Winter Desert Solitaire

Early January cold temps and snow didn't keep us from exploring what there was to offer at Fisher Towers. We stopped at Fisher Towers Campground on our way out to Salt Lake City for Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in 2017. Being a company that makes waxed canvas outdoor and lifestyle gear, we try to avoid hotels and camp whenever we can.

On our way to OR Winter Market, we had the chance to explore caves, the ruins of an ancient suspension bridge along Co.128, and as the light faded, we finally turned off at lonely Fisher Towers Rd. We hoped our rear-wheel drive van would bring us dutifully along the 2.4 miles of snowy gravel road. About a mile in is a steep, washboarded slope. The tires slipped, but the van bounced along, clearing the dashboard of phones and maps. In a few breathless seconds, we were up on flat ground, the obstacle and our lonely tracks behind us.

We pulled into Fisher Towers Campground in twilight, owls calling from the amphitheater of contorted red rock towers. Co. 128 was a distant dark line in the snowy desertscape and, but for the few silent headlights meandering slowly across the horizon, we were alone. We lit our headlamps and set to pitching the Frost River Campfire Tent. We’d brought an End Cover with smoke hole and a wood stove for the cold. We couldn’t collect firewood at the site or in the surrounding plains or deep arroyos, so we had brought a bundle of good, dried, seasoned wood. With the tent up, and the end cover secured, we set up the stove and started carving feather sticks and breaking the big logs down to small bits of kindling, batoning with a handy knife. Soon the tent was cheery and warm, glowing in the desert blue. We cracked our Bent Paddle beers and basked in the glory of the silence and crackle of our hearty fire. We slept in silence under down and a pair of Frost River wool blankets.

We woke to a desert blanketed in fresh snow, the red rocks obscured by falling flakes. Trails through the red rock towers and amphitheater offered views of deep, hidden canyons and dripping red icicles. With the opportunity to test new gear, we put Frost River's new Back Bay Lumbar Pack through its paces, exploring as deep as we could in the ice and snow before turning back to break the silence with the turn the engine and our journey back out.

Fisher Towers did not disappoint. Be sure to bring everything you need, as there's only picnic tables, fire rings (again no wood) and a pit toilet, stocked with toilet paper. No water is available at the site. There was some spotty cell coverage with Verizon, but it varied.

The Frost River crew will definitely be visiting Fisher Towers again!