and the starry skies above...
Anyway, the washing machine is happily humming and my boys are asleep in an actual bed. My little girl is enthusiastically digging into a sculpey, paper, and marker project - she sobbed for missing her art supplies while we were gone. For the record, I don't actually expect anyone but my dad to read all of this, but it's here if you are super bored.
- Where? Red River, New Mexico in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The high in the summer time reaches the low eighties with night time temps in the upper 30s - it's a nice way to break up the long hot summer. It's also a perfect balance of roughing it and not. We stay at the River Ranch Campgrounds just outside town. They have super clean bathrooms (yeah, a must for some of us) and a friendly staff. Just don't expect them to bend any of their rules. The best part of the town is that it offers things like a handful of coffee and doughnut shops, pizza places, and even a couple of nice dining options. When we got tired of hot dogs (or carrots and hummus) and s'mores you can drive into town for a civilized meal. There are also plenty of other lodging options. We are tent people. I think it's a good experience for children to be totally unplugged for a while. I finally purchased a decent sleeping bag from LL Bean and had no problem keeping warm.
- What we did: My husband and Lucy rode the ski lift, which is a little breathtaking for me. He also took her on a race car track thing (?) We hiked about halfway up to Middle Fork Lake - a beautifully clear lake, but a bit of a challenging hike for two little ones. We made it as far as a gorgeous waterfall. The bridge was washed out, so we didn't press on any further.
- There's plenty of cute shops in town, horseback riding etc.
- The next day, I took Lucy on another hike to some old abandoned mines. We had explored these several times before and it's just kind of neat. At the start of the hike, we saw several garbage bags torn and strewn all over the mountain with accompanying bear tracks, so I chickened out on letting Lucy go too far into the mines. I don't know if a bear would hang out in an old mine, but I can't say it wouldn't for certain. We've only run into one bear up there and it didn't bother us at all, but again. It's my daughter.
The next day we headed down to Taos, one of my favorite cities. It's so very funky, with the strong artsy vibe, yummy Northern New Mexican food, and beautiful landscape. My husband and I have been rafting twice with Los Rios River Runners and we decided that Lucy and I should try the milder, race course trip this time. I am not a good enough writer to describe how much fun we had. We loved our guide (as usual). He was very welcoming and friendly to Lucy. He also gave us a thorough history of the geology in the area, the plant life, and the history. Lucy squealed and laughed with every rapid (as did I). I cannot recommend this strongly enough. I think it gave Lucy a confidence boost. And frankly, it did the same for me. That's sort of why we did it and why we made it a girl thing. I work hard to create a strong mother/daughter bond. I hope that she grows up to be a confident woman and think she needs a good role model. It's a role I am totally faking as I go along, but she doesn't have to know how scared I was to take her on my own. She will just remember the great time we had together doing something a little daring. And she'll remember the ride on a school bus, her first and something she's always wanted to do.
While in Taos, we ate at The Apple Tree which was every bit as good as I had read. My husband said it was the best burger he ever had. I personally enjoyed their signature salad. Wow. And we shopped around at the cool little shops, marveling at the size and color of the flower blossoms.
There are a lot of other great moments; the romance of my husband roasting the perfect marshmallow for me, the cozy cuddly wonder of my whole little family sleeping in a warm pile of sleeping bags, my babies peacefully dozing right on top of me for warmth, watching Linus hike with his little walking stick refusing to be carried and the fun of watching a little boy light up just from throwing rocks into the water. Of course, there was the shock of realizing that ten years ago it was just my husband and I and now here we are with an almost-seven year old daughter and an almost-three year old son. Lucy has been to Red River now three times. And she just refuses to stop growing, no matter how much I beg.
The sky cleared on the last night and reminded me of the line from that 10,000 Maniacs song, "The stars were so many there, they seemed to overlap."
Things we didn't miss: Email, TV, phone, lights, frankly none of it. I even refused to buy a newspaper or magazine so I could just be for a while. No planning, no creativity, no books at all.
Things I did miss: My parents and siblings. It won't ever be the same with out them there with us.
I have nearly 400 photos from the trip, so who knows what will show up on Flickr tomorrow. Tonight? Well, the laundry needs to be switched and my bed needs to be slept in.
My little Linus seems to be as frequent a photographer as his mommy. It was hilarious to see what he thought worthy of a photo - "A pisser a sky, Mommy!" "A pisser a me!" The above photo is one of his. :)