Suddenly, all the things on your to-do list are lined off and it’s time to start thinking about a new list. But you want to take a pause and not add anything right away so that you can relax in the lull. That’s where we are just now.
Except for a small chip in the left-hand glass panel the shower is completed. Without Joe’s help I’d still be in there laying tile. Replacement glass will take another couple of weeks, but at least we can enjoy the shower now.
Five days of April were reserved for a Canyonland’s hike with UltraLIght friend Will and his Montana friends. The Utah desert is a place that you’d want to visit only a couple times in a year and April is one of them. Day temps in the 70’s and nighttime in the mid-30’s made for a 50-mile exploration of some of the park’s hinterlands. Discovering new routes to link up trails is one of Will’s passions and we lucked out this time with two new routes confirmed.
Easter week is the busiest time of the year in this National Park with backcountry permits reserved months in advance. However if you’re lucky enough to get one, the crowds completely disappear once you get beyond the day-hiking range. We spent four days without seeing a soul, and only a two sets of footprints. Water is the big concern, and we were fortunate to have Will’s experience to tell us where to find those water holes.
The day after our return from the desert, I was scheduled to give a talk on GaiaGPS for the San Juan Mountain Association. Gaia is a smartphone GPS mapping application that I’ve been using for four years, most recently on this Utah desert trip.
Will typically doesn’t need a map to orient himself in the backcountry, but confirming his location sure saves some misadventures into unknown side canyons.
Just like our UltraLIght talk a month earlier, we’d underestimated the attendance by 200%. The Ultralight talk was standing room only and the Gaia talk had 60 people if you include me and the director. As with all technical presentations, even though all the folks had the app in the class, they still needed practical experience. So Saturday morning we took 20 of them on a “hands-on” hike to hone their skills. One fact I brought out in the talk was that of the hikers our Search and Rescue group has searched for in the last two years, 9 of the 12 were day-hikers from Durango. Even locals get lost, and one testimony from a county native was that he got disoriented this winter only a mile from the road in the snowy hills near Andrews Lake at Molas Pass. He wanted to have Gaia so that didn’t happen again.
GaiaGPS works everywhere, you might consider adding that app to your smartphone if you’re apt to venture away from the highway.
Still almost 10 days left in April and summer hasn’t even begun.