The Insider's Guide to Family Camping
|Hoodoo Magic: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah|
Marching into Bryce Canyon National Park's multi-colored amphitheater of hoodoos, I was distracted by a wilderness of worry. I was taking my two precious children, ages six and eight, into terrain unlike anything they'd ever encountered back home among the New England landscape of pastoral fields, relatively gentle slopes, and rugged shoreline. Far from the pedestrian traffic that clogs up Bryce's popular Queen's Garden and Rim trails, the plan was to walk into our own slice of paradise, camping under the sublime Western sky. Yet, for the moment, the weight of parental responsibility was getting the better of me, and I was obsessively revisiting the equipment checklist before we got too far from civilization.
Waterproof matches. Check.
Iodine pills. Check.
Kool-Aid mix. Check.
Did I bring the gorp? Man, I hope its not back in the hotel.
"Wow, look at that hoodoo, dude!" yelled my youngest, Melanie, coaxing me out of my silly neurosis. I peered up at a towering totem pole of rock, some 25 feet tall, ringed with ribbons of orange and red.
"Let's take a picture," said Jake, throwing off his pack. "Yes, indeed," I answered. "We're in no rush."
For parents, there's that initial moment on a camping trip when you feel like General Patton, prepared and ready to march into battle. Fortunately, your kids quickly pull you back to the present and the realization that you're on vacation amidst spectacular scenery, not fighting the Germans in Tunisia. Once you relax and let go of all your incessant duties, you can (and should) savor the moment. After all, a perfect camping trip is like a perfect marriage. Non-existent. So sit back and let the chips fall where they may. Years from now, you'll be cherishing those moments and laughing at the many mishaps, like the time I made a deluxe salmon dinner in the forests of Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula, only to see it literally flow away in a flash flood.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication