Friday, March 18, 2005

World class camping

The first 24 hours of this trip reminded me of the trip we took to Brittany with Jen and Clare. That time it was the Saturday before Easter and we couldn't find the house we had rented. We really couldn't find it and we searched for 8 hours. Yes, 8 hours, and we ended up calling the police, piecing together a story from the French dictionary, "nous somme abandonnée" or some such, and having them call the owner of the house at 5am on Easter morning. Then the owner, who spoke no English and was not in the best of moods, had to drive 30 minutes each way to show us to the house. We thought the trip had been ruined until we woke up the next morning and saw the beach across the street, the amazing rock formations, the plentiful beach glass, the channels forming in the sand as the tide went out, and the most entertaining of popping sand shrimp. An hour or two of that was enough to erase any hardship from the night before.

Last night, though, was a real marathon. We left Boulder at 3pm and thought we'd arrive in Moab at 9pm at the earliest. Then we got caught in a snowstorm in the mountains and a traffic jam due to tunnel construction. By the time we'd stopped for dinner, we were 2 hours behind. Then it was about 80 miles farther than I thought—me tending to the optimistic with these things—so we pulled into a motel parking lot in Moab just before midnight, really pretty darn tired. Thanks to Greg for driving the last bit. Usually I can pull myself through such things, but maybe it is age, maybe an earlier bedtime and rising time, but I just couldn't do it last night. I did do my best, however, to tell jokes and otherwise keep spirits up those last 80 miles.

This morning I (or I should say, Rees, who was so excited he was up) got up at 6am and we went to the grocery store to let Greg and Kadin sleep some more while we got some provisions and breakfast. By 7:15 I had dropped Rees off at the motel and was on my way to the park to see about camping. I was really nervous about this, for some reason. Maybe because there have been numerous times in California when camping sites just aren't available. This is spring break week for Colorado, and many, many people go to Utah. I needn't have worried, but was glad to have done it the way we did. They start giving out sites at 7:30 every morning. There was no wait, I was guaranteed a spot, and there was good selection.

For $10 a night this can't be beat! Wow, we are camping at Arches National Park. Our site is nestled in a bowl of powder-soft sand, surrounded by trees and "slickrock," that wonderful sandstone at Arches and in Moab that is so inviting, like sculpted clay. Beautiful weather, clear and in the upper 50s, views all around of gorgeous rock formations. When we arrived, the boys were beside themselves with glee, wanting to explore everything at once from the rocks to the natural sandboxes to the box canyons. Now, at the end of the day, they are testing the limits of their bodies and imaginations, playing "iguanodon and Utah raptor," silhouetted against the setting sun on top of a smooth rock. This is world-class camping. Can't imagine anything better.

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