Day 2 I woke up to camp coffee being delivered to me in our tent ☕️ Matt is a very early riser and understands that sometimes I have to be bribed to get outa bed! There’s something about camp coffee made French Press style in the outdoors – that first cup of camp coffee perked me right up! Leah soon woke up to her cup of hot cocoa and we set out to make our first camp breakfast! Here’s where I learned my first camp trailer battery powered refrigerator mistake 🙉. When packing food for our trip, I used the same method I’ve always used when packing an ice chest – I loaded the refrigerator with frozen meats for the week, intending to thaw each night’s dinner to keep all our food fresh and last at least a week. Big mistake! The frozen meats coupled with temp of the Whynter 65 quart refrigerator froze every darn thing I packed, including breakfast meats and the eggs 🍳 I can laugh about it now, but our first camp breakfast of the trip was not what I’d hoped! On the bright side, that was the one and only time we pulled out the camp stove for the entire trip. All other meals at camp were cooked over a legit campfire 🔥
After a sad camp breakfast, we began the task of packing up camp to head further into Utah. It took us a good hour to get everything packed and put away that first day. Thankfully we got our act together and became more efficient as we set up and tore down camp quite a few more times during our trip.
First stop after getting on the road was Walmart to to replenish the frozen eggs and grab some camp beer! A good friend had advised me to buy beer before we got to Utah as Utah has some pretty strict alcohol restrictions. I did keep that in mind and bought beer before the trip, but let’s just say it was not enough to get us through 🍺. So, we’re in Walmart and I’m taking a look at the beer selection when I ran across this gem. We figured when in Rome!! We laughed and grabbed our 4% alcohol content beer, thinking that obviously not all the folks in Utah take themselves too seriously! Turns out, the beer wasn’t half bad! I would advise any serious beer drinkers to plan ahead and pack some beer if you plan on visiting Utah.
With our beer chilling on ice in our soft sided cooler, we set out towards Zion National Park. Zion was absolutely beautiful! The scenic drive is a pretty steep incline, looking over the red rock canyons and trees. It was hard to capture the beauty in the photos from the car as we drove along with the windows rolled down and the wind on our faces.
After enjoying the views at Zion, we headed towards Capitol Reef National Park to find a camp spot. Day #2 was all about camping off-road and boy did we find the perfect spot! The spot was located on the Hartnet River Ford Road on BLM land. You can find plenty of BLM land and camp for free by visiting https://freecampsites.net/. Matt had done some research about the area and knew we’d have to do a little off-roading to find a good spot. We put the truck in 4Wheel drive and started exploring the area. We can across a very narrow sandy road and zipped right in the most amazing spot right next to the water. When we got out of the truck, it was hot, sandy and a little buggy but so pretty! We unpacked while Leah splashed around in the river. Mid set-up, we had to pull out the bug spray to fend off some pesky little biting bugs. Thank goodness for our foresight to bring tiki torches and citronella.
After setup, we hiked up the river looking for a spot deep enough to swim. By that point of the trip I was feeling pretty bad about the swimming I had promised Leah. We hiked up and down the river without swimming hole sucesss. Eventually we just plopped down in the water to cool off and I taught Leah how to skip rocks. The area was so beautiful and sticks out as one of my favorite camp spots on the trip.
As the sun went down that evening, we lit our campfire, listened to some tunes and cooked up some carne asada. Leah contributed to the meal by coming up with rice stuffed bell peppers 🌶. Matt and I enjoyed some Utah brews and of course roasted marshmallows. There’s was quite a bit of talk about the perfect roasted marshmallow on this trip. I prefer mine quite toasted and I let it catch fire just a bit on each side while Matt and Leah prefer theirs less flamed. Either way a good roasted marshmallow and s’mores is always the best way to end a beautiful off-road camp day.
Day 2 was definitely a success and started to feel like the vacation we’d been waiting so long for. Obviously I can’t make changes to nature but if there’s anything I’d change about this spot, I’d leave out the bugs! We all were nibbled on quite a bit.
Speaking of nature, once we had everything unloaded and setup, Matt took a look around and mentioned flash flooding. Now I don’t know about any of you, but as I was standing in hot river sand wishing for more water in the river, the last thing crossing my mind was the possibility of a flash flood in the desert. It took some convincing but I finally relented that it was possible and we came up with a plan of how to get the heck outa there should we hear the distinct rumble of a flash flood wave coming our way! 🌊 we decided Leah would spend her first night sleeping up top with us rather than on her mattress in the attached annex below. I was pleasantly surprised that the 3 of us had plenty of space to spread out and we drifted off to sleep with all the tent windows open for air on that very warm night.