By Bright Hawk & Hollis Taylor
Living on the road has many lessons, often it’s about the story we choose to engage in. We often find ourselves on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land where we can stay for a week or two, completely free, although you need to be prepared as there is no water, no electricity, and so on. You need to be prepared for primitive camping and sometimes known as boondocking. We love this kind of camping, it’s quiet and often is surrounded by our favorite views – nature! We love to have the option of hiking, camping, and hopefully a great place to capture some photos or videos. We find ourselves having to put our heads into our work and take care of everything from personal business to scheduling LetsDanceActivities.org, and managing our business growth. Recently we are making big changes and focusing deeply on what we want to see grow. Making a business work takes a lot of work and in our 3rd year in our van and 5yrs on tour we are making some adjustments to things. As we follow our deeper calling to expand what we bring to the world we find ourselves looking for more places that have a connection to the internet, great hikes, and boondocking for free.
After wrapping up our Summer/Fall Tour 2019 we took a break to Zion National Park. We are working on video projects and always need more footage. We loved hiking in Zion National Park and since we had a little time we would love to stay in the area, get some much-needed work done, and then go visit the park again on our rest days. We find some great free campsites but most of them have intermittent or no internet connection. Also, it’s easier if we can just spread out, open the mobile office and get our work done than to travel every day to a library to get it done. We look closer to St. George, Utah where we can shop at reasonable prices and just 45mins away from Zion National Park. We find and inquire about Hurricane Cliffs, we find reviews that show other people had a signal from many providers and we punch it into our navigation. We are ready for a few days of boondocking and are filled up with water, food, and a solar panel to strap to our windshield.
We find the first road of free campsites and travel down a bumpy road, prepared to find the best campsite possible with internet signal so we can work online. The sign says there are 6 campsites down this road. As we travel the road we see that some campsites are simply too narrow for us and better for a car/tent type camper. A larger site shows up on the right but it’s full, yet right across is another campsite, plenty big for us, and completely empty. We quickly take the campsite as its sunset and all us boondockers are looking for campsites at ‘first come – first serve – free’ campsites. You can imagine that Thursday through Sunday this place can fill up fast, we are grateful to land on a Wednesday and have enough water to get us through till Sunday. Those few days we enjoy the space yet yearn for those campsites further apart, offering more privacy, and neither of us cares to hear people practicing with their guns. We are grateful to have a free, good, and mostly private campsite with an internet connection. Sunday arrives and we roll the dice by leaving, yet we trust, at this point, we need more water.
When we arrive back at the free campsite area after running errands & getting more water our original campsite is taken and neighbors have shifted. The site we had been in now had someone else and the energy no longer felt attractive, like it had for the previous days. We carry on deeper down the road we had walked on prior days and hoped to take the big site at the bottom of the hill. As we proceed slowly to the end of the road through very rough spots, we are grateful for the clearance of our Ford Transit Van. We notice a Sprinter Style van behind us coming up very fast. Driven by a very worried boondocker at sunset, hoping to get a campsite riding up close to our bumper as we proceed with caution and trust. We take a deep breath and echo Pema Chodron’s advice “The driver in that van is just like me, eager to find a perfect campsite away from the vibes up the hill.” We approach the last two campsites at the end of the campsite road at Hurricane Cliffs, Utah. The campsites have neon yellow signs, looks like a special group reservation has been set and we likely shouldn’t stay here, unless we want to risk a ranger knocking on our door at early morning hours. We decide to let our eager boondocker have his own destiny and we drive back up the road inspecting the narrow campsites again, seeing how things change when new people arrive and others leave.
Back up to where we turned onto this road. There was a spot near this road, a dust bonanza every-time a speeding truck would come by. A truck drives by as we sat and contemplated in quiet. Is there something else we ask? Taking several deep breathes, both staying very calm and listening for our next step. We remember… are there other campsites? With total trust, we carry on down the dirt road towards other potential free campsites on this huge piece of land. The sun is setting fast and boondockers speed around us to get their site first. We stay steady with trust and ease, knowing we are going to be okay. We will find exactly what we need for the next few days of work.
There is a sign for more sites and we take another washboard road to investigate a potential 11 more campsites. These campsites are much further apart from each other, which is encouraging yet there is no way to tell if they are all filled. We pass one, full with a camper and truck – next one is a van and a truck – next one is another RV – Another van. We go on around another corner on this washboard rough road, slowly in our camper van as to not spill over our entire house onto the floor. Driving slowly to preserve the van’s suspension and paying close attention to what is coming up. Around another turn, we see nothing but flat land coming up and we find ourselves looking for the marker for another free campsite. Rising in our view a marker, yes finally! We examine the campsite for mostly flat grounds and deep enough for our van, we back in and in our relief for finding another campsite, we are assured with our full connection. Finally, we found our working office for the next week.
Wait, we not only found a free campsite but we found a BETTER campsite. Now we had less traffic than the week before, everyone was spread out further, we had better internet signal and easy access to hiking trails! Our first day we saw a total of 4 people pass by and some neighbors stay, while others show just enough consistency to feel part of a little village. Each night some neighbors changing. We have deeply enjoyed our hikes in this part of Utah. Hurricane Cliffs holding beautiful views of The Navajo Cliff, Mesas abound on the horizon, and in the distance we can see the tips of the rock formations of Zion National Park. Inspiring our week of hard work we are grateful that when one thing ends often its just making room for something much better to step through!