Sunday, June 03, 2012

Moab Memorial Day Camping

A favorite professor of mine, Lloyd Newell (you likely know him from Music and the Spoken Word), strongly believed in the importance of family traditions. No matter what the family make-up, research shows that traditions are the glue that hold families together. Over the years, Memorial Day camping has become a favorite tradition. Memorial Day has found us camping in Iowa (Wildcat Den State Park and Muscatine), Nebraska (Indian Cave State Park), Barcelona (Malgrat de Mar), Illinois (Little Grassy Lake), Tennessee (Great Smoky Mountains), Colorado (Glenwood Springs), and this year...Moab, Utah!

Now, I acknowledge that this blog has already extolled the virtues of Moab's slickrock ad nauseum. So, we'll try not to bore you with too many photos of arches and share a peek of Andrus/Wheeler camping peculiarities instead.

Let's start with Papa Kay's trademark gimmicks. Papa Kay came equipped with an entire BOX of gadgets clearly labeled as private so that no one else could spoil his surprises.

What do you think of the tongue spoon?
Seems like Grandpa's having a hard time keeping a straight face.
Brooklyn tries out the extendable fork--perfect for stealing your sister's meatball.
And the most annoying gimmick of the century--a yodeling pickle. Papa Kay nearly lost his marriage over this one.
And just for the sake of consistency, here are a few more favorite photos from this meal. NomiAnn, always busy taking care of us.
Talia's a natural multi-tasker: she can suck her finger and stir the spaghetti sauce at the same time.
And Jason, pouring out the charm as quickly as the water.
The next day, Papa Kay broke out the rocket balloons. I love how Papa Kay looks like a little kid with feet dangling off the giant bench. It seems a perfect representation of how these toys help him relive more youthful days.
Talia and Eli let one fly.
What joy!
These pictures were taken at the Moab Art festival.
But the fun wasn't done. We shot more rocket balloons at a park on our last afternoon. Eli was particularly entranced.
Running to fetch.
This park had an absolutely fantastic music theme.
The kids loved all the marimbas, xylophones, drums, bells, and chimes--almost as much as me. :)
Back to Papa Kay's gizmos, he unwisely pulled out the silly string.
Surely he expected retribution!
Cleaning up the aftermath.
Lest anybody might feel bored, Papa Kay came equipped with soda pop geysers.
Talia gets ready to pull the string.
The actual result was a bit anti-climactic. Next time we'll have to try Diet Coke.
There were crafts for quieter moments, like these fun Bendaroos.
Eli enjoyed lacing his truck.
And of course, the ultimate Papa Kay stand-by: orange Tic Tacs.
This sweet fodder gave the kids enough energy to tackle the two-mile Grand View Overlook trail. Here they are surveying the premises.
Brooklyn with the binoculars.
Sure a long way down.
Aw, come on. You knew it couldn't be my blog without posting pictures of at least one hike.
This was our first experience in Canyonlands National Park. The Island in the Sky district was so beautiful!
The kids were particularly excited to become Junior Rangers.
NomiAnn looks out over the white rim trail. (I have dreams of biking this someday.)
Kara, the camel.
Brooklyn helped Eli for quite a while along our journey.
Wow, that's a big step for such little legs!
Time for Brooklyn to forge ahead on her own.
While it took a while, Eli walked the entire first leg by himself, squishing many ants in the process... When we finally arrived, he felt so proud!
Eli and his "Mommy-Man."
Jason, Kara, and Talia.
Gazing out from the point.
Mother and daughter, Cathy and Kara.
Jason on the trek back. Talk about buff!
Papa Kay maps out our route home.
We spent a lot of together time squished in the back of the RAV.
So long as the road was paved, Brooklyn was quite happy.
Of course, Papa Kay wasn't the only source of entertainment. Here are Brooklyn and Talia trekking to the campground pool.
Brooklyn floats.
Talia splashes.
And Eli ponders whether or not to get in.
Eli floats by his toes...
...while NomiAnn basks in the sun. Doesn't she look great?
Of course, when we look back on Memorial Day camping 2012, the thing that we might remember most is this: Dirt.
Who needs a toy when you can drive a rock along the dust interstate?
Such lashes!
So, it's hard to describe the wind storms that sent grime flying into every conceivable crevice. You kind of had to live through it to believe it. The 60 mph gusts coated everything with a thick layer of dust, ranging from our pots and pans to the sleeping bags inside our tents. For a day and a half, every mouthful of food crunched from the grit. When we turned on the AC, a big puff of dirt came shooting back out at us. And our trip to Arches? Well, we drove out to the Windows section...
...and tried to hike, but had to turn back early when the stinging dirt nearly blew us off the mountain. Here are Brooklyn and Talia hiding in an alcove.
Unsure of how to spend the rest of our windy day, we went for a long drive through some back roads. These sapphire blue lakes are actually used in the mining of potash.
It seemed quite strange to run across this random guy working security in the middle of nowhere until we came across this movie set. While we can't guarantee it, I'm pretty darn sure this is where Johnny Depp is filming the Lone Ranger. I heard rumors that they were casting extras, particularly the extra-tall and extra-small. And to think, I might have joined show biz alongside my sister!
Keep your eyes peeled for this landscape in the movie.
Looking over the Colorado River.
NomiAnn peeks through the sunroof.
After many miles of off-roading, we finally arrived in Canyonlands National Park.
Not quite sure how we were supposed to pay a fee. Leave it by the cactus?
Unfortunately, the road soon became impassable. Despite being 4WD, the RAV definitely is not high clearance. Time to turn around and head home for 'smores and a dusty campfire. Just when we thought we couldn't survive the grit a moment longer, morning dawned bright and clear. Since we hadn't actually seen much of Arches due to the wind, we headed back in for some more hiking and this beautiful view of Balanced Rock.
All too soon, it was time to pack up and make the long drive home. Everyone was tired, right NomiAnn?
Zoe and adoptive pug-parents, we'll miss you!
And one last pretty picture of the girls to tide you over until we meet again.
NomiAnn and Papa Kay, thanks for yet another great Memorial Day camping trip. Camping is certainly a lot of work (especially when it's so dirty), yet the memories make it all worthwhile.


Julie L said...

What a great weekend. The dust maybe not. But everything else, yes, definitely! Glad you got to go. And I am so so impressed with the great things your dad brought along. How fun is that????

Tanja said...

Thank you so much for posting these pictures. Looking at them might not be as good as being there - but they give you the feeling that the world is just great and full of surprises and very very beautiful.

Callie said...

Looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing so much of your time with us wherever we are. We love you all!

Rachel and Todd said...

Oh I miss you guys so much! You are such a fun family. I hope all is well for you. It sure looks it. :)

Anonymous said...

With the exception of those photos featuring a clowning grandpa, these snapshots are real keepsakes. Let the tradition continue! I suppose you already look forward to being awakened by the serene voice of a yodeling pickle outside your tent. Don't worry, you will not get much sleep anyway after someone tells a ghost story presenting episode two of "The Flesh-Eating Flies"!