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Old 10-25-2015, 10:04 PM   #1
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Dead Horse Point campground in December ?

Greetings,

I would like to visit Canyonlands UTAH this winter. I booked the Dead horse point campground for 5 nights December 9-14. Daytime highs in 30' to 40's, lows 15-20. I told my wife if we are prepared with layers etc. -- we should be able to still enjoy the solitude and scenery that accompanies winter. Does anyone out there have direct experience visiting this area under similar conditions ?

Thanks for any advice.

2012 Classic 30 foot.
Marc
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Old 10-25-2015, 11:03 PM   #2
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I have been to Dead Horse State Park in February, but not December. The sites have electric hook ups, so I took a small space heater to take the edge off the cold. I also ran the trailer furnace a little to keep things from freezing. I had a great time. Even had a little snow.

It is a beautiful place. The point at Dead Horse is a great place to watch a storm roll in across the red cliffs.

Stan
Salt Lake City
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Old 10-25-2015, 11:42 PM   #3
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I was there once in March and in a snow storm. It was very cozy sitting in the trailer looking out at the snow.

At the time I was there the electrical outlets were under the picnic tables and the weight of the cord could easily make the plug fall out. 20 amp circuits too. So, bring a couple of bungie cords to hold the cord in place if the same system is still in use.
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Old 10-26-2015, 12:06 AM   #4
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All campsites now have 20, 30 and 50 amp connections on a post by the parking pad.

Campground Details - Dead Horse Point State Park, UT - ReserveAmerica

Stan
Salt Lake City
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Old 10-26-2015, 12:12 AM   #5
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We've camped there a few times, as well as at the nearby Horse Thief overflow BLM campground-- though not in winter. This is a very beautiful place, yet convenient to Moab.

My questions have mostly to do with the temperatures and your route to get there. We have a friend in Moab, who said that usually their winters are comparatively mild-- except for a couple of years ago when it got so cold that everyone's pipes froze in town. You'll be up a lot higher in elevation than Moab.

If it were me, I'd probably want to winterize the trailer before heading out. The daytime highs you list are probably averages, not the amplitude of temperatures that occur in this area.

Winterizing isn't a great camping solution, but you can get by with lots of water bottles, and doing a manual flush with the toilet. Put some kind of mild antifreeze like windshield washer fluid down your waste water tanks. An electric space heater is great when temps are above freezing, but it won't heat the pipes or tanks under the floor boards the way the furnace will. Using the furnace a lot will burn up a lot of propane, so it's best to start with your tanks topped up.

Also if you have to drive during freezing temperatures if you're not winterized, you'd want to think about driving with your furnace left on.

The other question is about winter driving to get there and back while towing a trailer. The Moab area doesn't get a lot of ice and snow but it does get some, and then presumably you'll be driving over some high elevations to and from the park. Hopefully you've had experience in serious winter driving conditions. I don't know if your route will take you across that 105-mile stretch of I-70 with no services, but we did it once in March and found ourselves in blizzard white-out conditions.

For sure, have a great and memorable trip, just stay safe, eh?
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Old 10-26-2015, 12:20 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the suggestions, I will remain flexible and check the forecast and road conditions when it gets closer--

marc
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Old 10-26-2015, 02:26 AM   #7
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robovet - you're also prepared for generic wintertime camping rules as well, right? Or is this a discovery not only of the camp area, but also the winter camping experience?
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Old 10-26-2015, 07:58 AM   #8
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I guess I need to learn the winter camping rules--- where do i find them ?
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Old 10-26-2015, 09:16 AM   #9
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*heh*

Jump into the Winter Living sub-forum (peer to this sub-forum) and get reading. Mostly it's centered around utilities and moisture management.

Fairly straight forward stuff. A few of the items I live by when I winter camp:

o If you want to use your utilities (water, toilet, shower), make sure you run your furnace to keep the tanks warm (frozen tanks = "bad".) The heat pump (even on ducted airstreams) wont work for this task - it must be the furnace. Else if you are going to use campground restrooms, water source, etc., a space heater may work.
o If you want to use your utilities (water,) its best not to use a spigot hose to city water inlet (even heated hoses as the join points can freeze,) but rather to manually fill your fresh tank daily and use the internal water pump for pressure.
o A Home Depot 5# bucket with a spliced open pool noodle on the edge, filled with kitty litter is a good temporary use commode if your black tanks are either frozen or not-for-use. keep the cover on when not in use. One day I'll buy a composting toilet and all this will be behind me..... (i think....)

re interior moisture -- showers, your own breathing and propane stove flames produce moisture. I am not sure the "warning levels" but when I start to see ice building up on the interior of my windows, I feel I am not ventilating enough to keep moisture down (moisture = mold/mildew = "bad")

o If you want to use your shower, get a squeegee to immediately wipe down the walls to help lower interior moisture (and take "navy" showers with as little water as possible.)
o stove burner flames produce A LOT of moisture. Consider prep-ahead cold meals to limit use.
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Old 10-26-2015, 10:43 PM   #10
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Wow I'm glad you set me straight. I'll take your advice, read up. I don't think I'll have problems keeping the furnace going since I'll arrive with full propane (80 pounds). Staying 4-5 days so I'm sure that will last. Thanks again--
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Old 10-26-2015, 11:46 PM   #11
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robovet,

Keep in mind it is pretty dry out here in the Utah desert. Even in the winter. You will need to watch for moisture, especially if there is a storm. But it's not like winter weather and rain on the coast. I find I get pretty good control by keeping the Fantastic fan open just a bit, and even turning on the fan once in a while if it starts to get damp. You will be plugged in, so power will not be a problem.

Be careful on the roads, watch the weather and temps. and have a great time!

Stan
Salt Lake City
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Old 10-27-2015, 12:08 AM   #12
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Winter camping can be great, but Ian's "rules" list is a good one.

Moisture management is huge, even if it's not snowing or raining, because once the windows and vents are closed to keep out the cold, condensation on the inner walls from your breath, let alone boiling water, wet towels or snowy jackets, can be a problem. The most obvious solution is just to leave the vents open a bit, and keep the furnace or space heater running; and leave anything really wet in the tow vehicle. We're normally content to sleep with cooler temps and a second comforter on the bed, but this doesn't do much to evaporate the condensation.

Ian, your toilet alternative with the pool noodle seat looks ingenious. Our alternative is to get a double layer of new (not old, pin-holed) trash bags opened up in the toilet bowl and over the rim. Add a few scoops of garden-store peat moss to the bowl, and then replenish after a couple of uses. Baking soda could be sprinkled over to minimize the odour. When one's comfort level is surpassed, simply tie up the bags and discretely deposit in the campsite dumpster. Peat moss is really light and absorbent.

For clothing, we'd take some winter pac boots, heavy socks, jackets, hat, mitts. Longies or windpants may come in handy, too.

Just one other point about winter camping, robovet, is that it does get dark awfully early and stays dark in the early morning. How will you pass the time?

Dead Horse point should be a great location for star-gazing (bundle-up!) but it probably won't have Wi-Fi: I'm not sure what TV or cell phone service is available up there. Possibly Verizon, but maybe the Utah folks can comment on that. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, &c are pretty worthless in most of the rural West, although Moab will have service available. We're pretty low-tech, and tend to rely on books, DVDs, and the odd game for our evening entertainment.

We hope you have a super trip-- and at that time of year, you should avoid the crowds.
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Old 10-27-2015, 12:49 AM   #13
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I remember a tiny bit of Verizon service on my MIFI, and a signal on my ATT phone in the right location in the park. I would not plan on "good" service from any of the providers. You can get full bars in Moab, about 30-45 minutes from Dead Horse State Park.

Stan
Salt Lake City
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len n Jeanne View Post
Ian, your toilet alternative with the pool noodle seat looks ingenious. Our alternative is to get a double layer of new (not old, pin-holed) trash bags opened up in the toilet bowl and over the rim. Add a few scoops of garden-store peat moss to the bowl, and then replenish after a couple of uses. Baking soda could be sprinkled over to minimize the odour. When one's comfort level is surpassed, simply tie up the bags and discretely deposit in the campsite dumpster. Peat moss is really light and absorbent.
Len'n'Jeanne --

The toilet alternative is not my idea - but it works. It's a combo of (the kitty litter part) a reccommendation on emergency toilets from Paula (aka Foiled Again here in the forums) and the other is a video from a FANTASTIC "guerilla DIY'er" channel on youtube (seriously, check the vid out and then check out some of his other items, such as the backyard planter that doubles as the metal foundry!):

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