Well, we are back "in the fray" after 2 weeks of relative peace and safety in the US...
Things seem to have calmed down here for the most part...I was able to buy gas on the way back from the airport, there is a reasonable amount of most foods in the supermarket, you can buy small containers of water (limited quantities), electricity is largely available in my area...
Now we just need to figure out the risks associated with the nuclear headaches...
On the trip...our loose path turned out to be:
Arrive in Vegas, and one night stay
Grand Canyon (South Rim)
Moab Area (Camped in Devil's Garden, Arches Park)
Little Creek Mesa (unexpectedly cool area)
Delta Utah for rock hounding
Back to Vegas for one night stay
- When cold (for me, freezing or below), full length UQ beats 2/3 any day (lack of fiddle factor, Just my opinion)
- Mountain House meals rock (our first time trying these)
- Standard rental vehicle tires can suck for even the lightest off-road (ruined two tires )
- The Superfly is the Batman's utility belt of tarps...I was able to do a lot with it for two person coverage...very impressed. I have a guyline setup that really works well for me...I'll post it when I get time.
- Exped Dreamwalker 650 rocks...it's the McGuiver of bags...used it as a bag, TQ and jacket
- I wish I had more time left in the last day or two for shopping
- Grand Canyon is always a great value...and most of the sites have plenty of trees, so great for hammocks.
- Our first time to successfully reserve in Devil's Garden, Arches Park...stayed 3 nights. Many sites have ample trees for 1 to 3 hammocks and the site generally rocks. Lots for kids to do right in the site, since it is nestled into the alien landscape. Good sound an light protection for other sites resulting in very quiet, and good access to hikes.
Since we were there for 3 days (and only had trees for 1 or two hammocks) I set up our tent with cots. Once of those days was the second windiest day I've ever camped (#1 was when my wife and I got hit by a typhoon while camping on a beach in Niigata...)
- Delta Utah continues to be a fantastic area for rock hounding. This time, we had some better print guides and had an ever better time than last...next time we will be even more prepared...this time: Sunstones, Topaz, Agate, Obsidian and trilobite fossils (all from paid or "legal" collection sites)
- Little Creek Mesa was an unexpected find and total winner. An open camping area near Zion (BLM, I think) dispersed camping anywhere near a mini grand canyon-like area. Also, there was an abundance of petrified wood, agate and Indian artifacts (though we didn't see any of the latter, plenty fo the first two). No collecting is allowed.
We were all alone with only the coyotes for that night. Wish we had more time (thought the boys were spooked a bit )
- The DIY hammocks for my wife and I were fantastic
In all, thanks to everyone who helped make the hammocking part of this journey a pleasant reality. I appreciate all the forum support once the disaster here unfolded as well