It’s amazing how easily we slide into our “camping roles” each year. This morning Charlie and Dave woke up early and started the fire. Charlie busied himself making hot chocolate and his “Signature Toast” which he roasts over the fire with a roasting stick, then slathers on butter and lawry’s seasoned salt. This, he serves up warm and toasty to Morgan, her majesty, in bed! I can’t be too critical though, as I think she must get it from me: I was directly across from her, snuggled into my own fleece-lined sleeping bag, propped up reading Shantaram, sipping my coffee that was made by Dave and served by Charlie! No wonder I love camping so much! It’s the best!
We lounged around and headed back to the Dunes around 10 am… or was it 9? I don’t know because I’m not sure which clocks have been set back and which haven’t. The Dunes are so amazing. Pictures don’t do them justice. Or at least MY pictures don’t do them justice. I remember being enthralled with them the first time we visited in 2004, but since that time, I’ve been to the Grand Canyon. And I’ve gotta say, I’m more impressed with the Sand Dunes than I was with the Grand Canyon. I can’t help it. I just am. Plus, they are just so fun! Maybe it’s because I had seen so many pictures of the Grand Canyon and knew what to expect and I really had no idea whatsoever that those sand dunes even existed. We saw a lot of Middle Eastern people there and I was thinking that maybe the dunes were less impressive for them…
Anyway, we came upon a family that we spoke with the night before in the sandstorm. Their kids and ours started talking and playing, even though the kids were much younger. The best one-liners from the trip came from Danté and Eric. Danté — “nearly 10” — educated Morgan and Charlie about the drought in Texas while Eric, who seemed quite taken with Morgan, kept calling her “Merlin” and making spitballs out of sand. Pretty gross, actually.
The dunes were getting pretty toasty on our tootsies by 11:30, so we headed back to camp, packed up and pointed the car west to Pagosa Springs, stopping at Wolf Creek for a brief lunch (yes, yes, out of the cooler again). In Pagosa, Jennie got her much-sought-after outdoor solar shower and Dave bought some fly-fishing flies from a guy who was over 7 feet tall. I actually grabbed my iphone to take a sneaky photo, but then I thought better of it. I figured people like me must make him feel like a freak all the time. Thinking back on it now, I just wish I had taken the stupid picture.
Anyway. We headed off to our land in Piñon Hills Ranch, which I hadn’t seen since we bought it about 4 years ago. I was excited, but the kids could not have cared less. As we drove over the creek and into the gates (everything is gated down there and it makes me wonder what they are all afraid of) Morgan was watching Rent for the 5th or 6th time and Charlie was pissing and moaning about her constant singing, facial expressions and hand movements. (Thinking back on this now, I wish I had counted how many times I yelled “JUST STOP LOOKING AT HER AND IGNORE HER.” Because that was day two out of 8 days and she never stopped watching Rent or singing.)
I do still love the land. I wasn’t sure if I would, but I do. What I find amazing is that after all this time there are still only 2 houses out of 42 lots. So you really can’t get a feel for what it will be like someday and whether it will still feel as remote and private. What sets it apart from any other place I’ve ever been right now, aside from great views, is the crazy quiet. Aside from the noise being made by us, better known as the Loud Family, there was nothing: no dogs, no birds, no planes, no cars, no water. Nothing. Charlie promptly stated, “I like this place because you can talk loud.” Need I even mention that he said it loudly?
We set-up in the “cul de sac.” (Sagebrush prevents any aggressive and inventive placement of the pop-up like normal). Then, we went to the river to fish while morgan washed her hair. I, however, waited until we got back to soap up and used my new solar shower. It was AWESOME!
We made green curry with chicken (my personal camping favorite), then hung around our first fire. Morgan saw what she thought was a firefly, but turned out to be what looked like a baby tarantula (its eyes blinked?). The spider totally freaked Charlie out, but we calmed him down enough to have a few s’mores. Then to bed! The day was hot – 90-ish. the night was cool – 45-ish.