and got out) to take pictures. That, of course, spooked them and by the time I got my phone ready and snapped a shot, all I got were the blurry tail-ends of the critters darting into the trees. Maybe I’ll get a better picture next time (gotta figure out my zoom, so I don’t have to leave the car to get up to the fence!)

 

Oh, and no hikes this week. Either too tired (Monday), didn’t have time (was in the city all day Wednesday and did extra chores for Gabi on Friday), and now it’s supposed to rain/snow next week. BUT! I did reach another goal…my weight this morning was lbs 80.2! YAY! I wanted to be that by my birthday next month, but maybe now the goal will just be to keep it on and not lose again! (I would also like to be 90 by the first day of summer, and 100 by winter)

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Happy Trails

I love the outdoors, but don’t go out and really enjoy them as much as I should. So I decided I’m going to go for a hike every week! (would really like to do it 3 times: on Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

While I like the nature junk in my own back yard just fine (the crocus flowers have died off, and been replaced by daffodils!), a change of scenery is nice too.

Image

There are several hiking trails near my house, so I am going to try them one at a time. Today was Fernwood trail.

On the edge of the National Forest, adjacent the trail head, is “The Castle”. I suppose it is officially “Wardley Castle”, but I like it’s other title of “Fernwood Castle” better… it fits for the area more, and Mr. Wardley is trying to sell it (as of 2010, anyway. I don’t know it’s current status), so it won’t be “Wardley” forever anyway.

Fernwood Castle

Fernwood Castle

Anyhoo, onto the story of my first hike!

It seemed relatively easy at first. I am SO out of shape! I got to the little stream and already my heart was pounding and jumping. So I sat down to have a snack of granola bar and milk I had brought (and yes, I was good and put the wrapper back in my bag… there was enough litter around already, I didn’t feel the need to contribute to the eye-sores!)

Recovering from winter

Recovering from winter

Where I stopped to rest was obviously not too far along…you can still see the parking lot, for cryin’ out loud!  But after a snack and a rest, I got up and got going again…for about maybe 100 feet.

Stream rocks on the right side

Stream rocks on the right side

There is a wonderful view of the valley! I took a picture, but it doesn’t do it real justice. The picture is fuzzy, but in reality you can clearly see Antelope Drive and the roadway over the lake and out to the island.

In the ravine I heard rustling. It was loud enough I thought it might be something like a deer! But it turned out to be just a little squirrel darting around in the sticks. Come to think of it, that ravine is so steep I’m not sure a deer could be on the edge…maybe a mountain goat (which I think I’m too far west to ever see one)

Ravine and distant lake road

Ravine and distant lake road

Considering I had gone maybe only 200 meters, I didn’t want to wimp out yet. So I decided to go a little more…still rather slowly of course (more like an afternoon stroll than a hike! LOL). The trail was at a slight incline so far, but relatively easy… after the view of the ravine, though, it started getting steeper and I figured I better not risk totally wearing myself out for the day. There is a tree that’s already green (I wonder if it’s some sort of pine? It was little and scrawny though), about another 100 feet further, and that’s my goal for next time!

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Spring? HA!

So much for the first day of Spring being nice.

The weather had been quite nice the last couple weeks, and even warm enough I didn’t wear a jacket for a few days. Then the first day of Spring (yesterday) was dreary… cold, gray-skied, drizzling rain.  Last night there was a raging storm. The lightening was flashing literally every other second, the thunder was rolling and cracking constantly, howling wind and pounding hail (not too big, but about the size of pea gravel). In fact, it was such a ruckus that poor Nebbie jumped off the bed and went to hide. I got out of bed to watch the lightening, but of course as my luck would have it, the storm was to the North and my window only faces the south… so I didn’t see any actual bolts, just the blue-ish illumination of everything.

So anyhoo… This morning the sun was shining through my little bedroom window, so I figured it might end up being a nice day after all. I get dressed and go into the kitchen to be presented with this:

Mother Nature is confuzzled about what season it is...

Mother Nature is confuzzled about what season it is…

And no, that is not snow that is in the process of melting. That is NEW snow! And the weather forecast says more is on the way.

Alright, I understand that winter got a late start… but that doesn’t mean it has to be late leaving! It’s SPRING! I want my flowers and green grass and blue sunny skies back! Okay, gray skies and rain would be fine, but no white junk!  😦

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Soon…. SOON!

AURGH! It’s about freakin’ time! Spring is coming! YAY!! While it hasn’t “officially” started (not for another 4 days), the crocus flowers started blooming the other day!

The forecast says snow on Sunday, but it should stay up in the hills & mountains (or at least that’s what I’m hoping). Yes I know we need the moisture, but why can’t it just be rain? Rain doesn’t need to be scraped off the car for 10 minutes with numb fingertips, rain doesn’t need to be shoveled, and rain is slightly safer to drive in (though some people seem to think it’s TOTALLY safe and still end up sliding all over).

But soon Spring will be here, and winter will be gone (for a whole 4 months, but I enjoy the break while I can…at least I don’t live somewhere like Minnesota or Alaska!). Or maybe Mother Nature will have another PMS moment and drag it out like she did in 2010… it snowed on May 31! When I was camping! AURGH!  I really want to move to a sub-tropical place…

Anyhoo, I have proof that there is hope!

A few years ago my dad dug up the flower bed at the front of the house and moved all the dirt (including bulbs of crocus, iris, tulips and hyacinth) over by the little wooded area in the back yard. Despite the fact it started out as a huge mound of dirt, somehow the little flowers survived and after rain/snow/wind has evened out the ground, there’s now a sort of little “secret garden” area at the back corner of our property. It’s wonderful! Added to the fact that it’s right in front of the entrance to the little thicket my feral cats live in, is now my favorite place to sit outside in warm weather and have some “me time”.

The yellow ones are a group my dad missed when he remodeled in front. The white one is over at my little corner of heaven in the back yard.

Ha! Missed me!

Ha! Missed me!

Secret/feral garden

Secret/feral garden

 

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