Yes, we finally did it. After decades of thinking about it and talking about it, we finally went camping! We spent the Memorial Day weekend just outside Arches National Park, near Moab, Utah with our daughter and son-in-law and the littles and it was really great!
Although I’ve had this vague interest in camping virtually my entire adult life (having fond memories of camping as a family throughout my older childhood), things began to percolate a lot more vigorously just over a year ago.
We’d had the opportunity to “save the day” for our kids’ long-planned camping trip to Goblin Valley which ended up conflicting with the can’t-be-missed dress rehearsal for Avila’s first dance recital. We drove her down to meet up with Jen and Larry on Saturday after the rehearsal and spent the night with them in their new-to-them pop-up camper. Despite pouring down rain all night, we enjoyed it a lot and a seed was definitely planted.
Some serious fantasizing about an old RV I’d stumbled across last fall fueled the fire, and after we’d decided to leave that particular fantasy where it belonged, I started investigating whether tent camping was a viable option for us after all. What I found was that modern equipment had the potential to really transform the experience, especially given the capacity of our minivan to haul a bunch o’ gear directly to the campsite. For anyone even possibly interested in what I’ve dubbed “comfort camping” I’ve done a long post just on the equipment/set-up here and I must say it really did meet and exceed our expectations, as did the territory itself.
Extremely conscious of the overuse (actually “mis-use” would be more accurate) of the term “awesome” these days, I have to say that this area is a sight truly worthy of the word.
The terrain is otherworldly and just plain spectacular. Trying to imagine the forces of nature (and the vast period of time involved) that created the massive collection of arches, pinnacles, and giant balanced rocks is pretty mind-blowing. The few photos I got don’t begin to adequately captured the magic.
Jen and Larry had already gone camping last month, so Henry had been introduced to the big outdoors and he does fine. But, of course, the “disruption” of daily schedule that is part of the attraction for the grown-ups is, well, not-so-much for the littles. It was one of Avila’s first trips without a slew of her playmates (since the kids’ friends and camping buddies are also parents to many of Avila’s little buddies) and at times she got a little bored. (I suspect the majestic landscape just didn’t “speak” to her as much as it did to us!) But she still did great, as did Henry.
I think it was a bit of help to have this Grandma and Poppy there to just spread out the efforts for playing with him, getting him down for naps, and so on. I also took on the meal planning and cooking which made it a little easier on the kids and also right up my alley, so that was fun. Jen had just been given a bunch of lobster from work, so we had a yummy spring veggie stir-fry with a lemon ginger sauce and lobster over cous-cous the first night, with a chicken/veggie curry over rice the second night, and a chicken sausage/potato/greens skillet the last night. Read about all the food here!
We’re looking forward to our next planned trip with the kids in early September to Beaver Lake. For now, I’ll close with some more pictures.