Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
47Trip End Ongoing
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The plan was to meet the other two people who were going (I'll call them T and R) at the BLM at 8am, load up the trailer, drive 4 hours out to the Beef Basin cabin, (where Silas and I were going to be staying) unload the trailer, then T & R would drive to the Sweet Alice cabin and stay there for the night and we'd meet up again in the morning to drive out.
Well, that was SUPPOSED to be the plan, but when T arrived at the BLM she told us that she had had to jump her truck because the battery was dead when she got in it that morning. There was a little bit of concern about what was going on with the battery, so as we were loading everything up on the trailer we also grabbed some jumper cables and brought them with us just in case the battery acted up again.
It took about 4 hours to get out to the Beef Basin cabin. Maybe Silas will say something about the actual mileage- I have no idea what it was- I just know that these were the worst roads I've ever seen in my entire life! Up until now I think I've kind of been a wuss when it comes to gravel roads, wait, let me correct something- these were not 'gravel' roads. I don't know that I could even call them dirt roads. At times there was dirt, sometimes sand, lots of it was loose rocks mixed with bumpy slickrock. It definitely seemed like the kind of driving where you really have to concentrate the entire time and look for the best route around every rock and hole. I was SO happy I didn't have to drive, but I also felt really bad for Silas. But after driving on these roads I will NEVER complain about regular gravel roads again!!
On the drive out there, since we'd never been out there and there were very few signs, T would stop at every junction so we could catch up with her and know where to go. At one point we were on a part of the road with a semi steep drop-off on one side and as we came around a corner we saw that T & R had stopped even though there was no junction or anything, so we stopped behind them and got out to see what was going on. Apparently they had been driving along and all of a sudden T caught a glimpse of something in her side mirror and realized that it was the spare tire for the trailer rolling along down the road! She stopped and was then passed by the tire, which rolled off the side of the road, hit a tree and came to a stop about 30 feet down from the road. So Silas climbed down, got the tire, and we were on the road again.
When we got to Beef Basin cabin T showed us where everything was located and how to turn the gas on and off and all that. We also decided that we would wait to unload the trailer until they came back the next day since the only place to put everything was right in the middle of the cabin. AND before they left we made a plan for them to get ahold of us in the morning to let us know if their truck would start. The plan was that they were going to call my cell phone (somehow I was still getting service out there) from a satellite phone at 7AM, and if their truck started they'd meet us at our cabin at noon. If their truck DIDN'T start, we would have to drive 2 hours to their cabin to jump them, then we'd all have to drive back to our cabin to unload all the boards and cement and stuff.
So after giving Silas some rough directions, T & R took off towards their cabin and we went into ours to try to get out of the heat. After we ate lunch and played a couple games of Scrabble Slam, Silas set out to do some work (hanging signs, putting up barbed wire, etc...) I stayed inside and read a little and then got dinner going. (chicken & bean burritos) After eating dinner we headed out to try to see some of the sights around the cabin. The first was to an old trading post- I don't know how old it was or anything about it, but it was in the middle of nowhere, that's for sure! Beef Basin is an area that's located between the Abajo Mountains and Canyonlands National Park. I know that there used to be lots of cowboy camps in that area, so I'm assuming that that was part of the reason there was a trading post way out there.
After that we were looking for some ruins that we had been given rough directions to. I really had a hard time figuring out where we were on the map. Silas seemed to know where we were, but I really didn't. I'll just get right to the point- we found where we thought the trailhead to the ruins was, we parked, got out, and walked, and walked, and walked. And the whole time it was getting darker and darker and I was really starting to get scared/worried/stressed about how long we were going to keep going not even really knowing where the ruins were! Finally I had had enough- it was already almost dark and I knew that even if we turned around right then it would still be totally dark long before we got back to the truck. Silas wasn't happy about it, and I felt bad, but I just couldn't keep going! If we had known for sure where it was and how much farther we had to go, it might have been different, but I just couldn't keep going like that.
So after that I was REALLY hoping that we wouldn't have to go jump the other truck in the morning so we would have time to try to find the ruins again. But wouldn't you know, at 7:00 the next morning they called and said that the truck was dead. We had got up just before 6:00 so that we'd be pretty much ready if we had to go jump their truck, and if we didn't have to go, we'd be ready to go out and do a little more exploring before we were supposed to meet up the them. So we finished cleaning up and putting everything away and headed out to try to find the Sweet Alice cabin.
Oh, I should probably mention that we didn't actually get to talk to them on the phone. We had turned the phone on and had it sitting out on the back of the truck where there was service and it got to be about 7:15 and we hadn't heard from them, so Silas was walking around trying to see if we could get more bars and the phone beeped that there was a message. So I was in the middle of listening to the message when they called again. I could hear them pretty well, but they were only barely able to hear me, but they started giving the directions anyway just in case I could hear them. I missed a couple things because I was trying to signal Silas to come over and listen and it cut out when I turned my head. After they gave us directions I tried to give Silas the phone, but we were disconnected. So really, they had no idea if I had heard them or not.
So once we got everything put away, turned off, and locked up we set out for their cabin. I really don't know how Silas found it- it wasn't even on the map. The only new information I had heard on the phone was 'Sweet Alice Springs' and that they were going to go out and put up some flagging ribbon where we should turn. So, SOMEHOW Silas got us there, but there were 3 possible places to turn and no flagging ribbon, so we just tried the one that pointed to Sweet Alice Springs since the sign said that it was less than a mile. We got to the end of the road and no cabin, so we turned around and were on our way back to the main road when Silas noticed a kind of overgrown road that we hadn't noticed on the way in. While we were sitting there in the truck trying to see if it looked like it had been driven on recently, we noticed something shiny up on a hill off of the side of the road. I got out and walked up the road a little way to see if I could see anything and it was their truck! I was so excited! By the time we made it out to the main road and turned onto theirs, T & R had also made it out to the main road- they had heard our truck and started walking out to meet us. They had thought that it was going to take us a lot longer to get there, so they hadn't made it out to hang up the flagging ribbon yet- no wonder we hadn't seen it!
The rest of the day was LOTS of driving- I don't think I need to say anything about that- but finding their cabin was definitely the high point of the day for me! I never would have been able to find it with the directions Silas had been given. If I'm ever lost somewhere I hope it's either with Silas, or that he's the one looking for me!