Tuesday, April 15, 2014

weekend plans

all worth it in the end
roaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com
Every single minute counting down until we left was slow....sticky.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday seemed to span the length of an entire week.
Papers due. Tests to take. Stress piling high. 
I'd arranged to take a test early so we could head out Thursday morning and make our weekend longer. When my Wednesday was done I giggled while simultaneously feeling tears run down my face. We needed this break. I needed this break--a chance to clear my head before these last few weeks of school come raining down hard. We loaded the car--groceries, gear, jackets and sandals and anticpated our sunshiny adventure. It was finally happening!

Plan A.
Our first plan we knew may not work out--we had two campgrounds in mind that we wanted to try to grab a site at--a little unlikely this time of year in Southern Utah, but we'd try anyway--and if not we had a backup plan, and even a backup to our backup plan--such good boyscouts we are!

Plan B.
So yeah--plan A didn't workout--campgrounds full--but no problem.
We stopped in the town of Escalante and found out where we could camp in the area (anywhere that had already been camped in and had a fire ring--a good "leave no trace" practice.) We had our own water and didn't need a bathroom or any other fancy camp things, and we were pointed in a few directions of where to go.
We headed down down down the unpaved road--rocks flying, dust whipping, and tires...popping.

Our tire.
It was flat.
The flattest flat.
roaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com
Plan C
We were 9 miles down the road, and it was 5:00--you know, exactly when the small tire shop in town closed. Robby put the donut on and we went over our options:
we go back to town and find a place to stay.....but then we are driving 9 more miles fully loaded down with gear....driving down the uneven road on a wimpy little tire.


Plan D
We were only a few miles from the area we wanted to camp--if we continued on and found a campsite, we could have camp set up, and head back to town in the morning, with less of a load in the car.

We went with D.
We were all anxious to get camp set up, and this would only set us back a little bit of time in the morning--just a quick flat fix and we'd be off exploring, as planned.

We continued down the road....? It was a road. ish.
It would have been fine had we not been on a tire half the size of normal, car fully loaded, and without any phone service. We decided we'd just pull into the first good area we saw to camp....so we drove and drove and drove....
The "road" was more of an "area" that had 
been "scraped" of it's "surface". 
Rocky banks lined the sides--there hadn't been a campsite yet.
"Let's just turn around" we'd say, and then laugh, because there was literally no place to turn around. We didn't want to go any further "off road" than we were, for fear of blowing our donut. 
(that should be a saying--"don't blow your donut". I like it)


So down the road we went, not a place to camp in site, and the road was only getting steeper, rockier, and less road-ish. We laughed and laughed and questioned "whhhaaaaaaaat are we doing?!" 

A campsite? no. 
But a corner just wide enough that we could do a 40 point turn in and head back to town. 

Back to town for....

Plan E. 
(By the time we hit Plan E we were STARVING, so obviously Plan E included Pizza.)
We found a little cabin for the night. And by little I mean it had one bunk bed for the four of us--adventure! The kids deemed that night "the best camping trip EVER!". 
It was fun.....and very....cozy(!)(?)
roaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com
Plan F.
Rise and shine! We hurried out of our cozy bunk in the morning so we could be first in line to get our tire patched. After that we'd head out and find a campsite, and spend the day exploring--no time to waste! Plan F was going smoothly, until 
"this hole is too big, even with the patch, you're going to be leaking air"


Plan G.
"But I don't want your trip ruined, so let me go see if I have a tire--even a used tire that will work." Thanks Mr. Tire Man. 

Plan H. 
"I don't have one. 
The closest place that would have a tire for you is a couple of hours away"

Plan I. 
Sadly, at this point, our little donut was our best option......so there we were:
Loaded car, tiny tire, surrounded by gravel roads that were all off limits.

Plan J. 
We all pout. (and by we, I DO mean we, but mostly I mean me.)

We were sooooooooo close. Yet, impossibly far. 
Everywhere we had planned on being the next few days was miles and miles and miles down unpaved roads. 

Plan K. 
We go home. 
Plan K was quickly vetoed by all of us, obviously.

But what? 

Plan L.
We got out our maps and looked for anything and everything we could do from the safety of a paved road. We knew we'd have to leave a day early because we needed to get a new tire before we drove all the way home, but we were going to salvage this trip the best we could! Robby found us a few areas to explore, I found us an place to camp, and we were on the road again.

Plans M-Z. 
We played, explored, and roamed the desert. We looked for different rocks, flowers, lizards, and snakes(!) We crossed freezing cold water to marvel under a natural bridge. We threw up our tent beside the rocks and told stories under a full moon.

the perfect camping spot.
roaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com
a camping "bath"....it was freeeeezing.
roaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com
While things didn't go exactly at all as planned, we found a way! 
There is always a way.....will you find it?

Escalante National Monument
roaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.comroaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.comroaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.comroaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.comroaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.comroaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.comroaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.comroaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com

 Capitol Reef National Park
roaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.comroaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.comroaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com
roaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com
the first few taken with my phone, the rest were taken with my Mark II.
In Escalante Utah:
Stay/Eat at Escalante Outfitters. The cabin was only $45 for the night and the kids seriously loved it. They are super clean, there are showers and bathrooms (not IN the cabin, but nice to have), and we were very impressed with the pizza--lots of yummy toppings--not your basic greasy pizza.
worth hiking:
at the escalante river trail head (off highway 12, between Boulder UT and Escalante UT), hike about 2 miles up river and you'll see a large natural bridge to your left. You can explore underneath--my kids loved it. The trees were just barely budding and the water was freeeeeezing, but we still enjoyed this quick hike--it would be a good one for summer time.
in Escalante National Monument:
last year we explored Zebra slot canyon HERE. We were hoping to explore more slots this time....but we will be back. oh yes.
from the car:
Drive down the Burr Trail Road out of Boulder UT. There are several trailheads right off the road--some really great areas to get out and explore.
also from the car:
the entire drive down highway 12 is INCREDIBLE. Nothing like it on Earth.
Capitol Reef National Park:
We hit this our on our way home--we have driven through Capitol Reef several times, but we've never got out to explore. We only had time for a quick hike, and we chose the hike up to Cassidy Arch. The views from up top are incredible--I love watching the rock roll from red to white and back again. The hike is only a little over 3 miles round trip, but there is some elevation gain and you are in the sunshine the entire time so make sure to have lots of water.

As always, I have to recommend:
KEENS and CAMELBAKS for my kids
My love for CHACOS
roaming the desert // www.inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com
Any time I post about camping I get so many questions--from gear to food to all the in-betweens. I did a camping basic post a few years ago--check it out HERE.
If you still have questions, ask them in this post. If I get enough I will work on a post and compile all of the info together.
I often get questions about specific camping locations--if I want to share, all the info will be in the post, promise!.....if I want to keep it a secret then I just might do that too :)