After a rough start (don't ask!) we got past that land that only a geologist could love (I'm talking to you, Price, UT), and rolled into Moab for some fun in the sun.
They say that the more often you do something, the easier it gets. And I'd say that that would have to be true of us camping with kids. I actually had a good time this entire trip, got enough sleep and wasn't exhausted. I don't know if that's because we've figured out how to feed everyone without having to cook, or that we no longer stress about the kids getting the exact amount of sleep they get at home, or that I let all that dirt the kids accumulated just roll off my back (It does all wash off eventually), or that Woo decided to be superman this trip.
He planned the entire thing: where to camp and where to hike. He got out all the camping gear, packed the car,
(This is how you pack six kids into a station wagon.)
did all the driving (including a stop for the only gelato in the state), set up camp all by himself, carried Penelope, all the water, some food, and occasionally Linus on every hike we went on, took Herbie to pee several times during the night, and so on. Plus, he did a lot of worrying.
Of course, by the end of the first day, he had a throbbing shin splint and a horrible headache. So, I guess in reality, I had an easier time, and he had a worse time. If he were to write this post, it would probably have a much different slant :).
Because we got into camp late, Woo carried all the kids, one-by-one, to their tents (so not to track in sand), kept them quiet, helped them climb into their sleeping bags, and say their prayers. He circled the tents a couple times to make sure things were settled, and luckily saw Moses' little hand sneak out of a tiny opening in the tent door, scoop a handful of sand, and start to pull back in before it was too late.
Once everything was peaceful from the kids, Woo and I sat on the hood of the car to the soothing sounds of the highway in the distance. Soon the ground started to shake and we heard a growing rumble that we realized was a freight train.
Woo: Hopefully, that train honks right when it gets in front of us.And it did.
Our next door camp neighbors also turned out to be very close, and we could hear almost everything they did.
In spite of this, everyone slept great. Well, Herbie claimed that he didn't.
Herbie (complaining about his night): My back hurts.
Woo: Herbie, you're a kid. Your back doesn't hurt when you sleep on it.
Herbie: Mom, I slept on some rocks, and my back hurts. I need something soft to put under my back tonight.
Me: Herbie, there aren't any rocks under your tent. The ground is entirely sandy.
Herbie: I still want to make something soft to sleep on.We successfully kept the kids quiet in the morning, spiriting them away into the car as soon as possible and eating breakfast on the way.
Woo: I wonder if our neighbors have any idea how many kids slept next to them last night.
We decided to go to Arches National Park (dubbed Archie's National Park by Woo) first, and everyone was excited and in good spirits. The drive in is scenic, and the kids just couldn't get enough.
Penelope (looking out the window at red rock cliffs): Wow! Wow!
Herbie: I just noticed how dirty it is.
Ruby: Is this the wall to the national parks so you just can't run in?
Ruby (seeing her first park ranger) She looks like a cub scout!(Which is, of course, a huge compliment in Ruby's book.)
We went to Landscape Arch (with neighboring Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch) first. We were just ahead of the crowds that started to come in on our way out. I'm always surprised at how many Europeans and Asians there are. In fact, I would classify all people we saw as belonging to one of five groups: Europeans, Asians, easterners, hippie/outdoorsy types and blatant BYU fans. Our six-little-kid family seemed to be a greater curiosity to some of them (not the BYU fans) than the actual arches.
After lunch we headed to Sand Dune Arch which seems to be made just for kids. It's pretty much a giant sandbox under an arch. Not perfect for parents concerned about dirt, but I'm over that remember?
Archie did all the worrying for me.
What kind of crazy would bring all those little kids AND hike in carrying a carseat?? (P.S. One of those kids is not mine.)
To be continued here ...