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The Continuing Saga of "How (Not) To Travel in the Backcountry," Issue II

If you read Part I of this Saga, you know what can happen (and does, with annoying frequency in our lives) if you tend to make sudden decisions about which road to take while traveling in the boonies (and we’re not talking the high road or the low road – we’re usually talking ones that exist on maps and ones that don’t).

I thought today’s blog should be about the unfortunate repercussions of traveling with friends and family, when not everyone has the same concept of destination.

The blog is based on a VERY true story about a wonderful weekend trip with our son and his family. Due to the usual scheduling issues with two full-time working couples and young children, we weren’t all able to set off on our adventure at the same time.

Mistake #1: allowing two men to give/take directions of where to meet up.

Mistake #2: see #1 (because this was twice as much of a pain as it should have been).

It seems the instructions were something like: “Remember that place we went on the La Sals all the time?” And, of course, the answer was, “Sure!”

And that was the extent of directions.

Problem #1: We spent a lot of time in the La Sals over the years, and we’ve camped more than once at multiple sites, but never just one place all the time.

Problem #2: The wives of said men did not consult with each other to see if we were all on the same page. Note: one of these couples had spent 6 extra hours on a previous meet-up trip due to trying to follow GPS coordinates and verbal directions lacking in specifics (NOT the same couple as in Part I of this Saga, in case you thought so - we’re not idiots ALL the time). It does seem this family shares some spectacularly bad travel traits.

Result: One couple was camped at a great site on one side of the mountain, the other couple camped at the opposite side of the mountain in an equally nice site, with about 20 miles of gravel road between said camps.

Lesson #1: Be specific. As in, “Remember that place we went on the LaSals up from John Brown that had the great big Ponderosa in the middle but no other trees for miles?” or “Remember that place we went on the LaSals just out of Old La Sal that had a stream next to it that someone dumped the Elk hide in and it stunk so bad?” (Now, just to clarify, the hide was long gone by this time, or at least we assumed so and were lucky enough to be right).

Lesson #2: Multiple parties who will be participating in these trips need to cross-check instructions which may, or may not, have been received by other parties in the trip.

Lesson #3: Maps are a good idea. Perhaps a photo would be helpful. Mileage from point A to point B could even be considered.

Or not. Because no matter how many Lessons we’re given, most of them don’t really seem to take.

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