Caleb and I both grew up camping in Death Valley. Some might think this strange, but we're both thankful for this oddity in our upbringings. It was one of the discoveries, when we were dating, that confirmed we were meant to be together. How many families grow up camping in Death Valley? It is a tradition we love, and one we intend on passing on to our children. And so, as Josie embarks upon her tenth month of life, we decided it was high time she was introduced to the great desert we love so much. Our trip was almost waylaid when I came down with the stomach flu just two days before we were to leave. But I persevered, and even though we ended up leaving at 9 instead of 5 on Thursday morning, we headed off for our much-anticipated mini vacation.
Josephine did great the whole weekend. She slept well at night, and even though her daytime naps were too short and not frequent enough, she was a champ the whole weekend. The trick was simply to revolve the day around her ... stop when she needs a break from the car seat, make sure she's warm enough, stop and feed her when she's hungry, wherever that might be. As a result, everything took about twice as long as we're used to, but it was still a very relaxing time for us all.
Unfortunately, we had to leave the valley a day early ... on account of wind. It picked up pretty strong on Saturday morning, and then they issued an actual wind advisory, predicting winds up to 50 mph by that evening. Even at just 25-30 mph, the wind was causing the tent to fall over on itself and everything we set down was getting blown away. And in the desert there is a lot of sand and dust that gets picked up by the wind as well, making being outside rather uncomfortable.
Despite it being cut a day short, Josephine's first camping trip was a success. We have another camping trip planned for September, this time to the Redwoods. We can't wait!
Our campsite. We rented a 6-man tent from REI so we could fit our air mattress, Josie's Pack N Play and the dog's kennel inside. It worked out great! Well, until the the winds started blowing and our high profile tent started folding in on itself ...
Lucy was in dog heaven. There were a lot of places she could be let off the leash to run free.
One view from our tent.
Josephine, our easy-going daughter, didn't mind a tiny space in which to eat. Here she's crammed into the back seat next to hear car seat, drinking her formula while Caleb takes pictures at Dante's View (a viewpoint where you can see almost the entire expanse of Death Valley).
Caleb and Josie at Dante's View.
Josie and me.
Eating by the side of the road.
Me and Josie at the Racetrack, in front of the Grandstand. This is a dry lake bed which can only be reached by 27 miles of serious dirt road. The new Pathfinder passed its first real test! So did Josie ... she handled all the rocking and rolling like a true camping pro.
The three of us at Artist's Palette, one of the most beautiful spots in the Valley. We stayed here for about an hour and a half while the sun set. As the light changed, so did the colors in the hills, like a show. Caleb got some great photos over the course of the hour (which you'll have to watch for on his photo blog).