NOTE: Open post and then Single Click On first Post Photo to view an album in a more detailed, larger format...

Saturday, May 1, 2021

"It's Lonely Out In Space"

Sometimes it's more about who goes with you than where you go.


With Rv Dazy's black and grey tanks emptied, propane tank topped off and enough food in cabinets and fridge to last a couple-three weeks, Bobbie heads home to Lovely Ouray...this time for good. I watch as the car shrinks into Eastern Utah's stark horizon down a long, lonely dirt road. Her bike trys to escape its rack with every bump and jolt. Elton John's "Rocket Man" plays in my head... 

I miss the Earth so much I miss my wife
It's lonely out in space...

I return to my wheeled abode. Mr Heater glows with warmth, puttering BTUs enough to break the morning chill, while I kill time surfing long-range weather guesses in attempts to glean a modicum of truth from fiction. 

If weather gods are kind, I might be able to prolong this little slice of hiking/biking Heaven a couple more weeks. Of course the forecasts do not agree. They never do. Some days I think forecasters could be more accurate with a yard-sale Ouija Board instead of "Computer Models." 

As with history, recent weather trends can prophesy future events. If so, this spring might continue to be windier, cooler and cloudier than normal, as front after front after front barrels down from the north. Still, it beats snow...but not by much this year. 

Andre and Rose, riding "the slabs."

While surfing the "Fake Weather" sites I read an email from Andre and Rose. They are headed my way from Cedar Mesa and should arrive on the 16th. They wonder if I'll still be around in my usual camping spot. 

Normally, I'm gone by mid April because it's "normally" too hot by then for this geezer to spend most of his day playing outdoors.
I'll try to stick around, I reply, watching temperatures inch from thirty something to low forties. Bring a jacket, I add. A glance at the clock reveals it's almost noon. Out the window a stiff north wind bends cedars several degrees. 
And here I am, worried that it will be too hot?

Andre and Rose...two ships lost on a sandstone sea

On another bike ride, Andre and I ply a few interior trails in Klondike Bluffs 

Andre zooms "Little Salty's" yellow lines

Andre "cleans" a steep, problematic "trap" on "Dino Way"

The last 3 miles back to camp are friendlier...except for the headwind

It's fun hanging out with agreeable, likeminded mates. It sure makes for an enjoyable camp, especially Happy Hours. There's little, if anything, that Andre and Rose won't give a go, and having them around sure beats "lonely out in space," now that Bobbie's hightailed it home. 

Andre and Rose arrive following two days of spitting snow that changed over to soaking rain. Needless to say, they don't get far. About two miles in road conditions deteriorate enough to force a temporary camp near Klondike Bluffs Trailhead. From my camp, I see a train wreck of abandoned vehicles mired in mud. I email Andre that, given the stiff wind, the road might dry out pretty quick...enough to make it passable...if they can get around all the stuck vehicles. Sure enough, they show up around noon. Piece of cake.

True to form, cold and wind persist. We spend most mornings waiting for temps to warm up...fifty for biking, forties for hiking (if the sun is mostly "out"). Biking the 3 mile stretch to Klondike's Trailhead proves brutal with temps in the upper 40s and 20 mph winds out of the north. Brrr!    

I take my guests on the Deep Dry Wells hike.

Weather aside, I like having company in camp. It sure beats "baching it." Visitors in camp motivates, such that a little wind and cold are no excuse to sit indoors all morning surfing a slow-as-molasses internet connection that dribbles pages at dial-up speeds. 

Happy Hikers

Andre trusts his shoes as he "waltzes" a sketchy drop off into a deep dry-well.

Hidden Canyon provides eye-moving entertainment. So many shapes, colors and endless sculptured sandstone can holds one's attention...

It is said that camping with a "sig-o" (significant other) is more a test of endurance than a "date." Should the relationship survive camping, you might want to consider getting married on the way home. 

I knew Bobbie was "marriage material" after surviving a grueling extended wilderness backpack trip in order to climb Uncompahgre Peak, a noted Colorado 14er. I recall "bonking out" on the afternoon of the second day, totally wiped by the rigors of distance, route and elevation gain. I eventually recover enough to climb Uncompahgre and finish the trip. Wow! I had met my match! It occurred to me that I ought to marry this gal...if she would have a wimp like me.

Shortly after marriage vows (while floating over snowcapped mountains and lush spring green valleys in a hot air balloon) we plunged into another test of marital endurance, one that can pull the rug out from under promises of till death do us part and happily ever after, by undertaking a house build together.

Yep, having barely survived the "camping test" I dared-the-devil by talking her into building and/or remodeling houses...all the while working our day jobs. It was a lot to bite off. But just like on that first backpacking adventure, Bobbie stuck with me and the long lists of daily tasks and deadlines, from drawing up plans to permitting to hiring subs, plus doing as much of the project as possible with just the two of us (sweat equity). I can see her now, wielding a heavy nail-gun, cutting lumber, framing, setting I Beams and roof trusses...working atop a 20 foot extension ladder and roofing well into the night under spotlights...not to mention putting up with a surly, over-worked husband.

If you were to hold a gun to my head and ask how our marriage survived one of life's biggest stressors multiple times, I would simply say our common love of outdoor activities and adventures, from climbing 50 14,000 foot peaks to building/remodeling over 10 houses. We worked hard and we played hard. I think spending time outdoors with a spouse or "sig-o" is curative. Movement in the outdoors, be it walking, hiking, biking, climbing, snow shoeing, rafting and/or exploring, is a home remedy like no other. Still, without that solid foundation, you might want to think twice about building a house together :) 

In conclusion, I believe that having many things in common helps to grow love in the face of all life's stressors, be it having children or building houses...or both. Those same "commonalities" become even more important as relationship years turn into decades. It's also important to allow each other some "alone time." Though I miss Bobbie while camping alone in Utah every spring, and she (after a while) probably misses me, time alone allows us the opportunity to think, to explore our individual selves...to act as we please and do what we want. It sounds selfish, till you really think about it. Besides, absence tends to grow fonder hearts, which makes for a deeper, more mature love that can withstand the Ultimate Test, the test of Time.

Peace out from Lovely Ouray, let summer's adventures begin!
mark and bobbie


  1. You made me cry❤️ bj xxoo

  2. Words of wisdom and great photos too!!

  3. Count your Blessings buddy and don't forget to thank your Creator. :)
    There are 1.4 million ants on the planet for every human, so we better start being grateful for every day we get to experience this life and start respecting all of Creation because it's obvious we are not the most popular inhabitants :)
    Im getting a little worried about Goggle though :(
    Stay Thirsty My Friend
    D & A

    1. Grateful is my middle name! :)
      Wonder what the Grateful Dead think now???

  4. We sure had fun with you showing us your hidden gems although I must say the dry-wells had me questioning my senses.

    1. Not a hike for acrophobes that's for sure :). Enjoy your California summer! mark

  5. You have made the statement in a number of different blogs "trust your shoes". We plan to spend two to three months amoungst the red rock this Fall. Though we could never accomplish experiencing what you have, we too would like to trust our shoes. Would you mind sharing brand, or style?

    1. I wear Merrell's Moab mid-height with Vibram soles and Bobbie rotates between low-top Merrell Onterio 85s and Salomon's with Vibram soles. I think any brand with soft lug sole will work, just avoid hard rubber as they are more slippery when on wet surfaces. The softer soles are very sticky on sandstone...it does take a while to "trust" their grip, tho. Good Luck!!!

  6. Enjoyed your post, wonderful sculptured sandstone! words of wisdom on relationships, very nice . . . enjoyed reading and admiring the photos until you got to the "building a house" part, cause I'm in the beginning of building a house (alone) and talking with subcontractors and listening to what they can do and cannot do, and waking up at 1 AM wondering if an easement around a fire hydrant will screw-up my driveway design and underground utility trenches, etc. and it's all driving me "bat cave crazy"!

    1. And add to all that, the boom in real estate is driving up construction costs and drying up the available supply of Sub Contractors. We always tacked on an additional 20 to 25 percent to projected building costs, and spent it all every time :(. I wish you luck and patience and happy dreams instead of nightmares!!!

  7. Love hearing these stories re: the background of you and Bobbie. I enjoy you both so much and think you have something great together. Certainly inspiring for me.

    Also that photo of your friend walking above the dry well is phenomenal!

    1. Thanks Juliet...we sure miss seeing and hiking with you lately. Seems like that needs to change now that COVID is in retreat. Have a great summer...shouldn't be difficult with both an ocean and mountains nearby :).


If you like reading blog posts...from any blogger...consider leaving a "tip" in the form of a "comment" to the author, lest the blog might disappear from perceived lack of interest.