August 20: (Hike here, on my Utah RV trip)
"It" is the Cryptobiotic soil, a knobby black living crust. In the deserts of the Colorado Plateau this crust is mostly Cyanobacteria (previously called blue-green algae), along with soil lichens, mosses, green algae, microfungi and bacteria.
(I love learning about this stuff... as you can see, I even had Jose take a picture of me and the Cryptobiotic crust!)
These crusts are extremely critical to the ecosystem. They keep the sandy soil in place and help to slow erosion. The Cyanobacteria are able to convert atmospheric nitrogen to a form plants can use. The crust also can intercept and store water to help support vegetation.
The National Park Service encourages visitors to stay on trails so that the crust is not destroyed. It takes a long time for this stuff to develop. Impacted areas may never fully recover. Best case is that a thin veneer of cryptobiotic soil may return in five to seven years. Damage done to the sheath material and soil nutrients is repaired slowly during up to 50 years of cyanobacterial growth. Lichens and mosses may take even longer to recover.
While we were hiking on our RV trip, we read about the cryptobiotic soil crusts. We also heard about it from Robert, the ranger who led our hike through the Fiery Furnace. He mentioned that in the early stages of growth, you might not even be able to see that the crust has started to develop - so all the more reason to stay on the trails!
August 14: (from Hike, reporting on my Utah RV trip)
While we are out hiking on my Utah RV trip, I'm learning some of the plant names.
Here I am in Arches National Park - with some Mormon Tea. There are a number of species of Mormon Tea (Ephedra genus) growing in the southwestern deserts of the U.S. It has been used for all sorts of medicinal purposes over the years.
The Indians prepared Ephedra as a tea for stomach and bowel disorders, for colds, fever, and headache. Dried and powdered twigs were used in poultices for burns and ointments for sores.
Apparently a Chinese relative of the plant is considered the original source of the ephedrine alkaloid in the herb - which has been important in treating respiratory ailments.
In any case, there is a lot of it growing in the desert, where it also helps minimize erosion impacts. Makes for a nice picture too, huh?
August 7: (from Hike, on my Utah RV trip)
The first destination on my Utah RV trip with Jose and Jill is in Moab, Utah. Since I arrived, we have been taking a hike everyday in Arches National Park. We get an early start when the morning temperatures are comfortable. Jose and Jill like the same type and distance of hikes as I do. And they seem to be keeping up okay.
There are over 2000 arches in the park, but they aren't all named or accessible to park visitors. We have seen most of the named arches: Landscape, Double-O, Partition, Navajo, Skyline, Broken, Sand Dune, Pine Tree, Tunnel, Turret, Tower, Private, Surprise and I am probably forgetting some arch.
And we have also seen some of the other interesting rock formations - Balanced Rock, Park Avenue, Sheep Rock, the 3 Gossips, Fiery Furnace, Courthouse Towers and the Windows are some of the main ones.
We took another hile in Arches National Park to see the popular Delicate Arch. And while we are here in Moab, we are also going to visit Canyonlands National Park.
So stay tuned.
August 4: (from Jill, on our Utah RV trip)
Hiker Happy arrived today in Moab, Utah -- the first stop in his Utah RV trip with us here at Your RV Lifestyle. We met up with him at the office at the O.K. RV Park, where we are staying. We have been looking forward to his company and he seems to be a very friendly house guest.
"Hike", as we like to call him, came prepared for the Utah RV trip with his backpack, hat, hiking boots, camera, pocket knife and passport. If you haven't been introduced to Hiker Happy, you can learn more about him and how he started his Utah RV trip here.
Hike and Jose got right down to things, planning our hikes in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. While they were busy at work, I caught up on household and business matters.
We had just spent a week boondocking. So there were the usual household chores and laundry to do. After all, by the looks of the planning efforts going on, I was going to need clean hiking clothes.
After being in tune with nature for the past week, we were glad to have a cell phone signal again. And always appreciated, the free WiFi internet at this Moab, Utah Happy Camper campground gave me the chance to get caught up with email and get out the latest edition of RV Days.
July 25: (from Hiker Happy, on my Utah RV trip)
One of the first rules of hiking is to be prepared.
And for me, right now that means getting ready for my trip to Utah to travel with Jose and Jill of Your RV Lifestyle.
They live fulltime in a Class A RV. We'll be doing some hiking when I arrive around August 4th. Should be cool - my first time staying in a motorhome and first time in Utah.
So here's my "to do" list: Preparations for travel to Utah to meet Jose' and Jill: Arrange for travel via UPS/FedEx, pack a toothbrush, shaving kit, hair brush, 4 pair of socks and underwear, 4 tee shirts, 1 long sleeve shirt, 2 belts, 1 pair of jeans, 3 pair of shorts, I pair of sneakers, 1 pair of hiking boots, hat, jacket, camera, meds, reading glasses, favorite collection of 50' and 60's music transferred to my IPod, paperback book and snacks for the trip to Utah. All this goes into my backpack. Say goodbye to Happy Camper staff.
That should about do it. Can't wait to get started on this RV journey.