Travel: Camping in the Big South Fork

I’ve traveled a lot this summer, and now here’s yet another post about traveling. (You love them, I know you do.)

Utah was….awesome. Amazing. And exhausting.

I was gone for a week. I missed Jimmie, I missed the puppies, and I just missed sitting around. Plus, being in all that outdoorsy wonderland made me crave it something fierce….so about 4 days into the Utah trip, I texted Jimmie and asked if we could go camping when I got back.

Obviously, he said yes.

We decided to try somewhere new this time, so we headed up to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area with Luka in tow.

Big South ForkThere was an 80% chance of rain the entire weekend. We went anyway.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it, but it turns out that the road to Big South Fork is the same road that just so happens to host the World’s Longest Yard Sale. Which happened to be the same weekend we were camping. Jimmie was driving, I was begging to stop, and Luka was balancing on pillows in the backseat. We didn’t stop. I cried. (Not really – but I do have plans to hit it up next year. The stuff we saw looked amazing. Traffic…not so much.)

After a much longer drive than necessary, we made it to Bandy Creek Campground.

Bandy Creek Campground (2)In case you’re ever in the area, the road to get to Bandy Creek is insane. We’d borrowed a truck, and it was still killer. Hairpin turns…thankfully it’s short, but holy batman.

Road to Bandy CreekBecause pictures don’t quite do it justice, I made a video.

I’d read reviews beforehand saying there wasn’t any need to make a reservation, so we took our chances. Sure enough, the campground was wide open. We checked in at the little visitor stand (which was staffed!!!), then picked out a site close to the bath house – my requirement – and set up our little home away from home. Of the 90-something campsites available at Bandy Creek, I’d guess maybe 15 of them were occupied. It was so quiet I actually got freaked out at night. It was wonderful.

Campfire 2

Gorgeous moon

Gorgeous moon

We managed to find a site with two trees close enough together for our brand new ENO hammock….which is the most amazing thing ever. If you don’t own one, you should. Go buy one, now. I read in this for hours….and even took a few naps. Heaven. (Even if it was a crappy book.)

HammockSaturday we decided to hike the Angel Falls trail, and Luka got to try out his new backpack that I scored for $3 in Utah. He hated it.

Luka's BackpackActually, Luka hated hiking. Don’t let this picture fool you – we thought a healthy, 6 year old German Shepherd would have no problem doing an easy (flat) 4 mile hike. Wrong. The big baby had a nervous breakdown less than a mile in. Looked like he was overheating, so we gave him all our water, made him lie down, and then eventually started back towards the car. And wouldn’t you know….as soon as Jimmie said the words, “C’mon, Luk, let’s go HOME…” that damn dog started prancing around excitedly. Faker.

Angel Falls

Awesome stump, right?

Awesome stump, right?

After the failed Angel Falls hike we drove around a little checking out the area. It’s beautiful, and so peaceful. And there was practically nobody there. We made our way to the Twin Arches trail, and figured we’d hike some of it…the visitor’s center lady had told me about the trail, and about the ladder steps you had to climb. She actually asked me…”does puppy climb ladders?” Um, no. No, puppy does not. Puppy is a wuss.

We didn’t make it to the ladders, because Jimmie heard a noise and thankfully shoved Luka at me before investigating. Turned out there was a bear around the bend. We hightailed it back to the car, not wanting to witness Luka vs. Bear. (My money would totally have been on the bear…)

Twin Arches


I just liked this picture.

The rest of the trip we just lazed around the campsite. We read, we played games, we talked. We enjoyed being unplugged. It only rained twice, and though it was hard rain, it didn’t last long. It was just the break I needed.

Luka chilling under the picnic table...hiding from the rain.

Luka chilling under the picnic table…hiding from the rain.

We didn’t get too wild and crazy with the food…quesadillas and hot dogs for dinner, and leftovers for lunch. Muffins for breakfast. I didn’t even take stuff for s’mores, but honestly, I didn’t miss them. Probably the most exciting part was my wine.

FisheyeBandy Creek is awesome, and we’ll definitely go back. The staff in the visitor’s center were so incredibly helpful….they talked to me for almost an hour about things to do in the park. They even have evening programs and guided hikes (we didn’t make them, but still cool that they do that stuff). Every building in the park is dog-friendly. And, the bath houses have sinks for washing your dishes. Much nicer (and safer) than trying to wash them at a campsite. Most of the sites were fairly spaced out, and there was a good selection of shaded and sunny sites.

Next time, though, we’re taking Lucy. I know she’ll wear the backpack.