Monday, November 05, 2012

Camping Rumination

Good afternoon, dear reader! It's good for many reasons:
1. I slept in my own warm, comfortable, beautiful bed last night.
2. Baby only woke up twice and went right back to bed in his crib after each feeding (I'm not counting 6AM to 7AM, when he slept in bed with me).
3. The unpacking from camping is minimal today, thanks to my husband and kids.

I have to expound on the camping trip, dear reader, because I learned many new things about myself and we had such a great time. So, please bear with me as I ruminate with ruminating ruminate-ness...

We went camping in Arches National Park.

It's in the high desert of southeastern Utah, and it's very, very dry. Our besties invited us to come (right after our last camping trip together last spring) and, of course, we said yes! Not only do we have the same amount of children between us (6 each), but we've been friends with Brent and Ann since college. Have I told you this before? Even weirder is that we moved into Brent and Ann's childhood neighborhood and ward when we decided to buy a house (had no idea they grew up here). We loved this area of Provo, so we knew we wanted to live here, but it gets even crazier --unbeknownst to any of us, we bought Brent's childhood home (his parents had moved while he was on his mission, so we had bought it from a newer owner)! How crazy is that!? Us + Them = Meant to be lifelong friends.

Things I experienced and yes I'm making a list because I don't have the energy for syntax:
1. It was so quiet. So very, very quiet. At one point, on our first hike, I was walking with sleeping #6 on my back and #4 was in front of me. We were walking on the fine, red sand, and so we couldn't even hear our footsteps. All I could hear was my breathing. In the vast openness of the desert, it was astounding how still it was. I'm so used to hearing traffic and appliances (ice maker) and washing machines and TV and children and trains and... It was wonderful. I tried to soak it in so I would remember it forever.
2. I'm still incredibly selfish. I didn't want to take the time to make sure the kids were hunkered down before going to hang out around the fire with the adults. I didn't want to sleep all three nights with the baby in our sleeping bags. I didn't want to have to feed all the kids before feeding myself. But this is normal for me. Every day I have to overcome my selfishness and serve my family.

3. The stars were incredible, dear reader. The vastness of space never ceases to amaze me! At one point, Brandon and #3 laid down in the road on the other side of the large camper (we tent camp, our besties have a trailer-camper) so the campfire couldn't limit their vision, and Brandon showed him the Milky Way and helped him search for shooting stars. What is it about large red rocks, a vast sky of stars, and the smell of campfire that makes me so drunk with bliss?

4. Camping is good for the soul because it removes you from daily responsibility and distraction. I'm still amazed at how much preparation it takes and yet, there's time! The kids played on sand dunes and went exploring through the rocks. They rode their bikes and told stories, dug holes and searched for animals. We hiked to Delicate Arch, Broken Arch, Sand Dune Arch, and still had time to sit around in the shade while babies napped. The first night we had to camp in the handicapped site (they were full) and then move the next day to our more "permanent" site. Taking down camp and setting it up again was tough and took a lot of time! But everyone pitched in. There was no TV, internet, movies, video games, phone calls, school, etc. to interrupt. We just did what we had to do and it got done with time to spare. Suddenly, without all those distractions, the focus was upon simpler things --food, bathrooms, weather changes.

5. I talk a lot about my husband and how he is my hero. I've praised him a lot lately, and I had a feeling I should share this: He's not perfect. Our relationship is not perfect. But we've had 14+ years now to work through things, and we've both vastly improved in the relationship area. I am not delusional, though --I know we'll probably always need to work on our marriage. We both certainly have our moments of immaturity and anger, but we're definitely doing great right now. 
This made the campout fun because I noticed these things about my husband that I don't want to forget:
 A. He is really good at camping. He's had 10 years of camping with Boy Scouts and a lifetime of camping with family, though, so it makes sense. But watching him set up tents, cook in the dutch ovens, create the perfect campfire, chop wood... sigh. Yes. I like it. :)

B. He is a great hiker. He's calm, he keeps a steady pace. He never gripes at the kids to go faster, he never forces the kids to take shorter breaks. He just steadily moves along, taking photos, passing out water, looking super cute in his hiking pants. (just sayin'!)
C. He was my hero every night because he would get up with the little kids who accidentally crawled out of their sleeping bags and were crying because they were cold. He would get up and re-pump our pathetic sleeping mattress. He would make sure the baby and I were covered properly. Why did he do this? Because I was usually holding or nursing the baby. And because he's sweet and he loves me.

6. Camping is hard work. With kids, it's ten times harder. We were laughing about the first time we went camping as a married couple (not counting our first Lake Lopez together, because we flew in for that and Brandon's mom had set up our tent for us): we had just pulled over somewhere on the Alpine Loop up American Fork canyon and set up camp. I remember being overwhelmed by the work we had to do to set up and eat. Now we laugh because to camp with just the two of us? Ha! It would be so easy! But we're thinking it would be a lot of fun, so I'm planning on making it happen.


7. Our kids are awesome. Yes, they whine and disobey and do all the things that kids usually do, but they are such troopers! Just like our besties' kids, they are used to camping, hiking, doing chores, etc. and so when the time comes to step it up, they do.
8. Camping bins. Large plastic bins filled with camping gear, kept in storage and when it comes time to pack for camp? Pull out the bins, double-check contents, and pack 'em. When you get back from camping? Just stick them all back in storage. Seriously, it makes packing/unpacking for camping so much easier. No need to go through the kitchen ever again! (except for food, I guess)

 9. There was a huge accident on Hwy 6 on the way back. We were about 5 miles from the Manti turn-off when we hit standstill traffic. A semi had crashed and dumped all of it's cargo (long, large wood boards) over the edge onto the train tracks below and onto the road, too. We were only stopped for about 15 minutes, but it was weird to be stopped long enough for people to get out of their cars to see what was going on.

 10. Time goes too fast. Our trip already feels like a dream, as if it happened in my mind and not in real life. As I get older, time keeps speeding up.

 And that is all! The End. Seriously, there's no more. I promise.


Courtney N said...

I LOVE Arches! Such a beautiful place : ) I'm not a huge fan of camping but if I was there I wouldn't have a problem with it! I'm glad you guys had fun!

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Great pictures. Love you.

Muhammad Amir said...
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John Henry Goico said...
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