Instead of Trick-or-Treating, Caleb and I headed off to the desert for a weekend camping getaway with his family. We went to Red Rock Canyon, just about a 3-hour drive from home. Growing up with the father that I did, Red Rock Canyon and I are no strangers. Its one of my dad's favorite places in California, and anytime we happened to be driving by on our way to some place else, a stop was mandatory. There's nothing there but, well, red rock. There's no gas station, no convenience store, its not even a real rest stop ... but for my dad, driving by without paying homage to the beautiful desert scenery with a stop and a wander down a lonesome trail would have been sinful.
However, for all the stops I've made, until this past weekend I'd never actually camped at Red Rock Canyon. And though I don't know if I'll ever appreciate it the way my dad does, I've begun to see its merit in a new light. It is truly a beautiful desert landscape, with various kinds of rock and mineral painting the hillsides all shades of red and green. The unique shape of the cliffs, formed over centuries of tectonic movement and erosion is also a feast for the eyes.
Our trip started Friday night with an uneventful drive. We set up camp when we arrived and went straight to bed. I woke up at one point in the middle of the night to rain falling on our rain fly, more an annoying noise to try and sleep to than anything else. But then, in the morning, the rain started in earnest. Caleb's parents had brought their trailer, so we had a nice, dry place for eating and talking and playing games and knitting. We figured we'd just wait until the rain let up a little and then go out and explore. Well, the rain didn't let up until about 4:00 in the afternoon. It stopped a couple times for about 30 minutes, and we took advantage of those times with short strolls around the campground.
Once the rain let up in the afternoon, it didn't come back. And though it had driven us inside most of the day, it was a nice relaxing and restful day. I actually wouldn't have changed it. Sunday dawned bright and clear and beautiful, the way only a day after rain can. Caleb has the better pictures, but I have a few here for your perusal.
Despite my first real Red Rock experience being a wet one, I must admit, as I take my own kids on camping trips throughout California, I'll probably carry on the tradition my father started and force my own kids to stretch their travel-weary legs at Red Rock for a moment of desert reflection.
Andrew, Pam, Caleb and Bob.
Wylie and Lucy. Lucy wanted so badly just to play, but Wylie is a bit more mature and pretty much just did his best to ignore Lucy's constant and annoying puppy nature.
Ah, heaven for Lucy ... miles and miles of dirt and sand in which to dig!
The tent took in its fair share of rain and sand and mud in just two days. At the end of the trip, the easiest way to clean it out was to simply dump everything out the front door.
Lucy and Wylie, confined to the trailer for the moment.
Sunday dawned clear and beautiful.
Joshua trees. Not everyone finds Joshua trees beautiful or interesting, but I do. I think they're among the more fascinating trees you find in California, each one so distinct.
Like I said, Caleb has more pictures (and better ones). They also prove that I was on the trip as well. I'll post some when I get a chance!