San Rafael Easter 2015
My dad turned 70 on the April 4th, and had wanted to go see the eclipse in the desert (like I did last year) for his birthday. As it turns out it was also Easter/Spring Break that weekend. In Utah, Easter is traditionally when everyone heads to the sand dunes, so the San Rafael was unusually crowded for sure. Since he has some diabetes, I've been working with my dad to get in shape at the gym and also go on 2 or 3 hour walks once per week along the canal, taking a couple pack goats and the dog. He has made huge improvements and this was his first time doing a real hike.

[Image: 70th_01_rig.jpg]Here's the Suburban and the Camperoo loaded up. We also brought a little natgas Cavalier. There were 5 adults and a baby, 5 goats and 3 dogs on this trip!

[Image: 70th_02_camperoo.jpg]Camp site after camp site was full, but I found one down the river that had a bit of a steep approach which scared off the big fancy motor homes. The camperoo had no trouble. This thing is the coolest camper ever. It takes minutes to set up and put away and has ground clearance galore. Its light and hauls a lot of stuff on the rack.

[Image: 70th_03_suburban.jpg]For those wondering how I haul goats, well.... Lets just say that this isn't going to work anymore. My goats keep growing and the day after this trip I picked up a new LaMancha that is going to be huge.

[Image: 70th_04_campsite.jpg]Those of us using tents or hammocks spread out in the river bottoms, while the main camp sat on an overlook. I was hoping the trees would have their leaves by now, but that seems like its a couple weeks off.

[Image: 70th_05_rainbow_cliffs.jpg]Some of us went for a short 4 mile warm-up hike. This little side canyon had some beautiful rainbow cliffs that the camera just doesn't capture. There was even a quarter-inch ribbon of glass-like gypsum crystal.

[Image: 70th_06_bacchus.jpg]We turned around when it got too rocky for Sarah and the baby. The sun was starting to set and it was getting a bit cool. Camp was sounding good.

[Image: 70th_07_campfire.jpg]It was a cold night, probably around 25 degrees. We sat around the fire and roasted stuff. Bacchus, the goat with the big horns, stayed with us and enjoyed the fire too. I figured my fancy sleeping bag would be fine, but it really is true that hammocks don't handle the cold very well. My feet got cold that night. Everyone else said they were plenty warm. We got up at 5 and watched the eclipse, or "blood moon". My camera failed to get a picture of it on automatic, and I didn't feel like setting up the tripod and messing with the settings anyhow.

[Image: 70th_08_grampa.jpg]My dad couldnt believe he'd missed out on this area his whole life, even though it was only 100 miles away from home. He had a great time with family enjoying nature on his birthday.

[Image: 70th_09_side_canyon.jpg]Well, my dad forgot one of his pills and went into town 20 miles away to get a refill. The rest of us went on a hike up the north-east fork of Calf Canyon, which I had not explored yet.

[Image: 70th_10_monolith.jpg]We spotted this monolith and wanted to go take a break there.

[Image: 70th_11_accident.jpg]This picture was taken right before an accident. To get up to where my brother is standing you have to walk over some big jumbled rocks. They've been there for a long time and people probably go to the monolith a lot. You'd think they'd be stable, but.... My brother told his dogs to go back because he didn't want them running around on the rocks. As one of them was turning, either he or a goat shifted weight on a rock and it tipped and smashed his paw really good. It became an emergency extraction at that point.

[Image: 70th_14_chewy.jpg]There was a lot of blood because some pads had been squashed and ripped up on the dog's foot. I pulled my nice home-made medical kit from the goat pack and we stopped the bleeding and wrapped it. Sarah and I went back with the goats to get the Suburban. I drove as far as I could up the canyon and using an upside-down pack saddle with the straps arranged like handles we lugged fat Chewy down the canyon. My dad was on his way back with the pills and found us on the main road. My brother took the Cavalier (loaded up with unused camping supplies) and headed back home to his vet. He also took Sasha the German shep since she was looking gimpy (hips-- I really have to keep her from leaping up obstacles from now on). Chewy is fine, though one toe bone is broken. I say he heals up just fine though since all of my dogs get broken toes messing with the horses, and they're ok.

[Image: 70th_12_saskya.jpg]Sarah carried her baby most of the time but I took over now and then. Sarah had this big baby carrier but in testing a couple weeks back we discovered it levered the baby so far out it really wore you down. This carrier seen here, I never even noticed the weight of the baby at all.

[Image: 70th_15_parasol.jpg]We went half way up Calf Canyon on the last day. I'm sure my dad considers it the big hike of the trip, but Google Earth says it was actually a little shorter than the one with the colorful cliffs hehe.

[Image: 70th_16_rest.jpg]Resting. Being bothered by Shelby GT. Life is good.

[Image: 70th_17_sandrail.jpg]The rock crawlers and sand rails had a good time in the canyon too. They're plenty polite and we just had to step off the trail for a minute while they passed.

[Image: 70th_18_shelby.jpg]Asside from my dad's birthday, this trip was special for me because for the first time I never wore a backpack. Shelby is old enough to carry light loads and so he did!

Here's a panorama of the camp grounds up Calf Canyon.

It was a great trip except for the dog accident. I'm hoping it doesn't discourage future treks. I feel a little bad that Sasha, my German Shep washed out so early, and I'm wondering if she's had it for grand adventures now that she's getting older. As of now I still havent finished cleaning up. There's lots of dust to deal with!
This is a great story. What a stroke of genius using the upside down goat pack turned dog cradle. Thanks
Absolutely gorgeous country! I'm so happy your Dad was able to hike with you. Great memories. Smile
Goatberries Happen!
Awesome hike Charlie horse, love the pics and write up! Shelby looks like he has long legs, and can cover some ground. Good looking pack string right there!
Great photos & trip report, Charlie Horse! And what a stroke of ingenuity you had, in dealing with the dog's injury. But why on earth aren't you wearing your NAPgA T-shirt? Wink
Thanks so much for sharing! That looks like it was a great trip, and I'm so glad your dad was able to be with you this time. Your goats seem to be working out great, but yeah--you need a bigger transport! I'm glad the dog injury wasn't worse. Poor little guy!
I love that country! Great photos.
Cool country and great pictures!, to bad the pup got his foot hurt but at least you weren't 10 miles into the backcountry when it happended!
What a great trip report...that is on my list of places to go this year too. Thx so much!

LOCATION: Top-of-Utah at the South base of Ben Lomond
Absolutely gorgeous country! I'm so happy your Dad was able to hike with you. Great memories.

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