By Dr. David Gross
Part 19: The Fruita Campground
We traveled through yet another red rock canyon. This one the product of wind and the Fremont River, flowing gently in early March but still the color of the sand and silt it is transporting to help clog Lake Powell.
The Fruita Campground is on the site of some old homesteads and features several fruit and nut orchards. Apricot trees, for certain, but I was unable to find out what other kinds of fruit and couldn’t tell from the bare trees. Charlize and I saw many deer during our evening and morning walks, and three unconcerned wild turkeys that Charlize wanted desperately to catch …fat chance.
The fruit trees are protected from the deer by two lines of defense and there are supposed to be elk in the vicinity as well. The trees were well cared for, I presume by Bureau of Land Management personnel. We were visiting too early for the well-publicized explosion of flowering trees, but by all accounts it is a spectacular display. The micro-climate of this is more than red rock canyon; there are also yellows, oranges, purples with moving shadows and blazes of sunlight, all gently watered by the river.
The place attracted Mormon settlers in the 1880s. I am tempted to return to find out where these people came from, how they acquired the fruit trees they planted and what their lives were like. This will be one more addition to my expanding, rather than retracting, bucketlist.
While taking Charlize for her evening constitutional, we met an interesting young couple, Charlize, of course, initiated the contact. The couple work as counselors at a type of boot camp for juvenile offenders. Most of the juvies have drug problems. They told me they are currently working with 67 of these youngsters, teaching them wilderness survival skills as well as how to cope with today’s real problems.
They were preparing their dinner, burritos wrapped in aluminum foil, heating on a grate over a too-large wood fire. The young lady kept moving the three burritos around, presumably to keep them from burning up. They offered me the extra one, but I explained that Charlize and I had already had our dinner.
After his losing his wife of 52 years to cancer, Dr. David Gross has embarked on an extended road trip with his new dog, Charlize, and is writing about his experiences.