Sometimes the logistics of group hikes and bike rides can be daunting. But efforts in that regard can often be remunerated with dividends greater than going it alone. Oh sure, there are times and places that call for solo's; we all need a day here and there to collect our thoughts—maybe wander off into wilderness all by ourselves and just listen to our heart beat—expunge the exhaust fumes of cars and yackety-yaks while sauntering along a trail without a dictated pace or destination.
But most of us have a "social chip" in our "hardware;" we enjoy/need contact and involvement with other people from time to time. It often strains quiet types...pushes their limits, space, and comfort zones. In the gym we are told that gain comes from strain, and I think that's true socially as well as physically; pushing limits, space, and comfort zones are, after all, the building blocks of growth, knowledge, and bonding. There is a good reason for humans to be wired with "social chips," one might even go so far as to say our survival, as well as that of our planet, depends upon "team effort."
The Boonster and I have discussed these principles at length ever since meeting up on the road, way back in 2008. We both concluded that "pros" significantly outweigh "cons" when it comes to teaming up once in a while with like minded RV boondockers, especially solo RV'ers. Most RV Park's have business models that are built around the simple principle that people are, at heart, "social beings." It has worked pretty well; RV parks are generally full "in season," and this in spite of lack of privacy...rigs being packed like sardines, nuts to butts and slideout to slideout. Why? Because new friendships are often forged in RV parks, and since most fulltimers bid former friends goodbye when they hit the road, they need new friends and go to great lengths to find them. Groups often form around commonalities, like having the same brand of RV. I guess that's ok, but it doesn't seem to me to be a specific enough foundation for meeting like minded people.
"Oh boy, Fred, how about our Lazy Daze RVs!"
"Yep, I got a mid-bath, myself."
"Is that right?"
"Nope, I'm a ford man."
I'm somewhat tongue in cheek there; who knows, eventually Fred and whats-his-name might learn that they are both rockhounds or geo-cachers...or maybe even mountain bikers with a passion for single tracks. Doubtful, but it could happen. There needs to be a better method, though, to narrow the "field" a little, don't you think?
Bobbie and I started out as members of Escapees...mostly because they had Birds of a Feather groups for hiking, biking, etc.. The problem we ran into was that most BOF's hung out in expensive RV parks which, for some God only knows reason, are notorious for being located smack in the city, beside freeways, and within earshot of railroad tracks. Without an RV park lifestyle, what's a lonely boondocker to do?
Over the years Boonie and I made halfhearted attempts to resolve this problem by nurturing the formation of a subset group...boondocking types who enjoy active outdoor lifestyles...a group based around the simple and basic themes of "Outdoors" and "Active," anything from dog walks to hikes to bike rides...instead of the more typical and sedentary RV Park activities like bingo, pot lucks, and walking round around the outer loop...clockwise one day, counter clockwise the next, ad nauseam. Don't misunderstand, I'm not knocking personal choice, just saying there needs to be alternatives for those solos that feel like square plugs in round holes, as well as people like Bobbie and I...and The Boonster.
Look, there is nothing wrong with traditional RV park lifestyles. Likely, at some point in the (hopefully) distant future, age/health issues may dictate a park setting. Until that time comes, we believe that at least a part time boondocking lifestyle can bring a greater sense of adventure, peace and quiet, and a more realistic camping experience. An always RV Parks all the time lifestyle is akin to a kid camping in their own backyard. Fun? Sure, a little bit. Adventurous? Not really.
Our "Dream Team" is gaining traction...a diverse core group of outdoor oriented people who like to participate and share outdoor experiences. Going forward, albeit at a snail's pace, we (The Boonster and I...and hopefully a few others) will continue our efforts to recreate in out of the way, weather and seasonally appropriate places. We invite like minded RV souls to join us and give it a try. It might only be once or twice a year to begin with, but it could grow more frequent as long as it is working well; we don't think it should become so frequent as to ruin the idea into a rut.
It will be a casual gathering...extremely informal...participate only in what you want, when you want to. Check either my blog or Boonie's blog for upcoming gatherings. Via our blogs, you already know what we enjoy doing and where we like doing it. If you want to join us, well, hey...we're just boondocking; no reservations required...no dress code, no mandatory participation, just friendly people with friendly doggies...and if you haven't converted to solar yet, quiet generators :)
What say you? If this kind of gathering interests anyone please do send an email to either The Boonster or the Box Canyon Blogger; email addresses are on our respective blog's Home Page. This will help us gauge the demand. If nobody is interested, that's ok, we'll just keep doing what we're doing.
Now go take a hike, or ride a bike, or walk your dog :)
The Outdoor Gang.
Now, as promised, to Hellhole with friends...
|Chilly mornings, warm afternoons...guess when this photo was taken...|
|The trail to Hellhole is a wash...which is to say, there is no trail|
|A thin layer of Tilted sedimentary rock|
|It is hard to beat Mother Nature's palette in Utah, the golds, the greens, the sage...all against red backdrops|
|And what about the gorgeous lichen that sprouts and thrives in a dry, dry land...|
|and the pink sandstone boulders, so smooth and inviting you can't keep from reaching down and stroking them like a pet. Pet Rocks, now there's an idea|
|Looking south into Arizona Strip country|
|Marching North, into Hellhole...|
|I've been told numerous times by a number of people, that the area near Hellhole teams with rattlesnakes on warm days. A shed skin clings to a bush as a reminder, and it grows warmer by the minute.|
|Boonie and Gayle lead the way, seemingly shrinking with each step...or is Hellhole Canyon getting larger?|
|I wanted to warn Debbie to watch where she puts her hands...a fear my dear departed mother instilled in me..."snakes and scorpions will get you." I bite my tongue, tho, feeling for my Snake Bite Kit in the side pocket of my pack...|
|The view south, as Hellhole begins to swallow us up|
|Museum worthy Lichen on Boulders...|
|Hellhole Canyon narrows...onward Gayle, onward Bobbie|
|Boulders, some as big as houses, tumbled down from overhead...as if trying to block entry. We risk angering the spirits, and continue...|
|I couldn't believe it when Gayle continued beyond this point...I don't think she's as claustrophobic as she thinks she is, and based on what I've seen her climb, I don't think she's all that acrophobic either.|
|Curious Jim leads the way...a tree branch becomes a ladder|
|As walls close in, every thing and every one takes on a pink glow. It penetrates to the bone...warm...a soft easy feeling for such a precarious place.|
|The sky overhead becomes a slot of blue|
|Curious Jim, undeterred...|
|The access to the next level is another tree branch...wedged in place. It grants access to the inner chambers of Hellhole|
|Curiosity is a powerful force. It has been known to kill cats, but they have nine lives. We have but one life, and still, these three choose to go on. We take a photo: this is how we want to be remembered.|
|I look back and snap one last photo. Thanks to Curious Jim, this is our deepest penetration yet into Hellhole. It's mesmerizing; I don't want to leave.|
|Putting asses to good use...|
Here's a link I stole from Life's Little Adventurers. It shows a flash flood pouring out of Hellhole...
FlashFood in Hellhole