"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Camping on Top of the World

The blame - or the credit, as the case may be - for our most recent vacation lies largely on Mike. It all started when Erika, a casual online acquaintance in Utah, became a good friend. Mike smelt a road trip. We'd never been to Utah, and were needing a vacation. It was all hypothetical at first, but quickly became a reality, especially after his status at work changed and his vacation time doubled. We decided to make it a camping trip. It had been such a long time since we'd gone camping as a family, it is so much cheaper than staying elsewhere, and it is far and way the best way to experience the beauty of the state! We planned it for the week of our 15th anniversary, and it was the perfect way to celebrate.

We got up to Ruby's Campground, at Bryce Canyon, on a Saturday night. The ride was beautiful and uneventful, except for the fact that the Googlemap directions took us an entire hour out of our way. We set up camp, spent way too much money on groceries in the little general store, and got a mediocre night sleep. On Sunday we headed into the canyon for hiking and site-seeing. I don't mean to be a traitor to my state or anything, but I think it's even more awe-inspiring than the Grand Canyon! We took just a short hike, took lots of pictures, and headed back down to civilization. We decided to make the trek to Cedar City so that we could visit a proper store. We'd done a terrible job packing, and had to pick up everything from socks to long pants to sweatshirts for Tegan.

We went into the canyon again on Monday, and stopped at all the trail heads for more hiking and even more pictures. We walked to the little village near our campground on Monday too, had some ice creams, and spent a long time in the rock shop. Paxton was sick on Monday night, so we stayed close to camp that evening and the following morning. Sickness aside, it was actually wonderful to relax. We hung out by the campfire, read books, played games, and otherwise enjoyed each other's company. By Tuesday afternoon, Paxton was well and raring to go again, and he, Spencer, and Everett spent a long time playing with the other kids they'd met around the grounds. We gave up on the air mattresses that night (they weren't holding air, and just didn't work with the baby) and we finally slept a lot better.

By Wednesday we were back to site seeing, and checked out some more of the nearby smaller canyons. We followed a winding dirt road all the way through to Panguitch, where we hit up the little market for more groceries, enjoyed the scenery, and yes.. took more pictures. It rained that afternoon, so we had to hang out in our tent, thankful that it was just for a brief period of time. That night - our last night at that campground - we bundled up in the rain and went to a rodeo. It occurred to me right before the first bull rider came out of the gate that I should warn Everett about what was going to happen, because I didn't want him to be scared when he saw someone falling off. It was completely unnecessary though, as he loved every minute of it, especially "the part when the guy falls off." They all enjoyed watching everything from bull and bronco riding, to steer roping and barrel racing... and we all slept soundly our final night at Ruby's.

Thursday - the fifth day of our trip and our 15th anniversary! - we packed everything up and headed up to meet Erika and her family at Duck Creek. Where Ruby's was proud of its pool and hotel and stores and amenities, Duck Creek was all about the camping, from the large wooded sites, to the deer that ran close enough to practically touch. It was a wonderful place, and we had wonderful company. We spent that first day just enjoying the campground... watching Doug fish in the lake, hiking around the little paths that surrounded the creek, and letting the kids get acquainted. We set up the volleyball net and tossed around Frisbees. We capped off the night by roasting hot dogs and 'smores on the fire, the quintessential camping activity.

The final day of our trip came and went quickly. We came down off the mountain long enough to visit Walmart and Erika's house, where the kids jumped on the trampoline and played XBox. We went on one final little hike, on the Bristlecone Pine Trail. We got back to the campsite that evening to discover that it had down poured in our absence, and everything from our chairs to Tegan's stroller to sweatshirts were waterlogged. We dealt with the wetness - what else could we do? - and enjoyed our last night. We stayed up late chatting and laughing around the fire, and had no less than 3 kids asleep on various laps by the time we decided to pack it in.

We headed back home just a couple of minutes after 12:00 on Saturday. I remember the time because check-out was at noon, and the powers-that-be visited our site at least three times in that last hour to make sure we were going to be leaving on time. Our ride home was long, but smooth, and we still had the energy to make a few more scenic stops on the way.

All-in-all it was an incredible trip, and we're already talking about the next one.

Check out the slideshows!

Ruby's Inn
Hiking in Bryce
Duck Creek


Families are Forever said...

Those pictures are so beautiful! Are you sure you don't want to move here ;)

I love the way you wrote about it all...it captures the memories and really makes you "remember" all those little details that made it so fun!! And the deer...wasn't that just SWEEEEET?!

Dawne said...

I love the pics! I am glad you made your blog public!! Just another place I can share and chat with ya! Paxton showed some pics on RUN and they were awesome!! So glad to read of your adventure and see the fun and beauty of the land and family and freindship! I added you to my list of blogs on my page, so that I can visit ya--come on over to mine anytime and check it out!


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