Indian Meadow Nature Trail

We ended up spending 2 nights at Dog Canyon, which is a campground around the back of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The first night there, we were the only ones there (save park rangers). We saw other people people that second day, but there was only one other camper that second night (and a trailer with 3 folks).

Near the campgrounds is a short hiking trail called Indian Meadow Nature Trail. At the start there was a brochure that had ‘stops’ described that pointed out flora and fauna and explained various things about that part of the country.

On this side of the mountains, they get a bit more rain, and so there are more trees and grass, and less prickly pears and other ‘pokies’ as Little Man learned to call them. We ended up walking the trail twice that day, since Little Man asked for it by name in the afternoon. It is about 1.5 miles all the way around and he walked it both times. Sorry, he *hiked* it both times. That was another word he learned and used a lot on this trip.

There was a wash just behind the campground and there were Maple trees back there. The area had lots of Juniper (otherwise known as Cedar in central Texas according to the ranger), some Ponderosa Pine and Maples. A few Oaks were also present in the meadow. They had a fire blow through several years ago and we learned how the grass burns quick, but the trees create a real hot spot and sometime the fire is hot enough to sterilize the ground underneath.

We also learned that the area was named “Dog Canyon” because there used to be lots of prairie dogs there, but the ranchers got rid of them. The ranger explained how the prairie dogs would selectively harvest around their burrow so that the grass in that area was different than in places further away from their burrow. And the bison liked the grass right around prairie dog burrows quite a bit.

It was drastically interesting to learn how fire and prairie dogs effect the types of grasses that are growing. There were other things to learn, but this is what’s still in my head 2 weeks later.

Embarrassing moments at Carlsbad Caverns

The Caverns are amazingly beautiful. Even for one like me who really doesn’t like closed spaces. It was a ton of fun and so wonderful to experience the 90% humidity after the dryness of the Guadalupe Mountains.

We had a few embarrassing moments in the caverns, though.

First, while going through The Big Room (which is quite big, for sure), there is one stalagmite that looks :::ahem::: like a boob. Of course, both Hubby and I giggle a bit and attempt to keep walking. Yes, we likely pointed as we giggled. And then it happened. The lady (and her family, I’m guessing husband and daughter) who was just ahead of us turned to us and said something to the effect of, “What’s amazing is that after millions of years, its still firm. No sag at all!” I watched her (supposed) daughter melt in embarrassment and she attempted to usher nipple lady on. But oh, no, nipple lady continued talking about what this particular stalagmite looked like and how firm it still was. This went on for much longer than either Hubby or I was comfortable with. Actually, the very first comment out of her mouth left us uncomfortable. I’m so glad Little Man isn’t quite old enough to understand any of it.

A bit later, as Little Man reached his limit (nap time!) he began to yell ‘gobble, gobble, gobble!” We have no idea where this work came from, and I don’t think its actually in reference to what a turkey says. And he continued, and when he realized it echoed, he kept going. It felt like he continued with ‘gobble, gobble, gobble’ for 10 or 15 minutes. It was likely more like 5 minutes. Hubby spoke in my ear, “type 2 fun”. Not long after, he feel asleep. I had him wrapped on my back and it was the greatest thing ever to have hi fall asleep on my back.

walking down into the caverns

walking down into the caverns

I guess I should explain ‘type 2 fun’. We found a book “The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide” (a gear guide for the ultimate hiker, that is), and the author explains his system for classifying fun. Type 1 fun is fun at the time and fun to talk about later. Type 2 fun isn’t so fun at the time, but is a ton of fun to talk about later. Type 3 fun isn’t fun at the moment, nor is it fun to talk about later.

Have you had any type 2 fun lately? And any embarrassing moments?

Changing the system

One thing I was reminded of, as we prepped for our trip was that one ought not change any systems right before leaving.

Late Monday morning, I put Little Man in a sposie diaper and washed *all* the diapers. I didn’t want to leave any wet diapers around, and we’d planned on using sposies for the trip, except the two nights we planned on backpacking in. As fortunes would show, I was quite lucky the hemp/cotton inserts I’d ordered arrived that morning, so they got into the wash as well.

Now, up to this point, Little Man had worn sposies one here, one there, but usually only one, rarely/never two in a row. But that Monday, but the second diaper change, his bottom was looking red and irritated. By the time I changed the third sposie, his skin was so irritated he cried as I wiped his bum and he had little blisters that bled (just a tiny bit). I pulled out a cloth diaper for the night. At the time, I didn’t know if it was the sposie or the poop (ya know — sometimes its the poop that irritates!). But I didn’t have time to figure it out, either!

But, the next morning, all blisters were gone and the bum in question was a smooth as a baby’s bottom should be.

The next morning we quick pulled the packages of sposies out of the car and I sat in the back with a basket of freshly washed diapers on my lap, which I folded slowly over the first hour of driving. Though the new inserts needed another 2 or 3 washes, I used them in the overnight diapers and they worked great! Those new inserts expanded my nighttime inserts so I could have 5 overnight diapers! Before I had the inserts (hemp ones) to put together only 3 diapers at a go.

Lesson learned. Don’t change the system all of the sudden when you don’t have time to make sure it works.

Here’s some of what I’ve figured out about traveling with cloth:

  • Its not all that bad, though poops on the road are a bit difficult to deal with.
  • Have lots of plastic bags. The kid you get from the store when checking out work great at keeping the smell contained when you tie them tight. If its not a poopy diaper, I will twist the bag closed and then tie it when I add a second diaper. Poopy diapers get solids dumped into the appropriate place (toilet or 6 inch hole), the into a bag that gets tied tight (yes, they will need to get dunked and swished or sprayed at some point before washing).
  • Pre-folds seem to travel the best. Flats are nice since they are fairly easy to wash and dry quickly.

My Dad and his wife let me wash the diapers at their house, which meant a 4 day stretch between washings. Not too bad. I did rinse the diapers at one camp ground about 3 days in, but unless you are able to let the dry, I’m not sure its worth it. It was dry there, but cool, so I ended up wrapping up the diapers in bags to save for washing. I guess rinsing them was good, though.

Questions? Please ask. I love the cloth diapers and am happy to talk about them!

Back from the middle of no-where

Yep, seriously… the middle of no-where!

Back on March 18 or so, I picked up a project with my job that I had to crank out by that next Sunday. Made for a crazy week.

On Tuesday, March 26, we got up, not too early, and took off driving west. All the way to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Its a beautiful place, for sure, but is seriously the middle of no-where. 55 miles from Carlsbad (the nearest city) and 114 miles from El Paso. And no cell reception, at all. But it was gorgeous. And major inhospitable  I’m really glad we don’t live out there. I promise more stories as the week continues.

I think this is Guadalupe Peak.

I think this is Guadalupe Peak.

Over that week, we camped at Pine Springs Campground (Guadalupe Mountains National Park), Rattlesnake Canyon (Carlsbad Caverns National Park) and Dog Canyon Campgrounds (Guadalupe Mountains National Park). It was a great time, for sure. And Little Man spend more time out doors than ever before in his short life, and he loved it. He got *so* dirty, slept so little, and got to poke a whole lot of nature with a stick.

Can you see all that dirt?

Can you see all that dirt?

We finished the trip with a few days in Lubbock with my Dad and his wife. That was a ton of fun and Little Man really enjoyed the time with Granddaddy and Grandmom. He even got to hunt Easter eggs Sunday afternoon.

I have a ton of stories to tell, and lots of good reflections. Here’s  a start:

-Don’t change your diapering system at the last minute just for a trip. Bad things happen.

-Don’t expect little boys to nap when its in a tent. Going to sleep at night is hard enough.

-The desert gets cold at night. And windy.

-If you see some nature, you ought to poke it with a stick.

Camping plans and preparations

I’m on a blogging roll this week!

Camping out…. take 2!

We set the tent up in the backyard and kept Little Man up past his normal bedtime. He even got to watch a Veggie Tales! Around 8 pm, we headed out to tent. We read our Bible story, prayed together, and we all laid down together. For the next hour, Hubby and I laid quietly while Little Man popped up and down, talking and telling us all the things he could see and hear. Barking dogs prompted the declaration of ‘puppy!’ and a rendition of ‘yip, yip, yip!’. As we heard the train in the distance, we were informed ‘train!’. When the stars started coming out (we didn’t put up the rain fly since the chances of rain were 0%), he declared ‘stars! moon!’. After about 45 minutes of this, he started trying to find his comfy spot, turning this way and that way on his sleeping bag. Finally, I realized he was asleep — at 9:08 pm. And, I realized Hubby was also asleep. So, I carefully guarded my little book light and read a magazine for about 20 minutes before I also laid down to try and sleep.

As Mom-mom, I was up fairly often to make sure Little Man was in his sleeping bag and well covered. Around 3 am, Little Man woke me as he said “Mom-mom, Mom-mom” and climbed into my sleeping bag with me. I have a mummy bag, which means it fits me rather close, which made it a tight fit with both of us. And it got hot. I was finally able to arrange myself so my arm wasn’t pinned and going to sleep. Around 430, I was able to move Little Man back to his own sleeping bag.

Around 630, I checked him again and realized we’d had a diaper mishap and his pjs were all wet. So, I tried to move him to my bag (which was warmer to the touch), but that woke him. So we went in to change his diaper and pjs. That elicited cries of “Daddy!”, so back out to the tent we went, which elicited cries of ‘home!’ :::sigh::: so in we went.

Overall, I think it was successful.

I’m also planning out our meals and such for our trip. I’ve got some meals to test and some items to dry. I’ve even got all fancy and made up a table in a document to plot the date, activities, gear, food and notes. Very helpful. I’m thinking I can use pillowcases for the changes of clothes needed at various points, or some such. Anyhoo, I’ve got some ideas, I’ll share them here as they develop and I test them.

Anyone else like to backpack… with a small child? I think we are blazing some new trails in this, there isn’t all that much out there in web-world on this topic. This is the best information I’ve found so far… http://www.backpacking.net/featured4.html, and there is a forum here. You might have to sign up to read all the threads, I forget.

So, please enjoy the resources (all 2 of them!), and let me know if you know of any more.

camping out

an attempt to camp out in the living room

an attempt to camp out in the living room, after the fact

On a scale of successful-not successful, our attempts at ‘camping out’ last night were not successful. We are planning on going on a camping/backpacking trip later this spring and knew that we needed to put some effort at getting Doctor D used the idea and process of sleeping in a sleeping bag. So, we figured we’d camp out in the back yard a few times.

Doctor D tends to go to sleep around 7 pm, and we like to stay up for a few hours after that. With the time change and the need to get a move on this, we decided last night was a good starting point. But it was suppose to rain. So, we set the tent up in the garage. We got lots of explanations of “tent! tent!” and the little man carried his own sleeping bag out and all. It seemed to be going well. Doctor D and I got in the tent together to read a Bible story, and he refused to sit quietly. Nope, he felt the need to be moving around the tent constantly and declaring “tent! tent!”. It was also getting stifling in the tent — tents do tend to do this and with no air flow outside the tent (we were in the garage), it was getting near miserable. We finished the story, and called Daddy in for his part. Daddy got in the tent and I turned off the garage light (the constellation turtle was in in the tent, so there was still some light). We decided to open the garage a bit more, which caused the garage light to come on. Tough Guy, the cat, came in and was being noisy. And Doctor D decides this isn’t as much fun as he thought it was. We gave it about 7 minutes, and decided to reevaluate. First, we tried taking Doctor D’s pjs off (to just a diaper and socks) to accommodate the heat. (no go). Then we decided to move in and try sleeping in the living room. Doctor D was much happier with this arrangement. We put him between us and we all laid down on our sleeping bags. Constellation Turtle scattered blue stars over the ceiling, and the cats were good enough to not get involved right away.

“Foot! Toe!” Doctor D cried out as he pointed to each part. “Eye!” he declared as he poked his finger to my eye, then again, but poking Daddy’s eye. “Daddy! Mommy!” were our reminders of who we were, just in case we’d forgotten. “yep,” I thought, “this is what we get for never doing the co-sleeping thing”. This went on for another 10 minutes. “Moon! Stars! Blue!” were recited repeatedly.  Hubby rolled over so his back was to the Little Man, and so Little Man rolled so his back was to me. The declarations got fewer at that point, but I suspect it would of been quite a while before Doctor D would go to sleep.

Finally, we decided to put him in his crib, with his sleeping bag. He would get to sleep in a familiar place, by himself (which is apparently important for sleep), but in his sleeping bag. :::sigh:::: he was out “like a light” just as soon as we put him down in the crib. He was that tired. He’d asked to go to sleep at 7 pm and it was now 830 pm.

Once we get this figured out, and we do have a plan from here, I think we will make camping out in the living room a semi-regular occurrence. Maybe we can make camping out in the backyard a regular thing, too! That would be fun, though inconvenient.

It had been so important to me that Little Man fall asleep on his own and be able to sleep on his own. I never thought that would come back to bite me like this. And I never realized that the ability to sleep in different places was a learned skill….