19 May 2019

2019's First "Summer" Trip - Moab and the Colorado River

My title has the word "summer" in quotes because:

  1. The first official day of summer is not until June 21, just over one month away.
  2. Even if you consider "summer" to be the months of the year when the children (and my husband) are not in school, we aren't quite there yet. (Felix has three days of kindergarten left, and Ike and Eric have eight school days left.)
  3. We returned to our home and had to turn the furnace back on because it's been rainy and cold at our home. (The plus side of this is that we can continue putting off turning on the sprinklers.)
Last year's summer trip was 5,000 miles long. I've noticed that usually we alternate having long trips and short trips. This is partly because of the ages of our babies (we're way more willing to do horribly long days in the car with babies than with toddlers, believe it or not) and partly because those big trips take a ton of time and energy to plan (especially for Eric who tends to obsess over them). (Case in point, in 2014 and 2015 we did big road trips; in 2016 we did a couple of short trips; in 2017 we had a tiny baby, and Eric had his grad program, so we didn't do a ton of anything; in 2018 we took a really long trip; and in 2019 we have about 5 smaller trips planned.)

Anyway, we kicked off our summer trips this weekend. After bombarding you with all that unnecessary text, I will now bombard you with tons of pictures.

We headed out Friday morning (Eric, Ike, and Felix skipped school, which meant missing Felix's kindergarten graduation, which was a bummer). We drove through Spanish Fork Canyon. Our school district has a summer camp in a city up that canyon, and Eric works at it a few weeks each summer. Working the summer camp has meant he has learned lots of information about the canyon. As we drive in, he always tells the kids about the important landmarks, some history of the canyon, and other interesting tidbits. (Of course, once we pass the town where the camp is located, he tends to get much less informative.)

The interesting thing about this trip is that we had invited several other families to join us. Eric initially invited families to come canoeing with us on Saturday morning, and he told them our family would be camping on Friday night. Most of the families said they wanted to camp too. Usually when we go to Moab we camp in a ghost town near Moab, but we knew our spot would not accommodate as many people as would be joining us. When we got to Moab we went to the designated camping spots only to realize there were no vacancies. Thankfully my over-obsessed husband had planned for this contingency, and we ended up on some camping-approved BLM land even closer to Moab than where we normally camp. (The pictures Eric had seen of this land had made it seem like a terrible place to camp, but once we got there we realized the pictures don't do it justice.) Trixie also learned that she loves porta-potties at this camp site. It is a strange new fascination for her.

We set up our area and did a lot of waiting around. Our cell reception wasn't great, so we were worried about the other families finding us. While we waited, the kids found and caught lizards. (Among the families joining us is a family that has ten children, of whom seven are boys. They brought six of their boys on the trip.) At this point there was also a family with a teenage boy and a little girl who joined us, as well as a another family who brought two of their three boys.

Hank caught this lizard.

And then its tail came off:

Then we drove over to Arches and went hiking. We didn't have a lot of time, and the weather at the park wasn't promising, so we just did Park Avenue and Double Arch.

This was the only little girl with us for most of Friday, and Trixie sort of fell in love with her.

No, my husband did not morph into another man. We were in a big group, and Eric was down taking photos, so Beau helped my kids and me get up.

We camped that night, and had a great time hanging out with our friends. In total we had six families camping together. 

Our family camped in a tent that we've owned for a while but had never used. Eric had picked it up at a yard sale for $10 knowing that the zipper was broken. Earlier in the year we set it up to see how bad it was and realized we couldn't just make do with a broken zipper. I did some research and purchased a zipper repair kit. Last week we set up the tent in the yard. I got out my seam ripper so I could access the ends of the zipper, then Eric put a new zipper pull on, then I stitched her back up. When you factor in my labor costs, it was not a cheap repair, but still a better price than we would have paid with a professional repair of the zipper or a new tent of that size.

This was the first time since 2015 our family all slept together in the same tent. Had Felicia been well (she was a bit sick on Friday, but we kept her dosed with ibuprofen), it would have been a great night. We were all plenty warm and comfortable. Felicia did end up in my bed because she just wasn't feeling well. (I took her this morning to urgent care, absolutely certain that an ear infection was the culprit, and I was wrong. She's just regular-sick. No antibiotic cure for her.) And Trixie ended up in Eric's bed because she just loves to cuddle with her dad.

On Saturday morning we ate breakfast, packed up, and headed to the Colorado River for canoeing. One other family joined us, bringing the total to seven families in ten canoes. We canoed a stretch of what Eric said was 8 miles, but is actually closer to 12. (One guy in our group tracked it with GPS). We were done in about 2.5 hours. The views were beautiful, the weather was mostly good (a bit chilly when the wind blew), and everybody who entered the water did so of his own accord.

A bunch of the older boys dared each other to take a dip, and it was apparent that the water was incredibly cold (as recently thawed ice tends to be). They all climbed back in their boats as quickly as they could. Upon seeing them Ike wanted to try it to. He was in our neighbors' boat (they came sans children). Unlike the big boys, Ike really jumped away from his boat, which meant he had to swim back a few feet. His facial expressions said it all.

Then the poor kid didn't have the upper body strength to get back into his boat on his own.

Felicia really struggled the last hour, and we had no medicine in our boat. She was so upset when we were done that I couldn't get her to take the medicine we had for her. Thankfully one of our group had a chewable Tylenol, which I told Felicia was candy. Worked like a charm.

After canoeing, we went back to camp because some of the families hadn't packed up in the morning. Then most of us headed over to Goblin Valley State Park. It wasn't in our original plan, but we followed the masses. Ike had a blast; Felix thought it was fine, until he no longer thought it was fine; Trixie loved it; and Felicia was adequately medicated and finally well-napped, so she tolerated being carried around on mine and Eric's back.

After Goblin Valley we drove home. We packed a lot of fun into that short trip. Everyone's super duper tired today, and it's early bedtimes for all.