Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Ponderosa (minus the Cartwrights)

We just got back from a trip to the Mt. Nebo Wilderness Area, near Nephi, Utah and about 90 miles south of Salt Lake City. We had driven through the area on a trip back from southern Utah a few years ago and were delighted to bump into “Hell’s Kitchen,” an area that looks a lot like Bryce. It was a “how the heck ---or hell, I guess--did this southern-Utah-looking-place get in central Utah?”

One view of Hell's Kitchen.

This time we stayed at the Ponderosa Campground, just a mile off the Mt. Nebo Scenic Loop. I loved the campgrounds – most sites are along the Salt Creek, the area is very wooded, it's well cared for, and part of it has huge Ponderosa pine trees. The trees were planted in 1914, and the campground itself was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. A couple we met hiking told us that the road to the Campground (Bear Canyon Road) and the campground itself was improved just last year with money from the government stimulus package.

Jim was not as enthralled with the campground because he thought many of the campsites were too close together. The first night we were there, people were on both sides of us. In fact, when we backed in, a Shih Tzu ran up to me as Jim was backing up the rig.  I picked it up so it would't get hit and it's owner said  “not much privacy between us.” And there wasn't -- their picnic table and ours were within clear view of each other.  Actually, those sites ( #12 and #13) would have been great for two groups of friends.  But both the Shih Tsu folks and the couple on the other side only stayed one night, so it was very private Saturday afternoon until we left about noon on Sunday.  The huge pines, the deciduous trees, and that creek right next to us were great. We checked out the other campsites and I think site 10 is the best. Sites 6 and 11 (although 11 is near the road leading to the campground and might be a bit noisy) were pretty private, too.

                          Our campsite.  A picnic table and fire pit are behind the picture-taker (Bev).  
                          To the right is a tent space.

                       View out the back of our Lazy Daze.  The Salt Creek is on the other side of the fence.

Campground entrance.

Saturday we walked up the road to Bear Canyon campground, which has single tent sites plus some group sites. Very well cared for.  Very pretty. There was a nice looking trail there – Bear Canyon Trail – but we were on track to do six mile without doing the trail, so we passed. Maybe next time. I think you may be able to see Hell’s Kitchen from the trail.

                                                       Trail head to Bear Canyon trail.

                            Jim and Cooper on their way back from Bear Canyon Campground,

Sunday we walked up the road in the other direction and found a trailhead to two trails in an area called Mahogany Hill Foots Canyon and Rees Flats. We don’t know anything about them, but I’d like to find out and maybe go up again this fall.

              View on our way back to the campgrounds, after checking out the Mahogany Hill trail heads.

We also spoke with the camp host. I asked him he liked being the camp host and he said this was only his fourth day but he loved it so far. Besides a free campsite with water and electric hook up, he’s paid minimum wage for 25 hours a week. His duties were to clean the restrooms, check on guests, make sure people pay, put guests names on campsite placards, pick up trash, and help folks. Sounded nice to me.