Car camping still isn’t, but there we were in the old orchards when the turkey attack happened.
I still don’t like paying for camping, but that’s a big change from a decade ago, when I almost always went to absurd lengths to avoid it. But that other Fruita, along the Fremont, has the most gorgeous groves of apple, almond, cherry and cottonwood trees I could ever imagine. And lots and lots of open space for toddlers to run.
The first evening we walked LB around and around, hoping for a tired kid as soon after the 630 sunset as possible. Members of the mule deer herd filtered through an hour before dusk, and turkey tracks were abundant in the mud between the reeds along the river. There were no signs of the birds, as the upper branches of the taller trees became cloaked in darkness, and we went to bed. The next morning I was carrying one frozen pissy diaper, and one warm shitty diaper, to the trash can in the restroom while trying to coax LB along in my wake when there they were again. Three big gobblers, circulating through the campground, had sneaked up. LB being about their height and weight, and at 18 months only dreaming he was half as fast, was naturally both intrigued and scared. As he should have been. So he observed turkeys off and on for the next hour, often while seated atop my shoulders, and we finally knew who had been crapping on the picnic table in the night.
That day we did a canyon hike, a popular one, one that would normally be considered rather easy. And we almost got lost. It was an even more egregious example of what I should have gotten out of my system back in December; rather than follow the known route up the actual wash to an old road we stuck to an ever more sparsely cairned short cut, got cliffed out, and after much hemming and futzing took the safe option and back tracked all the way back to the car. Which was a necessity with the kid along. Had we had a map along, especially an appropriately detailed one, what on the ground looked like a decent route option would have been a non-starter.
At least it was a nice canyon to walk through twice in four hours.
M and I have been hiking together for a long time now, since back in 2003 when she had never before slept in a tent. In almost all things she is a bold and confident woman of a sort that even in the liberal arts college where we met was rare enough, to say nothing of society at large. It’s what attracted me to her in the first place, and a big part of why being married has been so easy for so long. In a few areas we do less well honoring each others expertise, and with me hearing alternate opinions about wilderness navigation is still today embarrassingly difficult. I have a lot of work to do on that one, and the multiple “I told you so’s” M earned this weekend will hopefully help me be less stuck, next time.
Soon enough, LB will be leading the way.