Friday, April 15, 2011
all together now
part of the motivation for this year's trip revolved around wanting to share this place with some of our favorite people! we've done a few camping trips in the past with another family or two and it's been so much fun. and since there is a mass pilgrimage to the desert from lander each spring, we thought that surely we could round up some friends to join us this time around! not to mention, the logistics of getting a group site (via lottery on january 1st) are actually not as bad as trying to find an individual site sometimes-- it's a small, well designed area and even though there are few people that venture that far off the beaten path, it can still be hard to reliably find a site in the spring.
i would highly recommend the squaw flats group site (needles district) for anyone, with or without kids. the site itself is huge and it's a great mix of safe, easy spots for camping with little ones. there are very few hazards like prickly pear or big drop offs and most of the area is sandy (it's one big sandbox people). the entire site is nestled into a large rock band that acts as one giant fence to keep kids close by and it's set back off the road, so as to be quiet and safe. there are lots of great tent sites spread throughout, many of which you can't even see as they are hidden under or behind small groves of trees.
starting last year, we put out the word to anyone who might be interested in a trip this spring. the site can officially hold alot of people, and we had more people signed up than actually ended up going (because, well, life happens) in the end. but it all worked out perfectly and we were really happy with the whole process. camping with friends, and their kids, is a whole different ballgame than doing such a big trip solo. for starters, the day to day duties of camping with kids are so much easier when there are other people around. more people (especially playmates!) means more fun for the littles and less work for the grown ups. not to mention that with more people around, it's easier to get out and do things that we might not otherwise do if it were just the four of us (like a bike ride for phil or a morning run for me). it takes a village, as they say... and that can apparently apply to camping too.
of course, in our case this year, we were eternally grateful to have friends along (the older the girls get, the more fun it is for them to have friends to play with, other than us). they were also a huge help with isa, in keeping her entertained and happy. and great in helping us decide whether and when to pack up and head to town-- note to self: having atleast 5 out of 7 adults there with significant backcountry medicine and first aid experience is really great when your kid gets ill. objective opinions and combined experience can go a long way.