Noel and I got our COVID-19 vaccines literally an hour before driving out of town for our spring break plans. I felt a little off that afternoon and was really worried about how it would affect our spring break trip, but ended up feeling completely fine the next day. We spent the night in Moab. Our room had a window right outside the hot tub. The kids were so sad because we told them there was no way we were going to the pool with so many people around. The next morning though, it was quiet so we took a quick dip. (I’d packed the swimsuits just in case.) The pool technically may not have been open yet, but it was such a treat for the kids. Let’s be honest, it was a treat for Noel and I too.
I had left my trail shoes at home on accident and only had these really dumb sneakers that were not going to suffice for our purposes. So, before we could do anything we had to buy me some shoes. I had been planning on buying new trail runners, but had wanted to do it at our local running store with plenty of options. Luckily, Gearheads had a pair that seemed like they’d serve me alright. It was frustrating to feel like the kid who didn’t pack appropriately. After that was taken care of, we headed to Canyonlands.
We snagged permits to camp in Chesler Park months ago. We’d been in the area when we hiked Druid Arch a few years back and were pretty excited. There isn’t any water in this part of the park so we left the filter at home and brought 24 liters of water with us. It was HEAVY. Our hike in was only three miles, but it was a total leg burner. I regularly do jump squats and am a distance runner. I use my legs a lot, but this was still really hard. My back weighed almost 50lbs (Noel’s was even heavier) and it was pushing my capabilities. We made it though and were so grateful to take off those packs.
We lazed away the afternoon enjoying the sun and the scenery. It was fairly windy though and that wind was blowing in a cold front.
The temperature dropped below freezing over night. The diaper wipes froze which made for a real pleasant experience using the human waste containment bags (as if that wasn’t already an unpleasant experience). We had a sunny overlook on one side of our campsite, so we relocated there for breakfast. The sun made such a huge difference. After eating some oatmeal and bundling up, we hit the trail with our day packs. (If you want to know about the food we packed, check out Dirty Dish Club.)
We did a really fun loop 6 mile loop hike around Chesler Park. It goes through a narrows section called The Joint that was a blast to explore. The kids absolutely loved it. Ellen was totally in her element climbing and running around.
The afternoon was also chilly. We ended up going on a second hike in the late afternoon just to warm up. Then after dinner, we retreated to our tent to read books while bundled in our sleeping bags. We of course popped out of the tent to check out the stars before drifting off.
I really wanted to see the sunrise the next morning and Noel joined me. It did not disappoint. Even though it was colder than we would have liked, it was still absolutely gorgeous. We took our time making breakfast and packing up camp. We were in no hurry to vacate our gorgeous surroundings. Eventually though, we donned those packs again delighted at how much lighter they were.
We were in pretty good spirits on the hike back to the car. People kept commenting on how they were impressed with how we were talking and laughing at the end of a backpacking trip. Noel and I talked extensively about how to do the things we do you have to have some level of comfort with discomfort. We love camping, hiking, backpacking, etc but it’s definitely not a breeze. For us though, the pros outweigh the cons.
We loaded our dirty selves into our Subaru and headed to Grand Junction where we checked into our hotel, showered, and ate a much deserved pizza.