Oh my dear blogging friends, I have missed you. The insanity of May flowed into the craziness of June and my poor blog suffered. In hindsight I should have told you all I was going to be missing from this space, but alas, I just went and left no forwarding address. Now refreshed and full of stories from a week’s vacation I return ready to blog again.
For starters, let me just say I have finally figured out this “vacationing with a child” thing. Now, 8+ years of parenting has taught me that the second I utter such words that hubris will destroy me leaving me in the land of horrid vacations for years to come. I shall not be daunted! I believe this knowledge will endure! The key to successfully vacationing with a kid is… duh duh duuuuhhhhh…. compromise! Let’s look at some pictorial evidence from my recent Tour de Soutwest Colorado, shall we?
In order for child(ren) to enjoy the seven mile hike to Lizard Lake, you must first incentivize them with a gnome home contest. Then, when the whining and complaining part of the hike begins you may be lucky enough to notice a bonanza of snail shells (What?!? In Colorado in the mountains??? It’s like Mother Nature was on the parent’s side) which will lead to the creation of a snail-shell-walkway which will result in a champion gnome home. Everyone is happy, especially the gnomes. Tune in, because I am certain this home will be featured on gnome HGTV for years to come.
Oh, not more hiking. We adults love hiking, and somehow we think if there is a waterfall at the end the children will like hiking too. That may work for you, especially if the hike is short and the waterfall is amazing like this one is, but maybe, just maybe, giant inflatable pool toys are more amazing? Try coupling the success of passing a swim test with an hour of “Water Ninja Warrior” competition – where your child legitimately crushes you on 6 of 6 obstacle runs. (She’s over a foot smaller than me, how was I supposed to fit? And don’t get me started on her strength to weight ratio….) The whole way up to that waterfall there will be nothing but joy, especially if you couple the hike with really great rocks in the path.
Oh dear God. You are not done hiking yet? You want to hike to a cave? A dark creepy cave? Well parents, just stick a horseback ride on the front of that cave hike and let Yuma the horse do the majority of the hiking for you. Sure, you won’t be able to walk for a couple days while you develop real understanding of the term “saddle-sore” but your kid will love every minute of the ride there, and then might even surprise you by being the only family member willing to follow the guide “just a little farther into the cave.” Try not to hang your head in shame while you let your kid go spelunking into the depths of a cave with some guide you met less than an hour before. She’ll probably be fine and besides, your butt hurts too much to crouch.
EVEN MORE HIKING?!?! What are you insane? Is this a death march or a vacation, I ask you? Well, if you can hike in a creek and, I don’t know, pick up even more cool rocks then maybe you can squeeze one more hike in. Note: we may have failed on the rock portion of “take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints” goal of hiking, but that’s okay, because you are done hiking now, right. RIGHT???
Let me tell you, at some point you have to put your butt down. Sure the top of the sand dunes are very tempting, but that sand is hard to walk on and after awhile there is so much of it in your ears you can’t hear the pleading, “Can’t we just go a little farther?” Fine, go a little farther, but me and your backpacks of water and snacks are staying here, far away from the sand ledge of death – which somehow didn’t claim my family (or any other lives) during our trip. You go on to the top. I’ll wait for you, even without any rocks to gather.