Friday, April 15, 2016

Valley of Fire, New Mexico (Friday)

On Friday, we left the hotel about 8:30 A.M. We had about 4 hours of driving to do and our campsite at Valley of Fire was first come, first served instead of having a reservation.  As it was Easter weekend, we were a bit nervous that there might not be any sites available if we didn't get there relatively early.  So the morning was spent driving (and listening to Candy Shop Wars:  Arcade Catastrophe on CD). 

We arrived around 12:30-1 at Valley of Fire at the Malpais Campground.  We set up camp and had lunch.  After we'd eaten lunch, we went to explore the area.  There's a 1 mile loop walk with signs.  The whole area was formed by volcanic activity.  It was pretty cool.  So we took the mile loop and enjoyed reading about the area, the animals that inhabit the area and some of the plants.  There are 5 types of bats that live in the area.  We hoped to maybe see some of them at night but didn't.  I did see a ground squirrel in the distance but no one else saw it. 

My cute girls and I.  How I love them!  I'm so glad I was able to spend this time with them and see so many amazing things.  I'm so blessed to be their mom!

I really loved watching Gabby's friendship with Daphne.

 After the mile loop, we climbed a very short trail to a scenic overlook.  Michelle and Ella didn't want to walk anymore so they sat in the car.  The rest of us enjoyed the view.
Our cars...thankful for such a dependable car.  We've had it now for 8 years and it's great!

 Then we headed back to our campsite.  We had the afternoon to just relax.  We roasted hot dogs and made a couple of Mountain Home just add water meals. We made Smores.  Annette got out her hammock and everyone took turns relaxing in the hammock. The kids played Red Rover and Mother, May I.  Later, the kids played Kick the Can.  I read.  The kids dug in the dirt.  It was relaxing and the weather was fantastic.  Relaxing day/evening.

Yum!  Smores!

 After dinner, Annette and I explored the area above/behind our campsite for a little bit while the kids played and Michelle supervised.  (We didn't go far...within earshot the whole time).

Without a blow dryer and straightener, my hair was a bit crazy the whole trip.  But it was worth looking a little disheveled to have these experiences!

After we had gone exploring, most of the kids wanted to go explore as well.

I stayed at camp and watched Davlynn.

Another good day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My Favorite Part of the Trip!

I loved Bandelier and Chaco Canyon.  But the part I was most excited about and that I thought was most amazing was Carlsbad Caves.  It was incredible.  The caves are huge!  Enormous.  We took the self-guided tour because children under 4 can't go on the ranger led tours.  The self-guided tour was between 3-4 miles round trip.  This cave is so big and so majestic.  (And the kids were tired about 3/4 of the way there was definitely some whining in the last half.  But still, how incredibly amazing the caves were!)

So I apologize right up front, but like the post on Bandelier, this post is going to have photo overload.  And even then, there was more to see and it was more amazing than the photos truly show.

 Like the Living Desert Zoo, the Visitor's Center had some cool displays and cool things for the kids to touch and look at.

This one is called the Lion's Tail because it looks like a Lion's Tail.  The different speleotherms were pretty incredible.  Seriously, this cave was so cool!

After Carlsbad, we went back to the hotel to change and have a short break and eat some lunch.  Then we drove to Sitting Bull Falls.  It was really pretty and we all dressed to swim...but again, the water was pretty cold so the only one who really did any swimming was Annette.  She's definitely a cooler/more fun mom than I am!

That night, we got pizza for dinner.  We were in the hotel and it did have a microwave, so we could have heated cans of soup (that's what we did the night before)...but pizza was more fun.  The kids played and we told stories and enjoyed one another's company...and went to bed early.  (Although I stayed up to read for awhile after the kids were asleep.)

My favorite day of the trip!