|Car camping in the Valley of the Gods, Utah.|
|Watching the sunset near our campsite in the Valley of the Gods.|
|Walking to a hammock hang site a short ways from the car. Photo by Jan.|
|Our campsite in the Valley of the Gods was totally peaceful.|
|Jan brought her stove and made hot cocoa every evening. Quite a luxury for me cause I usually am stoveless.|
I wasn't too familiar with dispersed camping since I normally just go backpacking. Here are some tips I learned:
- Find out where to camp on BLM land from the visitor’s center in Blanding or Bluff, the BLM offices, and in hiking books.
- Drive around dirt forest service roads and look for sites where others have previously camped. There were plenty of such places along Comb Wash, Butler Wash, and in the Valley of the Gods.
- Never camp near water sources. Wildlife (and backpackers) depend on scarce water, so it’s critical not to contaminate it.
- Several parking areas had “no camping signs.” Follow these regulations, and also never camp near archeological sites.
- Camp only in already established campsites. Protect the fragile cryptogamic soils by staying on already trampled and compacted areas.
- Follow LNT principles and leave your campsite pristine for the next people- pack out all trash including toilet paper and banana peels/ apple cores, dig catholes away from camp, follow all campfire restrictions, and use a stove for cooking.
- Permits were required for some areas. The ranger station was closed in the off-season (Nov.- late Feb.) so self-registration stations were available and permits were also available at the BLM office in Monticello.
|Watching the shadows creep across the vast landscapes.|
Choosing a warm campsite that is out of the wind is key for staying warm in a hammock. Pay careful attention to site selection:
- Cottonwoods are plentiful in washes but are often more breezy. I avoid these areas in winter because the cold air sinks to the bottom of washes. Try to find juniper/ pinyon pine forest because they tend to be more sheltered from wind and sites mid-way up hillsides tend to be warmest.
- Try to find trees where you won’t have to break branches to make room for your hammock. Avoid cutting tree branches because it could damage the trees or create an “unnatural” feel for future campers.
- Junipers tend to have lots of low branches so I carry rope (bear bag rope) to gently tie back tree branches if I can’t find a site that is big enough to squeeze my hammock into.
|Using rope to tie back a branch so I could tuck into this gorgeous site in Valley of the Gods.|
|We're having a great time out here!|