Friday, October 14, 2011


All summer long Kate was after us to go camping. So finally last weekend we did it. Matt took off early from work on Friday and we packed up, picked Wes and Kate from school and headed to Shenandoah National Park.

Until last year I had never heard of Shenandoah other than in John Denver's Song Take Me Home with the line ... "Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River," but didn't realize it was a National Park.

We arrived in the early evening and stayed at a nearby camp ground in Front Royal, VA, because there was no vacancy at the park's camping sites.

Everyone was in heaven, even Joshua ... prop him up for a few pictures and he's ready to go in his little USU Aggie coat:).

I was concerned about the cool temperatures at night, especially with a little one, but it was pleasant ... not warm by any stretch, but comfortable enough that the mountain of blankets and sleeping bags we brought didn't need to be fully utilized.

In the morning Matt made one of his signature dutch oven dishes, sweet rolls, with some hot chocolate, hard boiled eggs, and we were good to go for a day in beautiful country.

It was absolutely gorgeous ... 100 miles of rolling mountains, leaves just starting to turn, stunning look-outs, and not too crowded roads and hikes.

We stopped about mid-way through the park and decided to take a short 1.8 mile hike to a waterfall. It was the shortest hike in the bunch, we thought that best, so our children could handle it on their own.... minus this little cutie who road first class on his mama's back:). (I told Matt I'd take the baby so he'd could do mule pack duty in case one of the bigger kids needed a hand;)).

Just a side note here. Wesley is not a walker. Any time he can ride his bike, ride in a car, or in some other mode of transportation, he's much happier. So we were a bit concerned about the hike, until I remembered a Utah mountain hiking trip from last year.

So here's how we phrased it, and how the conversation went, more or less:

Us: "We're going to go see a waterfall."
Wesley: "Do we have to walk?"
Us: "We're going mountain climbing."
Wesley: "Mountain climbing? Really?"
Us: "Yep."

That did it ... he led us the entire way and kept telling us to stop taking so many breaks:). Amazing what a little rephrasing will do to one's perception. But to be fair to us old, out of shape people, it really was vigorous exercise. Matt said, "if we did a hike like this every day we'd drop some serious poundage." (my paraphrasing, I don't think I've ever heard Matt say 'poundage'.)

(here's a nice shot of some random man's back, but he'd just fallen and smashed his knee pretty hard on the rock by Kate's head and so we figured he needed a rest without us disturbing him;)).

By the time we got back to the van it was early-mid afternoon so we hopped in and drove to Luray
. I was glad this was not like the Timpanogos Caves, with a 45+ degree hike for over a mile or two. This one you paid your money, walked around a wall, down 50 or so stairs, and there you were, at the front of the tour.

It was pretty cool. I keep saying this, but I hope our children remember at least some of these things they're seeing.

Back at camp we cooked, cleaned up a bit and hit the sack. This was a much less desired night for me, at least. I had a pounding headache that didn't leave until about 4 a.m. and I think I'm too old to be sleeping on the hard earth;).

Sunday morning we rose early, took hot showers (gotta love that), dressed in our Sunday best, amid stares from fellow campers who probably thought we were wacky, and headed out to the local Front Royal ward.

We knew something was wrong when we to the parking lot and there was one car there at 8:57 a.m., for a 9 a.m. church start. Luckily the car contained missionaries. Matt talked with them and found out it was Stake Conference in nearby Winchester, VA. and it started at 10 a.m.

So back to the campground we went. As we pulled into our site and I hopped out, our neighbor campers looked at us funny, and so I verbalized what they were thinking and quipped, "That was quick!"

We raced around like crazies, breaking down camp as fast as we could. We figured there was no sense in going north to church 35 minutes, turn around after church, break camp, just to turn around and head NE home.

We were a tad late, but were able to get settled in for a nice meeting with Pres. Tingey, the former Washington D.C. Temple President, as the guest speaker (I thought he was the current, but a quick search on the church temple pres. site says he was just released in Aug.)

After church we drove about another hour and some and stopped for a picnic lunch on the D.C. Temple grounds. So beautiful - couldn't have asked for a better weathered weekend.

Anyway, that was our trip; So fun, and worth the 8 loads of laundry afterwards.


Rachel and Jared said...

Heather you make me laugh! I just love all your little comments about things! Looks like a fun trip!

J and M said...

(: You are a brave traveler, and I would love to see the d.c. temple!

jill said...

Hahahaha! Love the quick trip and letting the poor injured man rest his knee. I am, and probably always will be, a bit jealous of all the wonderfulness you get to see back there. What a gorgeous weekend!!