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A Story from Base Camp in Utah

kobae1Tom, who owns and runs Base Camp near Moab in Utah, is a character and so is his tortoise. When staying at Base Camp you can take part in various adventures from mountain biking, hiking, river jumping to disc golf which make the most of the dramatic surrounding scenery.  Tom tells a great story about his outback life. 


Kobae is the 100-plus pound tortoise that lives, at Base Camp just outside Moab in Utah, with me from somewhere in March until about December when he goes back to bask in the sun of a San Diego winter. Kobae has become a bit of a local legend out here and every week a few people from town or visitors to the area who have come by in previous years ATV or jeep in to see how he’s doing. Kobae is kind of special for at least three reasons.

1.    While the books say African Spur tortoise have been known to hike up to a mile a day, Kobae and I routinely take 3 to 12 mile hikes probably two to four times a week.

2.    While the books say they have healthy appetites, Kobae has gone from 22 to 37 pounds the first year here, 37 to 65 the second year, 65 to 85 last year, and this year it hurts to pick him up but I feel safe in saying he’s over the 100 pound mark.

3.    Kobae has issues. He doesn’t like one particular solar light so he destroys it and whenever I replace it, he destroys the new one. I have a fossil on the front porch of a tube worm (or muscle), depending on which geologist is staying here, and Kobae pushes it off the porch most days. I’ve had to magic marker number it so Linny and I can put it back together. There are days we hike 3 miles to Catacomb Rock simply because there is a metal pole with a sign on it Kobae doesn’t like. He’ll ram it several times and then push it over, turn around, and head back to the lodge. After he’s gone a few hundred feet back towards the lodge I put it back up again. While I think he is an attitude nightmare, the locals think “he’s cute”.

kobaemudKobae ate a guy’s tie hanging off the doorknob just prior to the wedding. He also crapped a paper towel, a two inch piece of tile, and a package of white packing peanuts. A few months ago we were out hiking and he slowed down to take a crap and it looked like a handkerchief or something came out his butt, dragged along for a few feet and then caught on some cactus and fell out. I left it to the elements. Coming down the same trail a few weeks later it had rained hard and the handkerchief, while still muddy, appeared not to be crappy and looked like it had writing or a map or something on it. I couldn’t quite make it out so I took it back to the lodge and dropped it into the cistern on the side of the porch. A few days later I got some gloves and pulled it out and it was a handkerchief map of Jackson Hole, a biking/climbing area several miles from here. I stuck it in the washer and then in the cabinet in case I needed it later.

linnykobaeLater I had guests staying at the lodge who said they were going biking to Jackson Hole but it was raining and did I have a map that could weather the rain? I gave them the handkerchief map. They came back later that evening and it went like this…….

“Tom, thanks for the Jackson Hole map.”
“No problem, hope it helped.”
“It did, where’d you get it?”
“Kobae’s ass.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, it came out of Kobae’s ass. I don’t know where he got it.”
“No really, where’d you get it?”
“We were hiking one day and he crapped it. It’s a long story how it made it’s way to Base Camp. Actually I didn’t want to go hiking with him today but I was hoping he’d get me a map of Dripping Springs. I don’t know how he does it, but it’s magic as far as I’m concerned.”

I haven’t seen it since they checked out. So, they either stole it, which sucks because I could have used that line 20 more times or Kobae ate it again. Kobae and I are going hiking tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

Click here for more details on Base Camp.