Friday, 29th December_Tuesday, 2nd January, 2018; South of Moab, Utah.
Oil Sketch on Centurian Oil Primed Panel
5” x 7”
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Libraries are few and far between in these parts … so much for the delay in getting this post out.
Oil change in Moab and finally heading south, but not so far, as it was late in the day. I revisited the Dinosaur track way I had helped to excavate back in October, as I wanted a few more reference photos of the landscape. The road in is a difficult one, so I parked at the first washed and hiked the last mile in, following a pair of two or three day old coyote tracks all the way, and arriving within seconds after the lowering Sun went in behind the late afternoon clouds. It came out again, but the closer ridges were now in shadow; I had wanted them in the golden light of evening. As I hiked back to the truck the Sun set and a waxing gibbons Moon hung above the La Sal Mountains to the east. In the gloaming I found a campsite a couple miles in from the highway.
The next day was warming and was getting up to just under 50°F, so I took advantage of that and stripped down to the waist and gave myself a much needed haircut, beard trim and shaved, where necessary, and trimmed my moustache. The Sun on my body felt warmer than the ambient air temperature actually was. Anyone visiting that campsite will be wondering what animal left those chunks of fur in the dust! Winter is a difficult time to find the right temperature to do a self inflicted haircut, so I’m happy that everything aligned just right … January and February might prove difficult.
I had Internet access where I was so the last day of the year was spent as a lazy day clearing emails and doing online research. And that evening the Moon rose full, over the La Sals, the Man in the Moon, directly upright, looking to the left. An odd thing about this camp was that, save for a couple of ravens, there was no wildlife observed. There were tracks of deer and rabbits, and even a hopping bird, in the snow, but only the ravens during the three days I was there.
New Years day was spent finishing the above Oil Sketch I had begun up on Island in the Sky, and on the 2nd I headed for the Needles, but was sidetracked to the Needles Overlook. Three miles from there I found a great spot to camp, right on the clifftop with distant views of the Needles, Indian Creek Canyon, and Junction Butte at Island in the Sky, and of course beyond them all the Henry Mountains to the southwest. I expected no lights anywhere, but as evening grew darker, there was one dim light to the west, almost as dim as a 5th or 6th magnitude star. Once the Moon arose, I could only find it with my binoculars. The next morning by using map and binoculars, I worked out that it must have been someone at the White Crack Campground at the southern point of the a White Rim Trail, over in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands NP. Evidently that is quite a back road, being a hundred miles of dirt road for high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles. I believe that a Jeep is not necessary, as one would want when going to the Maze section of Canyonlands. I was tempted, but the icy conditions when I was on the Island in the Sky, made my decision for me; besides, I would have had to go to Moab for petrol first. But someone was over there, during my first night in my clifftop camp.