Last week was Axels Outdoor Ed field trip and I was dreading the prospect of having to once again pitch our tent onto a soggy manure field. I was also feeling a desperate need to bond with Axel, whose melt chocolate sweet eyes have turned so angry lately because I am not fun anymore and always working.
I called Barbara and Frank to tell them that I was heading off to the desert and asked if they would care to join me. When they said yes I breathed a big sigh of relief. It is true that I can be quite adventurous and spontaneous but sometimes I leave too much into the hands of luck and fate and thinking that I would be fine on my own camping with my children and Muki was down right delusional.
We took off in the late morning with Barbara and Frank following behind, trailing their camper. As we got closer to Moab it began to pour and I became nervous. I had not had the time to do my research and who was I to lead my in-laws to the perfect camping spot anyway? As most of you already know, I am the? youngest in my family and I ain’t no leader.
Even though the rain was putting a damper on our adventure, I drove by the Sorrel River Ranch and smiled thinking to myself, “been there, done that.” As dirty as it may be to camp in the red rock, the only way to really be enveloped by its beauty is to camp in it.
I drove up Onion Creek road breaking into a sweat with my heart palpitating. I really didn’t want to have to get out of the car in the pouring rain and admit defeat letting them in on the truth, that their son had married a certifiable nincompoop.
A car drove up and I flagged him down to ask if I remembered correctly that there were camping sites up ahead. He smiled softly and reassured me that there were beautiful campsites but as he studied Vini-Man he forewarned me that we might not make all of the river crossings that were forming. I thanked him for showing up out of nowhere in the pouring rain to assuage my fears and as he closed his window I could have sworn that I saw little white wings fluttering behind him.
Barbara and Frank parked in the first camp spot we found and I continued up the road with the children to see if we could find the perfect camp spot. The stream crossings became wider and deeper the higher up the road we got and as the boys squealed in delight to forge forward, I fought back images of headlines in the paper saying, Mom, thinking shes Indiana Jones, gets swept away in flash flood with children and puppy.
Finally, I turned around and went back to our original spot teaching the boys that it is important to know when to turn around and heed the warning signals that danger could be imminent.
The weekend was magical with the boys running around on the rocks catching lizards and getting into the dirt on their bikes while Barbra, Frank and I sat in our ring of camping chairs watching the light change on the rocks while memories of our childhood flowed into stories.
“Don’t follow me. You’ll Never Make it.”
In the next few days we took two magnificent four mile hikes, one in Fisher Towers and the other in Negro Bill Canyon, named after William Granstaff who was a mixed-race cowboy in the late 1870s. Granstaff fled the area after being charged with bootlegging whiskey to the Indians.
In the evenings, we toasted marshmallows by the fire built by Grandpa and Axel and then we rode out the sugar storms. It wasnt easy to convince Tucker that he was the lucky one to be sleeping with Grandma and Grandpa in the cozy camper while Axel and I slept cramped in the tent with Muki and her crate, So Axel is the unlucky one? he said between sobs and he cried himself to sleep saying to Grandma, Im never ever, ever, ever, ever, going to get to sleep with mommy in the tent.
When I crawled back into the tent with Axel he said, Mommy, sometimes I miss you even when you are right near me, and I told him that I felt that same emotion all of the time and we hugged and kissed until we fell asleep and I made a silent prayer thanking Grandma and Grandpa for making this trip all that I had hoped it would be.