In my long-standing tradition of telling you about my trips only after I’ve gone on them, my family and I went camping last week. We spent three days up in the Uintah mountains next to Currant Creek reservoir.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Stratton-family Camping Trip without the new tradition of putting up tents in the rain. It wasn’t as bad this year, though. It wasn’t raining that hard yet, and we had a new tent that went up pretty quickly. Then everyone else retreated into said tent while I stubbornly tried to put up a tarp over the firepit / table area so that people could come out of the tent and appreciate nature if they so desired.
It took some time. There were only trees positioned correctly for three of the four corners, and the remaining corner sagged far too low to be comfortable. I did eventually jerry-rig a temporary post, however, and we had a workable rain cover–which two hours later became unnecessary as such, but became even more valuable over the next two days as a sun shade.
We did learn from last year, though. We bought a propane stove for cooking. Whereas last year we had a hard time getting the water to boil for our pasta, this year the stove had the water boiling in about half the time our own kitchen stove would have required. Great little stove!
We also learned from last year that continual running around seeing things really wears on everyone. So this year we over-corrected and under-planned. We ran the risk of boredom on several vacations. I dusted off my atrophying skills as a bedtime story-teller and kept the kids entertained on several occasions.
But this year’s most important lesson? Car batteries do not last forever. We learned this on the second day when the automatic locks on our van wouldn’t unlock. There simply wasn’t enough juice in the battery. However, our campground had a host (cool idea, by the way), and she was used to people learning this lesson the hard way. She came over and gave us a jump-start. We were relieved to find the battery was fine, it was just dead. I took the van out for an hour drive just to make sure it got recharged enough. It didn’t give us any further trouble.
We did a fair amount of hiking, and we concluded our trip with an expedition over gravel roads to find the “shortcut” back to the freeway. It was shorter in mileage, but I don’t think we saved any time. However, the view was well worth the trip–at least until the boys started to get car-sick. The road wound back up and over the mountains, then down into Heber City via a back route. We saw some gorgeous high-mountain meadows filled with wildflowers, and some incredible views of Eastern Utah. Between the drive and the stars at night, I had a visual feast.
We had a great time. We enjoyed most every minute of the trip. We also enjoyed getting home again. That’s the beauty of camping. The experience is priceless, but it also reminds you just how much you take for granted your daily comforts. My bed has never felt so soft. And air-conditioning….oh yes, air conditioning….
Yellowstone and Currant Creek are barely comparable experiences. There were things about Yellowstone last year that we really liked, and different parts about Currant Creek we liked, too. I’m sure we’ll do Yellowstone again. But I think this year we learned that there are many other beautiful spots out there to be discovered, too. There will be more camping trips in our future.