Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Wednesday, February 27. Well, not really. But a few days ago I did get a notice on conspicuous blue paper taped up at my site at the Red Rock campground informing me that I would have to vacate the premises by 11 a.m. on February 27th. As I knew, there is a 14 day limit on stays, and mine would be up on the 27th. The notice emphasized that this limit is imposed by a nation-wide, not local, rule and that no exceptions could be made, not even in the interest of raising money to cover operating costs when (as now) the campground is mostly empty. In my former life, I represented the U.S. Department of the Interior in court, so I well know how inflexible its bureaucracy can be. I would have to move. But where?

A couple of local climbers very kindly offered to put me up. But Ezzy and I have gotten to like being on our own. I checked out the nearby Bonnie Springs motel, which gets decidedly mixed reviews on Mountain Project. Visions of a real bed, hot bath and cable TV danced in my head. But $65 per night, going up to $85 on the weekend, seemed a bit steep. So, I drove by the BLM visitor center to inquire if there were another camp ground nearby. There isn’t. But a helpful fellow explained that “dispersed camping” is allowed about 30 miles away in Lovell Canyon on the Tolyobe National Forest. There are no fees, no facilities and (I suppose) no cigarettes (apologies to Roger Miller). One can just camp along the dead end road leading in. I hopped into Ezzy to check it out.

I saw neither people nor vehicles on the first ten or so miles of canyon road. We turned around when the road got rough as it crossed a flood wash and passed a well-tended memorial, complete with cross, balloons and mementoes, to a girl named Danica who apparently died there at age 15 exactly two years earlier to the day. Drowning in a flash flood? Dehydration? Teen age car wreck? Foul play?

I have two daughters who were high school teenagers not so many years ago. I love them with all my heart. Imagine how sad it was for me to read the words "Danica - Daddy's Girl" on the rock below her cross. When I first saw the memorial on the second anniversery of Danica's death, there were brand new ballons and flowers there. Danica is still very much loved. I hope her loving ones won't mind my sharing her canyon for a few days.

I found two or three likely camping spots about three miles in. So, this morning I packed everything into Ezzy and left the RR campground for the last time. Tonight we’ll set up at one of the spots in Lovell canyon. I expect the stars will be brilliant, far from the lights of Las Vegas that light up the sky at the RR campground.

My left calf continues to be a real problem. It has not gotten appreciably better, so I did no climbing yesterday and will rest again today. I am planning to climb with Johnny and a friend of his on Thursday. We may do a little sport climbing, which will be a first for me. Assuming my calf survives, Marc and I will climb on Saturday.

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