Housesitting in St. George Utah and visit to Snow Canyon state park.

I recently had a 10 day house sit in St. George , Utah.  Well, actually the house was about 20 – 25 miles out of St. George closer to a town called Vejo. Vejo is very small and known for its pie store !

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Famous pie store in Vejo

The house that I house sat at was out in the country and in a very beautiful location. The setting was so nice with a big back yard complete with lounge chairs and a hot tub overlooking the river. I took care of 3 very quirky dogs. Why do I say quirky?? All elderly and deaf. 4 cats live here as well although I did not see much of one who is feral. The dogs are Scooter who is lying next to the cats, Reese the herding mix and Mr Bean , the little black one.  Mr Bean was very demanding and would bark when he wanted something such as outside, inside, on couch , off couch, on bed, off bed and especially when he wanted his breakfast at around 5:00 a.m !!! If he weren’t so incredibly cute, he could be a royal pain. However, his cuteness won me over. Reese was the only one who I could take on walks. He and I walked several times to the reservoir which was a 3 mile round trip walk and around the neighborhood . The setting here was so lovely, I never felt the need to go into town (St. George) except for once to pick up my groceries for the stay. I did however, go to Snow Canyon State park twice and what a treat that place is !!!

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Scooter with 2 of the 4 cats , Reese, Mr Bean
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Beautiful home in the country
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wild turkeys come thru the yard most every day.
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walking to the reservoir with Reese

Snow Canyon State Park is a state park of Utah, USA, featuring a canyon carved from the red and white Navajo sandstone in the Red Mountains. The park is located near Ivins, Utah and St. George in Washington.

Snow canyon state park was just a few miles from the house and a beautiful place to hike. I went there twice and spent all day wandering around its colorful rocks.

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one hike I went on in a canyon was tough walking due to a sand floor much like walking on the beach only not firm from the water.

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Lots of lava rocks as well as sandstone.

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All in all , I really enjoyed this house sit , the area, the house and the quirky pets.

Small towns in Nevada and Graveyard musings.

This week when I was driving from Utah to California I took my time and made a few stops. A good part of my drive was thru the state of Nevada .Nevada is full of small , interesting towns,  “living ghost towns” and empty ghost towns, old mines, etc.

I made a couple stops in some old Nevada towns that are “living  ghost town’s now “. Not to many residents and some old crumbling buildings . One was Pioche ,which although I was told they get a lot of people stop by in summer, it literally closes down in the winter.   Here is a little bit of the intriguing  history of Pioche.

History

In 1864, William Hamblin, a Latter Day Saint missionary, was led to silver deposits in the vicinity of Pioche by a Native American Paiute. In 1868, San Francisco financier Francois L.A. Pioche purchased claims and constructed a smelter in the area, forming the Meadow Valley Mining Company. The mining camp was called “Pioche’s City” and later became known as Pioche.

The town rapidly became the largest mining town in southeastern Nevada in the early 1870’s. Population estimates showed 10,000 people by 1871. The town quickly gained fame for its “toughest town” reputation. Due mostly to confusion over the exact location of mining claims, mine owners finally resorted to hiring guards. Hired gunmen were imported at the rate of about twenty a day during boom times to fight mining claim encroachments. Mine owners often paid the gunmen a salary of $20 per day––a more certain investment for owners than settling disputes in court where bribery often determined the final outcome. The sheriff’s office was reputed to be worth $40,000 a year in bribes alone.

Guns were the only law, and Pioche made Bodie, Tombstone, and other better known towns pale in comparison. It has been reported that seventy-five men were buried in the cemetery before anyone in Pioche had time to die a natural death. According to one reputable source, nearly 60 percent of the homicides reported in Nevada during 1871-72 took place in and around Pioche.

I happened into the Pioche Museum  which a lady named  Leslie started 25 years ago. It is filled with artifacts, gems, minerals, and all kinds of fun stuff from pioche and other towns in Lincoln county. Leslie was born and raised in Pioche. I like to imagine that  her grandfather may have been one of those gun toting bad guys!P1050260

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Old fire truck. Pulled by horse or firemen.
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Pioche museum
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Leslie

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After wandering around Pioche for awhile I headed to Austin, Nv. which is on Highway 50 . Highway 50 is the loneliest highway in America. Not much on it. A small town , here and there. Make sure you fill up on gas when you can.  And here is a little history on  Austin , which is another “living  ghost town” of Nevada .

I decided to stay overnight in Austin at the  Cozy mountain hotel . I would recommend it for a cheap and clean place to lay your head. Not a lot of choices in Austin but there were a few other places.  Room was small but very clean and the bed was super comfortable. I think they must have gotten some new beds since the 1800’s. I just recommend they put in a coffee maker. Microwave and fridge come with the room. I was happy with the great bed.

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The International . The only place in town for dinner on a Sunday

Not quite as happy when Looking for some dinner . Only one place to choose from. I guess there was another place but it was closed on Sunday. So, I ended up here. Unfortunately , the menu was very limited .  One other couple came in and the next morning I ran into them at the other place for breakfast . We ended up sitting together and talking and laughing about our experience at the International. It wasn’t just the food, but the waitress was , well, it was like she was someplace else. As well as the place being quite messy. Just a strange experience. Breakfast was at another place in town and actually pretty good. The couple I sat with where from Minnesota and out west doing geo caching. Sounded fun. I may have to look into that.

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Pioche
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Austin

On leaving Austin after breakfast I decided to stop off at the cemetery. Maybe its just me but I love walking thru cemetery’s in old town’s like Austin. You can learn some things by looking at the grave’s dating back into the 1800’s.

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What did I learn. I have noticed this before in other old graveyards but today it really hit me that so many of the older graves where immigrants. I think the reason it hit me today was the fact of what is going on in this country with our current president who is trying to put a halt to immigration and saying things like ” they are  all druggies, murderers, rapists, etc. ” “They are not people we want in our country “. A lot of us Americans do not think that way, thank goodness.  And so in looking at these tombstones I noticed a commonality. Take a look at these tombstones. What do they have in common ??? They are all immigrants. These in fact are the people who came here and built these towns.  They are the ones who built America . Native’s  of Ireland, Germany, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Italy.  We are all descendants of immigrants so how can we turn our backs on them now.

So, I will close with that parting thought.

Best Friends animal society. Utah

While taking some time off in between house sits I went to Kanab , Utah to visit my friend Joni. Her and I met thru the animal rescue world . She was living in Nevada and I in California. We made several trips together to Kanab, Utah to volunteer at Best friends animal society. Please click on this link to learn more about Best friends. This is an amazing place to go and to volunteer. You do not have to volunteer. You can take the tour which is about 2 hours. The tour will tell you much about Best friends and take you thru the property with a stop in cats and a stop in dogs. If you want to know more about how this place came about , I would suggest reading this. Book about how Best friends came about. Or just go to the website and read about Best friends and their story. Fascinating !! I bought the book at an auction at a wine tasting event in Lake Tahoe back in 1997. After reading it I just knew I had to go there. I believe my first visit was in 1999. Here are some photos of the lovely Angles canyon that is the home to Best Friends.

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Cats and dogs at best friends.

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I went back several times to volunteer. I also bought a piece of property  in Kanab, Utah, thinking maybe one day of trying to work at Best friends and live in Kanab. I never did go to work there although my friend Joni did and this is why I am here again. Have not been for about 6 years. Came back to visit Joni, and to check out my lot. Here is is in the beautiful Vermillion cliffs. P1040635

Even if you do not volunteer or do the tour , you can go there and get a  wonderful $5 vegan buffet lunch at Best Friends cafeteria and just drive thru the  lovely location which is  Angle’s Canyon and stop in for lunch. You may want to stop at the visitor center first for a map and to buy some fun stuff.  The property is huge and beautiful with lovely spots to take a hike and to visit.

If you volunteer you can help clean, walk dogs, and even walk a cat. me and Abby

If you don’t volunteer and are just touring the property then be sure to stop at Angels landing which is the pet cemetery. Best friends animals who have passed are buried here as well as members pets. I believe anyone can purchase a grave site here.  It is full of wind chimes and special tokens. I love to just sit there and listen to the wind chimes. I can feel the spirits of the animals.

So if you are touring Utah, I highly recommend a stop at Best Friends !!

Also, Kanab is a good location if you plan to go to Zion , Bryce  and North rim Grand Canyon national parks.  They are all within a hour or so drive from Kanab. My next post will feature some hiking trails (not in the parks because we had dogs !) near Kanab. Lots of beauty in the area.

House sit in Atascadero with visits to the coast.

I recently did a 2 week house sit in Atascadero which is small  city in San Luis Obispo county in central California. Atascadero is a beautiful farming region with  rolling hills,  wineries and only 20 miles from the  central California coastline which includes the charming little towns like Morro bay, Cambria, Cayucos and  one can also visit Hearst castle. The larger town of San Luis Obispo, and beach town of Pismo beach are nearby as well.

My first house sit with horses. One mini named Little O , and another horse named Hot shot, as well as Doozle the goat , 2 cats, rabbits, chickens and Tank the tortoise. Sweet little farm with a garden, and fun assortment of animals.  Deer every morning in the yards surrounding the property. I really enjoyed this house sit. Enjoyed the animals, the farm, and seeing this beautiful area.

While in Atascadero , I went wine tasting Photo Editor-20181011_172657.jpgHiking Photo Editor-20181011_172408.jpgTo the Harbor festival in Morro Bay, The pumpkin festival in Cambria, and colony days festival in AtascaderoPhoto Editor-20181103_212909.jpgPhoto Editor-20181018_204521.jpgPhoto Editor-20181018_204251.jpgPhoto Editor-20181009_153240.jpgWent to Montano de Oro  state park which is beautiful. Here are some photos of Montana de oro and Morro bay.

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Zebras on Hearst castle property. Mr Hearst used to have a private zoo. 

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The hills around Atascadero 

I took quite a few trips to the coast as it was only a 25 minute drive. Really Loved Morro bay which is still a quaint little fishing town and Cayucos which is a funky little surfing town.  Cambria is a small town that is charming with lots of shops and restaurants. A bit more upscale then Morro bay and Cayucos.

Saw some beautiful sunsets at Morro bay. P1040494.jpgP1040501.jpgP1040498.jpgP1040510.jpg

I had a great time  in Atascadero and hope to go back to housesit for Chris and Sharon again next year if possible.

A lot to do and see in this area.

Carmel, Point Lobos State Natural preserve, and Big Sur.

After The Hoedown which I talked about in last post, I had a quick 5 day house sit in Nevada city .   Here is a post about Nevada city from a stay I did there last year. https://sueswanderings.com/2018/01/03/nevada-city-california/.

This time was a quick  sit with Stanley and Lexie

My next house sit is in Atascadero , CA. but with 3 days to play I decided to stop in Carmel on the Sea. I got a cute little Air BnB right near town and was able to walk to town and the beach. Carmel beach is beautiful with clean white sand.

The downtown area is cute and full of shops, restaurants, wineries, and gardens. However I find it a bit pricey for my liking. It is a very upscale town. I did hand out my petsitting card  to a few people. Who knows. Maybe go back to petsit one day.

I spent one day at Point Lobos state reserve which is only a couple miles from Carmel and beautiful and wild. It is definitely worth a stop. I hiked the 5 mile trail along the coastline.

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I also drove to Big Sur one day. I stumbled upon a wedding photo shoot while there. Here are a few of my photos.

P1040309.jpg What a spot for your wedding photos !

Some more photos of this beautiful stretch of coastline.

The California coastline really is amazing. North, central and south. South being more crowded and congested but still beautiful. Northern and central coastline are rugged and wild. Do your self a favor and get to the California coast.

 

Next stop is Atascadero !!

Lost Sierra Hoedown

Lost Sierra Hoedown is a fun little (only 500 tickets sold) Hoedown music campout in the Sierra Nevadas . It takes place in a small town called Johnsville, Ca. at the old Johnsville historic ski area.

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This from the founders:

Our mission is to re-invent the music festival, inspire land stewardship through outdoor recreation, and support Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl.

The Lost Sierra Hoedown is a weekend of simple outdoor living, and human-produced music you can dance to: folk, country, bluegrass, and Americana. This hoedown will raise funds and awareness for the re-opening of Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl.
Below is Z who is the founder of the Hoedown and who grew up in the area. Thank you Z for such a fun time !!
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Azariah “Z” Reynolds , one of the founders of the Hoedown.

Hoedown is a campout event filled with foot stomping , fun loving music and lots of super nice people who will be your friends by the end of the weekend. These are Hoedown photos of past and present hoedowns. I have gone to 5 out of 6 of the hoedowns. I really enjoy the smallness of it, the music, the venue and the whole brotherly vibe!

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Sam Bush band going for the shot ski drink
Sam Bush and friends trying out the shot ski.

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The Johnsville historic ski bowl is also the home of the Plumas ski club. These folk ski on the old time longboards. I have yet to get out there to watch a race but hope to in the following season.

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     The Plumas Ski Club’s purpose is to promote community skiing activities; through historical re-enactments of 1860’s era ski racing in the Lost Sierra. Our primary mission is to raise funds, by sponsoring community events, for the continued maintenance and eventual re-opening of the Johnsvile Historic Ski Bowl.
We have a volunteer board of directors and we enthusiastically welcome all volunteers and new energy to the club! This community based ski club has developed, maintained, and operated the historic ski bowl since the 1950’s.
We are a valid 501c3 and donations are always welcome. Please contact us if you wish to donate.

     Johnsvile Historic Ski Bowl is located just above Johnsville CA. Map here

Longboard Races 1/20, 2/17 and 3/17/19 – 2018 Winners

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Lots of nice hiking to do in this area as well. So, if one is tired of the nonstop music you can hit a trail to one of several lakes. Below are Rock and Jamison lakes.

Point Reyes National seashore.

I recently had a few days free from house sitting and went on a 4 night camping trip to the coast. I camped at Samual P.Taylor state park which is a great location to camp and explore Point Reyes National seashore. I love this area. So much to see, miles and miles of hiking trails, beautiful beaches, Tule elk, whales, all kinds of birds, wildflowers galore in early spring.  Samual P. Taylor state park sits nestled in a heavily treed area. Pretty campground with lots of nice, roomy spaces. It is $35 a night which is high but that is Ca. State park price.  Some sites with electric, there are central showers and food boxes to protect your food from the many raccoons. The small town of Point reyes station is just down the road. And in fact there are many cute, very small old style coastal  towns all along the coast here. So , besides visiting Point Reyes national seashore, it is also fun to just drive around . 

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Point Reyes National Seashore is a 71,028-acre (287.44 km2) park preserve located on the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County, California. As a national seashore, it is maintained by the US National Park Service as an important nature preserve. Some existing agricultural uses are allowed to continue within the park. Clem Miller, a US Congressman from Marin County wrote and introduced the bill for the establishment of Point Reyes National Seashore in 1962 to protect the peninsula from development which was proposed at the time for the slopes above Drake’s Bay. All of the park’s beaches were listed as the cleanest in the state in 2010.[4

The Point Reyes Lighthouse attracts whale-watchers looking for the gray whale migrating south in mid-January and north in mid-March.

From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges, Point Reyes offers visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. Home to several cultures over thousands of years, the Seashore preserves a tapestry of stories and interactions of people. Point Reyes awaits your exploration.

Point Reyes is one of my favorite places on the Northern California coast. It is only an hour from San Francisco yet so many people do not know of the beauty that is there.

 

 

8th annual Guitarfish Music festival

Guitarfish is an intimate camping and music experience in a magical setting;
over a mile high, in the woods, on the South Fork of the Yuba River,
at the Cisco Grove Campground. This year was the 8th annual and I have gone every year except one.  

Set in the stunning Sierras at Cisco Grove campground, the festival also provides an enchanting setting to enjoy the South Yuba river, hiking, world class mountain and road biking, towering trees, and starry skies. Emphasizing the importance of water, Guitarfish works in partnership with non-profits to educate on the issues of overfishing and water pollution, promoting water conservation and preservation of clean oceans and watersheds, with a portion of proceeds going towards such. Guitarfish aims to provide a direction for positive change to sustain and maintain healthy watersheds, rivers, streams, lakes and oceans and to preserve all living beings that depend on it. Coming together to honor this big blue ball we all call home feeds the magic.

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Ruby Mountains in Nevada

I had been wanting to go to the Ruby mountains for a long time . It is about a 6 hour drive from Truckee, Ca. so have never quite made it till just a couple weeks ago. Finally went to camp for 3 nights and hike the second week in July.

The Ruby mountains kind of sit off by themselves in Nevada . The drive is long and boring from Reno, Nv to Ruby’s . It is pretty much desert with not many towns of interest in between and then all of a sudden when leaving out of Elko you begin to see them. They just pop up out of the desert and go as high as 11,380 feet.

The ‘Rubies’ were named after the garnets found by early explorers. The central core of the range shows extensive evidence of glaciation during recent ice ages, including U-shaped canyons, moraines, hanging valleys, and steeply carved granite mountains, cliffs, and cirques. All of these features can be seen from 12-mile Lamoille Canyon Road, a National Forest Scenic Byway which traverses Lamoille Canyon,[4] entering the range near the town of Lamoille

 

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My friend Melody and I camped for 3 nights at Thomas creek campground. One of the only campgrounds there. If you go on a weekend, reservations are highly recommended.

The first day was spent setting up camp and cooling off in this nice little swimming hole right in our campground. Beautiful sunsets each day !!

Second day we did about a 8 mile hike up to Liberty pass , passing Lammoille lake, and then looking down on Liberty lake from the pass. 2000 foot elevation gain so a pretty good work out.

The next day I went up a canyon right out of the campground  just for seeing the magnificent wildflowers. My knee was hurting and Melody had a huge blister so we didn’t do a big hike. I went 2- 4 miles round. trip . Wildflowers were amazing !!! And cooling off in the swimming hole for the afternoon was nice . It was pretty hot and muggy when we where there. A super nice wildflower display was going on and it is hard to see from the photos how great they really are. But, here are some glimpses of it all.

There a couple other hikes to do here but this is all we had time for.

Beautiful spot to see . There are also Bighorn sheep in this area if you are lucky to spot them.