Sometimes the best times happen in conditions less than ideal. Leaving out of Santa Fe we quickly lost all radio contact. That is, no podcast downloads for Daddy and no streaming Dora for Andrew. But the high desert scenery struck us, and the cows and horses were plentiful.

We arrived at Mancos State Park near Mesa Verde early afternoon. Not the most beautiful campground, Mancos has a small reservoir, lots of pine trees and views of snowy mountains. Considered driving another half hour for Mesa Verde but since we’d already invested $23 I decided to stay here.

Within minutes of pitching the tent, the rain began. The temperature dropped and turned the rain to hail and sleet. Icicles formed on the rain fly. Fortunately we have an 8-person Coleman I can stand up in, and a vestibule that could probably hold another four people. We spent the next couple hours playing hi-ya, which involves fighting each other while role-playing various comic book characters and using an assortment of imaginary and real weapons.

Finally the weather broke and we emerged. We fried hot dogs and walked around the lake and grounds. The sun soon was slipping behind the mountains and it was time for our nightly FaceTime with Mom and Julia and a few more rounds of hi-ya. A couple pirate books later and Andrew was out, curled up somewhere deep within his sleeping bag. Despite the mid-30 temperatures, Calvin could not be coaxed inside the tent, opting instead to roam the park, occasionally howling at some poor critter.

It’s 7 o’clock now and Andrew is still burrowed in. When he wakes up and demands ice milk and fruit snacks, we’ll fry some eggs and break camp. Headed a couple hours northwest to meet old friends in the Moab area, see Arches National Park, and not really care where we camp or how the weather unfolds.


Blowing dandelions at Mancos Colorado State Park.

Blowing dandelions at Mancos Colorado State Park.


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