One thing I miss about pre-kids is the ability to travel easily and efficiently. A. and I would book a flight a few weeks ahead of time, pack a backpack each and off we’d go. I’d buy a guidebook and most likely read the works of a novelist from the country we’d visit. Our last international trip was to Iceland in 2012, when CM was 5 months old.
So instead, during this “we have small kids who wouldn’t appreciate a long, expensive trip to Europe or Asia” phase, I’m embracing traveling locally. And locally for us, right now, means New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Texas — where there is stunning scenery and lots of hikes (I put a premium on being outdoors with the kids).
So, this past weekend, we packed up the car, picked up CM at 3 p.m. from school on Friday and drove. Our only agenda was to go to Arches National Park, just north of Moab, Utah. We ended up driving more than 800 miles in three days (about 4-5 hours per day) — from New Mexico to Colorado Friday, Colorado to Utah and back to Colorado on Saturday, and home to New Mexico on Sunday.
And guess what? It wasn’t miserable. The boys were troopers (there were a few whiny “I’m tired of driving” and “Mama, can I hold you?” moments but overall it was a success.) We didn’t have reservations, so we stayed in small Colorado towns (Moab was booked up — I never knew how popular it is!) We told lots of “made up” stories in the car, the boys paged through books (CM read “Hop on Pop” out loud) and we listened to music.
Highlights: Arches National Park, though now that it’s March, it’s starting to get busy — there was a half hour line to get into the park.
Dinner and dessert in Telluride.
And touring Native American history at Chaco National Park in New Mexico on Sunday. The village was built between 800 and 1200 A.D.
The boys were giddy. I loved the feeling of adventure. A. was happy. My hope is these little trips will prime them for longer, more intense trips in the coming years.