You know, I've tried a lot of things to deal with my anxiety over family issues in the past. I've gone to counseling. I've turned to food. I've turned to drink. I've turned to television sit-coms. But until last week, I'd never tried heading out into the cold winter wilderness for a little tent camping. It certainly got my mind off any worries I had related to family and holiday stress!
Thanks to the Cub Scouts, and to WalMart for our new 8-person tent - we had a great time! As we entered Valley of Fire State Park, we exited the norm of pre-holiday craziness.
You've heard of "The Love Shack?" This is "The Love Tent." We were very happy here for two nights. And you can't see it in this photo, but there is a small hole in the tent in the lower right hand corner where a hungry mouse chewed through to help himself to my trail mix. I can handle mice. Bears, notsomuch. But mice are fine.
There were lots of families on the trip, but we had a nice little set-up with our friends the Rickards. So this is an ode to our two families. Not to be confused with Ralph Lauren, which would make no sense whatsoever on the red desert floor.
Here's a little shot of our "neighborhood". You can see Cayna running toward the tents. You can also see the beautiful rocks all around.
Speaking of rocks, the kids had a blast climbing all of them. If you put on your specs, you can see tiny Joe waaaaaay up on this one. About three fourths of the way up on the right. He really liked to perch there and look down on us.
I greeted the rising sun on Saturday morning. It was exhilarating to be up so early for a good reason!
AND I greeted the rising sun on Sunday morning. (We had gone to bed about 7:15 on Saturday night.) I'm telling you, with the cold temperatures and the lack of other responsibilities, you start going to bed and getting up with the sun like the pioneers of old. (Well, at least the pioneers who didn't have to stand watch for Indians and wolves all night.)
And speaking of Indians, here is some of their artwork. No one was there to translate, so Kevin and I decided that's a fallopian tube on the left. Some antelope. A cinnamon roll. A trapeze artist. And some allusion to their addition skills. Put those all together and I bet you'd unlock a mystery of the universe.
As I stated earlier, this was a Cub Scout function, (not just a getaway for me from my holiday "issues"). So here you see Joe helping fold the flag on the last morning as we packed up to go home.
You will note, or you should, that there are no photos of me. While this is sad, it is for the better, and let me tell you why. I didn't brush my teeth for 48 hours. There were no sinks, and no running water except from a too-distant spigot. Normally, I am very obsessive about tooth-brushing, and can't sleep unless my pearly whites are clean. But I threw all my normal hang-ups to the wind on this trip. I'd like to say it was liberating. But mostly it was just icky.
Also, it was VERY cold and VERY windy. So the whole weekend I wore my favorite cozy warm green hat to cover my ears and contain my hair and make me look like a court jester. And, the final reason there are no photos of me --- I looked mildly traumatized the entire time due to the very-scary pit toilets. Cayna and I developed a system where we talked or sang to each other during bathroom visits to keep distracted from the horror of the pit. And we survived! Wind-burnt, slightly frostbitten, and aptly distracted from the stress that otherwise precedes the major holidays. What a successful weekend.