|From l-r: J, N, niece K, D, and my mom's arm|
Those kids are now 7, 16, 17, and 18, and the boys can barely get their legs in the back row.
No way would this trip work now.
Our first stop was Bent's Old Fort in Colorado. The costumed interpreters gave us a hard time about our modern clothing, and we had a wonderful tour guide. I could have listened to him the entire day. The kids...not so much. It was a great chance to get some history and stretch our legs.
My sister-in-law planned the trip, booking us at KOAs across Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. They certainly aren't national park campgrounds, but at least you kind of know what you're getting from them. Our first camping site was in Alamosa, CO, where we parked our little caravan.
|Our camper is the nearest one|
We spent a day exploring Great Sand Dunes National Park. The "tallest dunes in North America" were amazing. They just went on and on. We had brought sleds because my SIL had heard of people using them to slide down the dunes. Ours didn't work so well, which was disappointing, but the kids made do with rolling, diving, and jumping down the dunes.
|Part of the group relazing on the dunes|
|Me and my mom after the hike|
Our next stop was Cortez, CO and Mesa Verde. Amazing. My absolute favorite part of our entire trip. I could have spent two weeks just there.
|In a kiva with the kids|
|We got to climb up this ladder on one of the cliff dwelling tours!|
We spent three nights in Moab. I could have spent a lot longer there, especially now that I spend more time on a bike. Our first day was spent in Arches National Park. So beautiful.
|Our carload. I love the way that D's head is resting on my shoulder. |
You can imagine that doesn't happen much any more.
|We made good use of the baby backpack.|
|There was a huge dropoff behind the rocks behind us.|
|J (right) and his cousin A at Bryce Canyon. They're almost exactly 2 years apart.|
|Pouty N hiking among the hoodoos|
|D was a happier camper|
|How did we get into this again?|
Our last stop was the Grand Canyon. Both Jeff and I had been there in the past and loved it; he's even gotten to hike down and camp at the bottom, while I only went halfway down with friends. For me, though, it was almost disappointing. We had seen so many fantastic things and places on the trip that I think it lost a little of its luster. I'm sure it didn't help that we were just plain travel weary by then as well. Jeff would be driving through the parks and stopping at each scenic overlook to take pictures. After a while, the kids and I would just tell him, "It's OK...we can see it from the car."
|N. got to celebrate his 11th birthday at the Grand Canyon|
|We hiked a short way down on the Bright Angel trail|
|J at the campground in Williams, AZ.|