A kinder, higher Utah.

After driving through the harsh desert of southern Utah and a somewhat disappointing stay outside of Monticello, we were intent on finding a nice place to stay and hike for a few days. 

 With limited connectivity (and pricy data plans even when coverage is available), Robin did much research and we headed to the Uinta Mountains and the Uinta Wasatch Cache National Forest, located about 100km east of Salt Lake City.  

 We once again avoided the interstates as much as possible, taking secondary highways or even small gravel roads to get to our destination. The day’s drive was scenic and included everything from arid desert to thick coniferous forests and mountain lakes. 

 We arrived at Trial Lake campground, elevation ~10,000 feet and were welcomed by fresh mountain air and beautiful forests, making the desert drives of the past couple of days a distant memory. 

   
Our campsite was large and allowed Bruno ample space for playing. Although the campground was almost full, there was no noise and one could enjoy the silence of the mountains and relax. I did say “almost” full…for later in the evening, a group of people arrived at an adjacent campsite. They were a little bit louder than most campers and one couldn’t help but listen in on on their conversations. The son, in particular, was rather loud and reminded me of a male version of Honey Boo Boo (yes, I’ve seen an episode or two). Thankfully, as the entertainment value of their show grew more fatiguing,t hey also fatigued and retired to their tents for the night.

We had chosen this location for its lakes and mountains, and took advantage of this by doing a nice day hike from our lake to another lake and around it. The terrain was varied, from forest trail to rocky shores of the mountain lakes.  

    
 As always Bruno had a great time. He met a couple of new friends along the route, including Odin, a Lab Husky mix (whom Bruno met again later in the evening at the campground and played with until dark) and a 12 week old Kaya, a mystery mix who looked like almost like baby Bruno! Our hike had its downside – at some point, Bruno’s leash had fallen out of my backpack and as we approached our return to the campground we doing bad ourselves unable to leash up Bruno. He was ok with it, but we lamented having to buy yet another leash. We had previously lost a leash in April on a hike in North Carolina – this habit is getting pricey! 

    
 After a couple of enjoyable and relaxing days and nights, we planned out next move on our journey toward Ketchum, Idaho. The drive to the Ketchum area was going to take more than one Clifford day, so we made plans for a quick stay somewhere in southern Idaho. 


   
We left our mountain campsite and descended from the Uinta mountains to Wyoming and then back to Utah for a bit to reach Idaho (taking the roads less travelled is rarely the straightest route). Just before leaving Utah,  we stopped at Bear Lake on the Utah-Idaho border for a quick Bruno swim. 

   
Our initial hours in Idaho offered us more high feet vistas and wicked headwinds for Clifford. We finished our first day in Idaho in Jerome and found refuge at a KOA. Once again, a KOA offered two redeeming features; hot showers and WiFi. Beyond this, it also offers dust, noise from adjacent truck traffic, the smallest dog play area ever and many many rules. Oh well, we enjoyed the showers and the WiFi. 

   
We left the Jerome KOA early (early to us) the next morning and headed north toward Ketchum. We could see the mountains looming ahead, but the smokey haze from western forest fires limited our long distance visibility. According to those who know,we would find something other than high desert and lava rock fields.

Next time – Giddy up!

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