Camping in Vegas
We spent Easter week of 2014 camping amidst the Red Rocks just north of Las Vegas. I never knew that there was such beauty in that area. The mention of Sin City conjures up either a crowded highway littered with billboards that we hurriedly navigate on our way to or from California, or a surreal streetwalk of flashing lights and neon signs at night time. I could hardly believe that the Red Rocks National Conservation Area was so close by. Take an exit and head north. Suddenly there are wild cactus flowers and joshua trees and jackrabbits and lizards, not to mention the massive rock formations that boast their jagged edges and layers of scrambling opportunities against a sunny sky.
The children had a marvelous time exploring our camp site, as well as the wilderness beyond.
Still in the forefront of my mind:
~~ The way Tiern would crouch down close to the dirt and investigate the smallest vegetation and pieces of rock and dirt. As Dadoo was packing the car on the last day, Tiern excitedly cried out, “I found something!” and came running over with that Something gingerly held between his thumb and forefinger. I had a slight moment of panic, afraid he might be fearlessly handling a baby black widow or scorpion. But I should have known better. Tiern knew what those looked like. No, this was a “baby praying mantis!” Dadoo exclaimed. “How did you find that?!”
“I just looked, and it was right there!” Tiern replied, incredibly proud.
A few minutes later, Little Miss echoed the phrase with, “Oh! I see some-fin.” I followed her gaze to the gravel under our shady pavilion, where she was now pointing. This time, it was a scorpion! I congratulated her on not picking it up, and Dadoo hastily captured the venomous creature in a box and released him behind the camping area.
~~ The way Little Miss would heedlessly play in the sand, covering herself with a fine layer of dust which thickened over parts of her cheeks and knees. However, whenever she used our makeshift Hand-Washing-Station, the tiny splashes of water that touched her shoes greatly upset her.
“Dry off my feet, too, Mama,” she would direct me as I toweled off her hands.”Oh, they’ll dry off in the sunshine,” I told her early on in the trip.
One evening before bed, we left the coziness of the campfire to make one last bathroom run, after which I helped her wash her hands. Again, she asked me to dry off her feet and shoes.
“We don’t need to use the towel on your dirty shoes. They’ll dry off eventually,” I reminded her.
“MaMA!” she responded, exasperated. “The sun can only dry them off; not the MOON!”
~~ The way Dood Locka loved the 50 mph gusts of wind on the afternoon of the first full day. Tiern ran and danced in the blowing sand with his cousin, Little Miss huddled in front of me with eyes tightly shut while I blocked her from its strength, and Locka sat triumphant on a blanket, shrieking with delight, and holding up both of his arms as if to catch the power of the wind.
~~ The crackling warmth and smoky smell of the campfire in the evenings after the children were sleeping, when Dadoo and I had time. Real, elongated periods of TIME! We sat close and chatted in the dark, open air of the desert, confident in the safe coziness of our children less than thirty feet away, exhausted and dreaming in the tent.
This collection of photos will always bring us back in time to this amazing trip. Some of the best memories, though, were not captured with digital images.