Tuesday, May 29, 2007


First of all, thanks to those of you who have stuck with me through my drought phases here. I have not suddenly gotten sicker and quit posting. My excuse this time is that I just got back from a ten-day camping trip with all my guys.

Ten days!

What a logistical feat I have pulled off. I am quite proud. We didn’t starve; in fact we ate quite well. (I'll let you in on a little secret: you can wrap hot pockets in foil and cook them in the coals of a campfire. Yum!) All of our reservations came through. All of my planning proved accurate and effective. We did it!

I’ll spare you the detailed itinerary but, in a nutshell, we saw/camped in: Fishlake National Forest, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Zion’s, and Great Basin National Park (where Lehman Cave is). The kids earned their “Junior Ranger” badges in all four of the National Parks (and are quite proudly wearing them around the house today). I am so very pleased at how much they enjoyed it and got into all of the learning activities. The highlight of the trip was the hike down into Bryce (Navajo Loop). The kids would probably say that the highlight was swimming in Grandma and Grandpa’s hotel swimming pool just outside of Zion’s. It was all just great.

Best quote of the trip came from P when we took him to the bathroom (a pit toilet) the first night: “Oh, THIS kind of potty? I LOVE this kind of potty!!!!” (Only a male would say such a thing. There’s nothing like the breeze that wafts up upon one’s nether regions from those things . . .)

I saw a lot of beautiful scenery on this trip. And I’m feeling kind of perplexed. Why is it that I love to look at beautiful landscapes so much, but hate to read landscape poetry (or write it)? I’ve never enjoyed purely descriptive poetry. I can’t figure out why not. Even in fiction I sort of skim over the “poetic description” parts to get down into the action or back into the character’s thoughts. (I love character-driven fiction, so it’s not that I’m just addicted to action.) I guess I just prefer interior landscapes—in literature. But I sure love seeing nature in real life. Then again, I love just as well to walk around a neighborhood at dusk and peer into people’s windows. (Another kind of interior landscape, I guess.)


Jennifer B. said...

How fun! I'm glad your planning paid off and that you had a great time. Also, I'm glad I'm not the only one who enjoys walks at dusk. It's a good time to get ideas for home renovation. (So that's how they remodeled!)

Christopher Bigelow said...

Holy cow. Ten days of CAMPING? Are you talking about setting up and taking down tents each time, or do you have some kind of trailer? Are you talking about showers at least every other day?

Because all I know is that it costs me an incredible amount of work and discomfort to pull off even ONE night of camping. All the trouble to get ready, to set up camp, to get through the night (I never sleep more than 2-3 hours total), to break camp, to get everything cleaned up and put away once you're home . . . It way outweighs the few moments of pleasure, for me. I resolve to go once a summer with my kids just so I won't feel like a worthless father, and I'm so glad I've already gone for this year...

I'm headed out day after tomorrow to New York City for five days of schmoozing with literary/publishing types, watching plays, eating out, going to museums, soaking up all the architecture and people--now that's what I'm talking about...

Marj said...

I wouldn't mind the detailed itinerary. We like camping. Sounds like a fun trip. Did you take that picture yourself? And thanks for the hot pocket tip.

Justine said...

WOW! We're headed south in a few days to explore some slot canyons, and you've gotten me so excited. I'm so glad you had fun! You went to some of my favorite places, and fabulous reasons to continue living in the west.

Darlene said...

Yep, Chris, it was real camping. We have a tent trailer which, in terms of set-up, is not much better than a tent but which makes all the difference when it comes to sleeping OFF of the ground (and listening to the rain hit the tin roof is priceless). Also I love the FURNACE!!!! (And we used it in Grand Canyon where it snowed on us.) (Also, that was the night we found out we have a leak . . .)

Here's our itinerary, Marj:

Day 1: left Salt Lake around 4 p.m., ate dinner, which I had packed ahead, on the road. Camped in Fishlake National Forest in the Park Service campground on the east side of the forest. Beautiful campground with, as I said, pit toilets, and a creek running through camp. You look down on a sort of barren-looking valley but the cliffs behind you are breathtaking.

Day 2: Broke camp, drove to Bryce Canyon. Set up camp in their official campground, which was quite full. Again, a great campsite. Again, pit toilets.

Day 3 (Sunday): Drove to several scenic spots. Bought pay-showers for everyone. Attended church just outside the park at Ruby's Inn. We were the only people there besides those who had to be there to officiate. I really liked it. Then we hiked down into the canyon (Navajo Loop)= highlight of the trip.

Day 4: broke camp and drove to Grand Canyon. Stayed in the official campground there. Visited the lodge and visitor's centers.

Day 5: hiked down into the canyon 1.7 miles to the Supai tunnel, and then about 10.7 miles back out again. (Well, it felt like it.) The kids amazed me with their stamina, although we got a little crazy trying to distract them at the end. Got back to camp just as the rain started. I did laundry while the kids went back to the visitor's center to get their badges. (The guy sitting across from me waiting for his laundry laughed when he saw the whirlwind that accosted me when they got back. I had been enjoying a peaceful hour with my book and then, WHAM. Rog wrestled them back to camp and I gratefully returned to my book.) In the night it was a glorious thundershower with lots of lightning. In the morning there was snow on the ground and a puddle on Jonathan's sleepingbag from the not-previously-discovered leak.

Day 6: broke camp and drove to Zion's, stopping for groceries on the way. Camped in the best campsite yet (at Watchman Campground in the park) because it was right next to the creek and had a huge century-old cottonwood that the boys loved to climb. Also because of the deer and lizards and squirrels running through. Met my parents, who were staying at a hotel just outside the park. They took us to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Really great lo-mein. The kids swam in their pool while Rog and I had showers. (Yes, that is only the second shower since we left.) Attended the ranger talk.

Day 7: toured Zion's with Dad and Lynn. We hiked to Weeping Rock and did the River Walk and had a nice picnic. Then the museum. Then back to the hotel for another swim (only this time I got a nap while everyone else swam). Taco soup and fireside at camp.

Day 8: broke camp, picked up the kids' badges, and drove to Great Basin National Park (where Lehman's Cave is). We got the LAST CAMPSITE IN THE CAMPGROUND (it was Memorial Day Weekend). Another beautiful campground (pit toilets). We saw many, many deer pass through. Attended the ranger talk. Now the boys can imitate a chickadee and a meadow lark.

Day 9: toured Lehman cave in the morning. In the afternoon we went to this place Roger had been to with the scouts in Gandy. In the middle of nowhere off a dirt road is a beautiful, clear stream bubbling out of the rocks which has made a swimming hole with wet mosses and hanging gardens. If you duck under one of the rocks, there is an underground water cave with several rooms you can swim through. We thought the boys would like it but one of them slipped and got kind of stuck and panic ensued. Things were not pretty. But they enjoyed the swimming hole.
Attended the ranger talk.

Day 10: Roger washed my hair with warm water (heaven!) and we attended church in Garrison, Utah. It was a really nice meeting. Visited the visitor's center, walked around the cave. Played games and read in camp.

Day 11: broke camp and drove home!

Darlene said...

The thing about camping is that you just decide you're going to be dirty and probably stink. Then you go about your business.

But I am extremely envious of your New York trip, Chris. I also require a nice dose of trips that are civilized and don't involve the kids. We tell the kids that such trips are Divorce Insurance. They're good with it.

Marj said...

Thanks Dar. I will save it in my "places to go someday" folder. Since I'm the one that likes to vacation in our family, my husband makes me do all the planning so it's nice to have some of the work done. We are planning a Divorce Insurance trip in October - a cruise to Mexico :)