Utah, land of amazing scenery and horrible luck

first day in Utah, and already full of awesome

Utah has not been kind to Team Adventure.  In the first week here I broke my tooth, my camera died, and Anna started limping.  While the amazing scenery definitely helped soften those blows, it’s still been a rough state.

We took today off (a frustratingly common occurrence here in Utah) due to it being too cold to walk.

snow comes to Utah

It’s a frustrating decision, but it was the right one to make.  Sometimes it’s hard to think safety first, because I just want to go go go.  We are so close to the end, yet so far away, and these days off and delays just keep piling up here in Utah.

We’re planning on heading out tomorrow and hoping to be in Las Vegas in about ten days.  If we can just get over this last mountain range and to a lower elevation in Nevada it’ll be fine, but it’s getting to that area that’s proving difficult.

As for Anna,

Anna, chilling in the shade and keeping an eye on the desert in Utah

She’s doing alright.  She’s had a chunk of downtime to give her paws a break, and it’s definitely helped.  She’s not 100%, but she’s also not limping.

In addition to her new shoes Anna is now only walking half days.  Around noon or early afternoon Jon, our car support driver, meets us for lunch and planning for the rest of the day. When Jon heads out after our noon break, Anna goes with him.  It was kind of sad to be walking without Anna for the first time on this trip, but it’s one of those tough safety first decisions.

Not that it was tough for Anna to get in the car. She hopped right up, and I’m pretty sure enjoyed herself immensely.  Which is good, since this will probably be her schedule for awhile yet.

So yeah, Utah is amazing, but I’m ready to move on.


You can’t take the sky from me; Anna’s feet cont’d

Anna’s sad paw.

Bad news everybody, Anna is out of the game for awhile.

We started out from Hanksville Monday morning with high spirits. The dogs were energetic, the clouds were heavy in the sky (meaning blocking the hot desert sun), and all was good.

About five or six miles down the road we decided to break for lunch. We had gotten a bit of a late start, heading out around 9-ish, so lunchtime came pretty fast.  The dogs were happy, the sun was still blocked by clouds, and we had plenty of water. All was still good.

Couple more miles down the road and the clouds disappeared. The afternoon sun was at full blast and Anna decided she had had enough. We passed a car that was pulled over, I assume to admire the views, and as we walked by Anna dashed under the car and into the shade.  After some coaxing I got her out and moving again, but I knew from our midwest heatwave days that that was a sure sign she was heading for overheating.

A little ways up the road I pulled over and informed Ralph that Anna needed a break. She couldn’t take the sun. We pulled over, set up our breaktime shade stations, I took off Anna’s boots, and we sat down to have a rest.

After about an hour or so, after soaking Anna with a wet bandana and giving her plenty of water in the shade, we got up to get going. Only Anna wasn’t moving.  She just planted her feet and refused to budge.  Ralph, who has a much bigger cart than I do, stepped in to rescue Anna, picking her up and placing her atop his cart.

Anna rode this way for awhile until she jumped off. Figuring this meant she was good to go, I put the boots back on her front paws – the more severely damaged of the four – and got to walking. We made it only a little farther down the road before Anna started limping…..on both front paws.  She’s been limping off and on on her front right, but now she started the left too. Super bad sign.

After climbing a rather large and shoulderless hill, back onto the cart Anna went.  She stayed there until we stumbled upon an oasis where we stopped in for a drink, only to find out they had a motel room for a fine price.

So now here we are, at the Luna Mesa Oasis restaurant/motel/campground.

Home for a bit.

Yesterday I ran into town (an hour away) to help the daughter of the owner run some errands, then when we got back I helped her feed the horses. It was a busy day, but the end result is a new friend and a ride into Loa on Thursday.

The plan, as of now, is to get to Loa and try to walk to Koosharem. We have car support coming, who was originally going to meet us in Cedar City, but now hopefully in Koosharem. That way Anna can ride in the car support, and the rest of Team Adventure can continue on the journey west.  It’ll be very sad not to be walking with Anna, but safety and health first.  Hopefully after a week or so of riding and resting she can come back to walking the road with me.  Time will tell.

But one thing is for sure, we’re not giving up.  Bears, heat waves, hail storms, allergies, flat tires, high mountains, dry desert, injuries….nothing will stop us from reaching our goal.  We will continue on until we run out of land and hit that ocean.

take my love
take my land
take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care
I’m still free
you can’t take the sky from me

burn the land
and boil the sea
you can’t take the sky from me

Anna’s feet

If you’ve been following the Twitter and Facebook updates you’ll know about Anna’s paw troubles. For those not following the Facebook/Twitter updates….you really should start doing that. I update those way more than this blog. But basically, Anna’s paws are pretty torn up and we’ve taken the past three days off to let her recover a bit.

In addition to rest, Anna is now the proud owner of a new pair of dog shoes to help protect her feet across the rest of the desert.

I know some people think getting shoes for dogs is a bit ridiculous, as dogs are pretty much built for walking all day and covering long distances. However, while dogs are meant to walk all day and cover a lot of ground, they’re not meant to walk twelve hours a day on hot pavement.  I was hoping that Anna would be okay, and throughout the entire walk I’ve kept a really close eye on her paws to make sure, but the Rockies followed by the desert – or maybe just walking from Maryland to Utah – turned out to be too much. So shoes it is!

At first Anna was a little unsure, but after a couple of short walks over the past three days of rest she’s gotten pretty used to ’em.