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Posted 03-14-2013 at 09:22 PM by FOSJ

Joan and I have completed 5 weeks of volunteering here at Echo Bay and so far it's been everything we could have hoped for. The upper campground where we are located is quiet and comfortable; the temps have ranged from mid to high 30's overnight to low 70's when the heat wave passes over. Some mornings we've woken up to see snow on the mountain tops across Lake Mead.

Usually we start our workday in long sleeves, but are quickly down to short sleeves. Lots of blue sky and the occasional windy day or evening. Our 32 hour work commitment passes quickly each week and the work keeps us active. For the last 2 weekends we've had 35 - 40 college seniors and graduate geology students from Flagstaff tent camping in the campsites adjacent to ours. They are learning how to map and document the various layers of strata in the desert. They even had a test while they were out in the field last Saturday. We are working on a project for our boss Tim. Over the last few years use at the upper campground has been very low; most campers preferring to use the lower campground nearer the lake. As a result of the lower usage, a couple of the loops have been unused and have become overgrown. The 2nd weekend in March we have a group of 30-40 'star gazers' coming out and they have asked to use the 4th loop because of its remoteness and 'screening' from other light sources in and around Echo Bay. They will be setting up portable telescopes and we might expect to see as many as 200-300 visitors stopping by to see the stars. Joan and I took on the project to clean out and prepare about 30 campsites for this group. It's turning out to be quite a job!

We took a quick drive up towards Zion National Park one afternoon. We're intending to spend a couple days here before we head to Colorado, but the weather forecast for this week was for snow with temps in the teens, so we decided to just take a quick ride instead. On the southwest side of the park is the small community of Virgin. We decided to turn here and drive up Kolob Reservoir Road rather than go into the park. It was a great decision.

This road travels 18 miles and rises 3000' in elevation along the way. A few houses and small ranches, but most of it is open range, with the road dipping in and out of National Park land along the way. We could see the peaks in Zion and the vistas were fantastic.

Along the way we saw 2 small herd of deer....had to wait for some of them to cross the road before we could proceed. As we got further in and started climbing we had to turn back due to roads begin closed because of winter snow still on the roads.

We've had several visitors over the last few weeks. Joan's cousin Theresa and her husband Brian called. They were riding their motorcycle and wanted to stop by. We hopped on our bikes, rode out about 15 miles to meet them and led them back to Echo Bay. We spent the afternoon talking and planning a jeep ride. Brian has a bodacious jeep he's transformed into a rock crawler that he's promised to take us out on. A couple days later we got a call from Jim and Sandy inviting us to dinner with them and our old bosses from Mt Hood Mel and Terri. We met them at Arizona Charlies and thoroughly enjoyed visiting with old friends for the evening. A couple days later Jim and Sandy came out and we took them through Valley of Fire and on a short hike through Anniversary Narrows. And last weekend Joan's girlfriend Terri flew into Vegas from Seattle for a quick vacation. We drove into town and went out for a steak dinner.

One of the NPS employees Bill called and invited us out for a hike. On Tuesday we loaded up and headed out to hike Cleopatra Wash. We took the jeep off-road about 3 miles to the edge of the wilderness area and then hiked down the wash for about 2 miles. We had to stop about 3/4 of the way down the wash when we came to a 8' flow over that we could not get around. Several large boulders had wedged themselves in a narrow portion of the wash requiring hikers to rock climb a risky rocky slope or climb over the rock barricade using rope (which we didn't have as we were hiking not mountaineering). On the way out we cleaned up about a mile of the off-road trail picking up beer cans, broken glass, shotgun shells and even an 8' piece of carpet. The desert is so pretty this time of year and it's really disappointing knowing that there are so many off-roaders unwilling to 'protect' those desert views by picking up after themselves.

We are having a great time hiking and off-roading; and we're seeing lots of wildlife. Besides the eagles and big horn sheep we've also seen wild burros and horses at different times.

Stay Tuned. More to Come
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  1. Old Comment
    Toyduck's Avatar
    Echo Bay has always been one of our favorite campgrounds. We normally use the upper levels due to it's remoteness and 360 views. We have been using Boulder lately, your Blog reminded me and we will have to pay another visit.
    Posted 04-20-2013 at 08:17 PM by Toyduck Toyduck is offline
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