Monday, October 5, 2009

Much needed retreat!

Friday morning we headed out on a much needed camping trip... free from all the trappings of our normal life! No phones, no TV, no electricity... just good ole' NATURE! We ventured to one of our favorite parks in our great big state: Caprock Canyons State Park!

We couldn't have asked for better weather... cool, slightly overcast... PERFECT FALL WEATHER... perfect camping weather! Once we arrived that afternoon, set up camp, grabbed something to wet the old whistle... we did some exploring right around our campsite. The walk through the dry river bed was fun for all. I, the coolest boy mommy ever, found some of the best rocks (which later ended up in my pockets because the boys were wearing windpants sans pockets). The boys followed tracks of all sorts, and mom and dad lagged behind and enjoyed the view.

Saturday morning we got up and Daddio fixed an amazing breakfast... campfire breakfast burritos! AMAZING, my sweet! Then we headed off for the first hike of the day (we thought there would be more than one... more on that later). We hit one of our favorites, Canyon Loop Trail. Like most of the trails at this park, it has a wide girth and is quite easy to follow... it does have a few more challenging ascents and decents... but very doable for our family! Thankfully we have more than just two grown-ups taking pictures along the hike... Bobcat always has an interested eye!
Here you will see me waiting for Snooker to figure out the best way to get down what he probably shouldn't have gone up!
Then there is the actual nature. This trip was filled with fun stuff... a buck in the campsite when we arrived (we had a few sitings of him actually), a doe and her fawns, a bunny (of course), several lizards... and this guy... a tarantula! Seriously people...
Can it get any better than this?

At some point along our hike we decided not to turn around... to just keep going and that this will lead all the way to another parking lot and we could just follow the road back to where we started... trouble was we really didn't know how far we were going because we left the map in the car... no worries though the trail is well marked... FAMOUS LAST WORDS! We kept on even once the wide trail decreased to a very narrow path, which turned into a river bed, then a rocky sort of path... to a ditch and a sad little path on the other side. Daddio did a little recon. and decided that we better just head back because it looked a little too difficult even for us. That was about 2 1/2 hours into the hike. Um yeah... So we turned around and headed back. At some point right after we turned around, Bobcat found this huge (and quite heavy) rock and decided he was going to carry it all the way back to the car... and HE DID!
First let me say that we've never attempted a hike this long, nor did we set out to do such a thing... but our time was -- 3:58:24... NEARLY 4 hours! This last shot could not have come at a better time. Just off in the distance you can make out our big black SUV... for the previous 10 minutes I was certain I was not going to make it... I was looking around for a nice place to lye down and give up! But there on the horizon was the Beast, and we all perked up knowing that we were just mere minutes from its wonderfully comfy seats!

That was the hike to end all hikes for this particular weekend (based on the map, once we arrived back at the car, it was some where in the neighborhood of 9 miles that we traveled)! We headed back to camp, ate lunch (or if you consider 3:45 an early dinner), laid down for a much needed break... built a new fire and made an amazing dinner and dessert! What was on the menu, well let me tell you... steaks, potatoes/cheese/sausage in a dutch oven, and for the end of our evening GF peach cobbler in a dutch oven! PERFECTION!


La Familia said...

Okay, I'm so envious right now (except the part where y'all get lost for a couple of hours.) I could actually smell the fresh fall air while reading that post. I love the photo with you and Snookie. I had to laugh at that one. I'm so glad you guys were able to do that.

MommaLlama said...

Oh, I should clarify that part. We weren't actually lost. We had simply reached the 'diffcult with extreme elevation' portion of the trail (there were still trail markers so you knew you were on something that was actually part of the trail). Had we continued we would have gone another 3 1/2 miles on that sort of terrain before we reached the end... instead we turned around and walked back the 4 1/2 miles on a much more managable trail.

nicole said...

Y'all are so tough. :)

I love reading about camping. Gets me excited for our trips. Did y'all tent camp or did you take an RV again? We were planning on a two-night trip this fall, but our calendar is already full, so we might only make it one night. It kind of wears us out, since several of our kids are still not quite at the helpful stage when it comes to setting up the tent and site and packing up when we're done. 24 hours is sometimes all I can take!

MommaLlama said...

Hey Nicole,

Tent camping!!! I guess I always looked at it in the opposite, especially when the boys were younger, it took so much work to set up I wasn't about to tear all done so soon :-).

Thankfully Daddio and I had done it so often before the boys that we really developed a quick and organized method to set up and tear down!

nicole said...

Well, I guess the work of preparing the food and washing the dishes and all that is what I meant. We can get the tent up pretty quickly, and down fast too, but it just feels like a lot of work. Anyway, we are ready to extend our trips if we can just find the time and cooperative weather. Our kids choose to play sports, so that takes up ten Saturdays every fall and spring.

MommaLlama said...

Oh okay... for the most part the only things that need to be cleaned are the dutch ovens (we do a rinse out there, and actually clean and reseason them at home), and the cooking tools. Otherwise we use paper and plastic for everything so that there is no dishes to have to do. For drinks we have lots of bottled water so that we don't need cups. We don't do cereal or anything that would require bowls and milk (although you can do paper bowls)... the mornings we don't cook breakfast we have granala bars and the like. All in all, every meal is quite simple and has very little mess involved.

But I can see your dilemma... my boys are much older now, no one is in diapers, and we don't have to keep an eyeball on them every second. They know the drill (usually), and we are able to relax and enjoy our time... and they are able to explore, play, and have a good time without a whole lot of supervision involved.

nicole said...

We also have to take two cars right now, one for the people and the truck for the stuff! Until we get a trailer hitch we stick to going to Ray Roberts, since it is close by. I can see using paper products to cut the mess, but we try to be green and reuse stuff. It is getting easier though. We need to have the kids do more than we ask right now, they are capable if we give them a chance.

As I said, I love reading about your adventures, it inspires me to get our family out there more, even in short doses.

Oh, and thanks for all the links in the post about the food, great ideas for birthday and Christmas for Husband!