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    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Un-Camping and Other Adventures

    Why does it take more than a week to recover from being out of town for three days? Maybe the recovery time is proportionate to the number of children taken on the trip and the intensity of activity performed. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

    Last week our family went on an un-camping trip to the Sand Dunes in the southwestern section of Colorado. There were no campsites available so *insert dramatic sigh* we HAD to stay in a hotel. This suited me just fine. I don’t even like to be outside in my own backyard, so having an indoor pool, TV, and comfy bed instead of a sleeping bag was definitely my kind of “camping.” We even had a microwave in our room so we were able to make s’mores. I know some of you outdoor, granola types are rolling your eyes, but this city girl enjoyed her warm showers, thank you very much.

    The boys loved the sand and the undulating creek. They each brought an entire dune home in their pockets. I had to use that fire-fighting nozzle attachment on the garden hose to clean their clothes out. I considered using it on them, but thought peeling the top layer of their skin off was going a bit too far.

    All three of my boys have affectionate relationships with water. Chunky loves it with the enthusiasm of a typical 6-year-old. It seems to tame the ADHD beast in Monkey. Get him near water and he’s happy. And Kory could sit by a lake and throw pebbles in for hours. I think it has something to do with the fact that most of the time his brain is crowded by all things technical and engineer-y. When he’s in nature, simple pleasures take over.

    But my water-crazy boys got a little out of hand when we hiked up to Zapata Falls, a 30 foot waterfall cutting through a rock crevasse south of the Sand Dunes. Monkey and Chunky whined all the way up the half mile hike from the trailhead but stopped complaining as soon as they spied the rushing, frigid stream. Kory hiked upstream and into the cave to see the actual falls while the boys and I scrambled over rocks and caught tiny blue butterflies. Only one butterfly didn’t survive the experience.

    When Kory came back—his feet numb from the just-melted snow—we went downstream to the sluice gate where a deep, icy pool overflows its barriers and tumbles on down the mountain. Kory introduced the boys to his favorite water-related activity, throwing rocks, then he set off to explore the surrounding area.
    Things got out of hand fast. My boys quickly tired of throwing pebbles and small stones into the pool. Everybody knows bigger things make better splashes. Soon they were digging up the largest rocks they could find and carting them over to the edge.

    I twitched as I watched my kids lug heavy stones to the pool, teeter on the rim, then hoist the rocks into the water. Back and forth I went between Monkey and Chunkey, who naturally had chosen separate spots for their aquatic experiments.

    Kory’s exploration had taken him out sight, but finally he returned.“Whew,” I thought. Now I have another set of hands to shadow my daredevil boys.

    Nope. Wrong. Kory began helping the kids dig up bigger and bigger rocks. When the stones were too heavy for the boys, he carried them over and launched them into the clear, green depths himself.

    There are times when a mom of only boys feels very alone with her femininity. I knew it was pointless to bring up my reservations about safety, so I contented myself with watching very closely and taking pictures.


    Kersley Fitzgerald said...

    Yeah, see, I'd have been looking around for the best place to make a dam.

    Sara said...

    I've been there! And I've swam in that pool (both the one in the "cave" and the the one by the sluice gate)--talk about freezing!