Red Rock Canyon State Park

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Friday March 24, 2017

Friday was here. It was time to head out to Red Rock Canyon State Park to meet up with the Williams. We had been looking forward to this trip for a couple months now and it was here! The Williams left early Friday morning to grab a spot as it is first come first serve. No reservations can be made. We left around 1 PM and made are way out of the central valley and into the desert.

The drive was not too bad. It would take us about 3 hours normally, but due to rain and spotty traffic, we ended up arriving at 545 PM. The Williams claimed camp site number 7 upon our arrival, which you have to walk in “150 feet.” The 150 Feet was a running joke as it was more like 150 yards. However, this did not cause us problems at all. In fact the site being tucked away was well worth the short walk. The kids could play and easily been seen. The site was not next to the road, so major plus there too. Another plus was you could not hear any of the other campsites partying away. I would claim that site again as no driving cars by your site means less dust!

Arriving, I hauled out the ice chest with the night’s dinner. We were going to rotate dinners each night that we were there. The first night was ours and we prepared “hobo dinners” for everyone. Essentially this is a meat of your choice with potatoes, carrots, peppers, and onions. You wrap it in aluminum foil and cook on the fire. The aluminum will rise and steam will seep out. Give it another 5 to 10 minutes and the food is fully ready. It was delicious too and not much was left over.

Once dinner was completed and our truck unloaded, I set up our sleeping area in the truck. The mattress is a nice plus to have that forms to the bed of the truck. We enjoyed our nights together as a family. However, before going to sleep we all stayed up chatting and roasting marshmallows. We had s’mores too, which everyone enjoyed. Dark and milk chocolate was melted and placed on toasted graham crackers with marshmallows. Mmm mmm they were good.

There were so many stars that night as the constant wind kept the air clear. In fact the wind only slowed down in the evening. At one point it did stop for about 30 minutes. We all worse our jackets while we continued to share stories and catch up after not seeing each other for so long. I put a headlamp on Jaden, so he could run out in the desert with Teddy and Reese without worry. Granted, they didn’t go that far from the camp but it was nice to be able to track them.

It was now 9 PM and bed time was at hand. Jaden, who didn’t take a nap in the truck, was a walking zombie. He wanted to keep playing with Teddy and Reese but his body was always fighting to go to bed. I took him to get ready for bed while Diana stayed up in camp. Jaden was out within about 10 minutes of being in bed. The excitement of camping in the truck woke him up a little bit haha. Before going to bed, he said he loved camping. Music to my ears. Diana eventually came into bed around 1030 PM.

Saturday March 25, 2017

The next day we woke up to Jaden crying. His lips were dried out and chapped. Granted he was licking them yesterday so that did not help staying out in the windy desert that evening. We had some lip balm to help him and he quickly returned to sleep. It was around 545 AM when he woke up with the lip pain but slept in till about 730. I was up at 630 and just played on my phone for a bit while enjoying the sunrise.

The family was up and going shortly after 730 AM. We got dressed, did the morning routine, and hiked up to the campsite. There we heard the Williams were up too, but in their tent. The wind was still blowing, but not nearly as hard as it was the evening prior. I placed some hot water on the stove and made oatmeal for Diana, Jaden, and I. Water was continually being boiled that morning for coffee, tea, and hot chocolate too. Cole made a dozen scrambled eggs for everyone to eat too. Nicely full we enjoyed chatting some more while the kids played. Just shy of noon, we packed up our day packs and headed out for the Hagen Trail.

The Hagen Trail is a ¾ mile loop through Hagen Canyon. It is a very easy walk, which was perfect for socializing while watching the kids run all over. The wildflowers were out too, so the variety of color was a pleasant view.

Reese held Jaden’s hand most of the hike. He would pull him along, which Jaden happily followed. He would read the signs for her and distinguish which way to go. They would both look for flowers and different types of vegetation. There were other people out there too and taking photos of the bloom. Cole and I agreed that we were about a week or two at the most early for the full bloom. Many plants were budded and ready to open, but did not while we were there. Still the aroma that some of the flowers produced was very potent. The trail was soon complete and back to camp we went for lunch.

Lunch was sharing food and trying different mixes. I had a couple sandwiches and plenty of veggies to snack on. Chips with salsa were opened and shared with all. Both of our families brought enough food to stay out well beyond 3 days, so we enjoyed feasting and snacking all afternoon. Then came the afternoon sleepiness.

All of us did take naps though for at least an hour or more. I was tired and slept some. Jaden and Diana were out for almost 2 hours. Not wanting to wake them up, I checked my phone for updates and played a game until they were up. Once everyone in the truck was awake, we got out and resumed our time with the Williams.

Dinner was soon upon us and salmon burgers were on the menu. The wind provided some challenges, but did not overcome our ways of getting the food cooked and eating underway. The wind felt colder that night and so we were bundled up even more for the remainder of the evening.

Since it was our last night, we used up all the wood and indulged in s’more making. It was hard to tell who enjoyed it more, the kids or the adults. Nevertheless, the chocolate bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers were going fast. Once consumed, we continued solving the world’s problems haha. The stars were more visible this night without the patchy clouds the prior evening. We could see Mars in the west and Jupiter in the east. It was a great evening together again and 9 PM was everyone’s bed time.

Sunday March 26, 2017

The last day we had to be out of the campsite by noon. Diana slept in while Jaden and I went up to camp. The usual routine ensued by heating up water. Kelly was up and said Cole was going to make a large breakfast for everyone. I only had snacks then for Jaden and I until it was ready.

In the meantime I climbed up a small hill with the kids and took them back down the back side to explore. Teddy and Reese had not be down part of it so it was all new to them. Their parents continued to prepare the breakfast while I was away.

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Cole and Kelly made cooked some grilled onions, potatoes, and mushrooms in one pot and scrambled eggs with ham in another. It was very delicious and Diana almost missed it. However, I went down to the truck to see how she was doing and told her. She quickly got ready and made it in time. Everyone was full. Shortly after finishing up breakfast it was time to break down camp and get ready to leave.

Taking down camp took about 1 to 2 hours to complete. We all ended at the same time though, so that was good. As we were departing, we decided to swing over to the famous “Red Rocks” for a group photo. Here we said our final goodbyes and that we would have to do this again soon and not in another 6 years. Jaden recommended we camp for 10 days next time too.

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