What can I say.  Moab is by far one of my favorite places ever.


We made a beeline from Mesa Verde to Moab and were able to find a fairly cheap hotel.  By fairly cheap, I mean $119 per night.  Seriously, the prices are insane in this town now.  Major tourist trap for sure.  I wanted to camp, but the crew was spent and really wanted some showers and air conditioning.  With temps in the 100’s the splurge was fine by me.


We ate Ramen in the room and fell asleep in soft beds.

Early the next morning, got a ridiculously expensive breakfast and hit the road.  By expensive I mean $10 for pancakes.  Seriously.  I honestly don’t remember Moab being so very expensive last time we were here.  Granted, that was 25 years ago…..but $10 for pancake?  In Durango a plate like that probably cost $4.

Anyhow, I assume you get that Moab is now pricey.  What it lacks for in cost, it makes up for in beauty.  We drove around looking at different campsites first and found some gorgeous spots.  We mostly looked for BLM sites, and there were plenty to pick from,  My favorite and one we will go to the next time we pass through was called Moonflower Campground.  You park in a small lot, and walk to one of 8 sites.  The Ranger told us the back sites had lots of mosquitos and gnats so we looked at a gorgeous spot toward the front under what I believe was a huge cottonwood tree.  The ground was deep sand, so it would have been super soft to pitch a tent on.  There was also soft, fluffy cotton-like tufts covering it and floating through the air.  It was like a fairy land.  For $10 a night it looked perfect.

So, why didn’t we stay?  Well, there was not a soul around and I just had a gut feeling that we shouldn’t stay.  I can’t explain it, but there it is.  We would have had to pitch our tent and leave it alone for the whole day while we explored and there was not a soul around at all.  I just kinda had an instinctual feeling that we needed to save it for another time. When we go back with Bill next year, we will for sure pitch our tent there.

With so many BLM sites available, we took our chances and didn’t claim a site that morning.  We took off for Arches National Park for the day.

I have so many many wonderful memories of our honeymoon at Arches.  We were camping in September back then, so we were able to secure a campsite in the park, and it was to die for.  The kids and I went there first on the off chance there was a site left, but no way, no how.  All were reserved but about half of them were empty.  Apparently people reserve the sites and then don’t show up.  They risk the $20 no show fee so that can secure a site in case they decide to go there.  If someone is a no show, the site is held until check out time the next day.  Seriously.  So a gorgeous spot stays empty.  Just an FYI in case you want to camp there next summer.  Book early!   The park system needs to make the National Parks first come, first serve.  Period.

Anyway, we hiked the Windows section and it was just gorgeous.





The kids climbed all over the rocks and enjoyed the majestic scenery.





We then had mutiny.  It was triple digit heat, and I was the only one that wanted to hike in it.  Have no clue why. 😉  We got in the car and toured the rest of the park via very short hikes and lots of overlooks.  I was slightly pissed.  I had really been wanting to show them this area for YEARS, and not by car.  LOL  Anyhow, an epic family melt down ensued.


After it fizzled out, we left the park late afternoon and carried on towards Gooseneck State Park,  hoping to camp there for the night.


We made it to Gooseneck State Park, but the last camp site was taken right before us.





We drove back down the road and checked out Cowboy Camp, but it seemed too exposed. Driving on we found Horsethief campground and it was perfect.  Only one other couple in the park and absolute silence. I think it was $12.  Can’t beat that. I love BLM spots.  It was much warmer than we were used to in Colorado, but the temps dropped into the cool 70’s early in the night, thank goodness.  The stars were incredible. The kids managed to watch a movie when we retired to the tent.


I love being in a tent or a camper with my family.  Best times ever.


We enjoyed it so much, but I truly fell in love with the camp the next morning when a little fox wandered right past me while I enjoyed my coffee.



I could have spent a week there, but we had a loose schedule to keep, so we packed up and made our way to Canyonlands.

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Cliff dwellings

We spent one more night in Durango, then got up bright and early, had coffee and hit the road again. Reluctantly.

I could have stayed in Durango another week or more.  Love that place and we barely saw the tip of the iceberg there.

Mesa Verde was our next stop, and I am so glad we finally made it down there. I have been wanting to go for 26 years now.  It did not disappoint.

There are many cliff sites to see, but we were only there for a day trip so we chose two: Balcony House and Cliff Palace.    Spruce Tree House is closed because there is a fault in the rock above it which is quite dangerous.  Erosion has caused this and has made the cliff above the dwelling very unstable.  The two pictures below are Spruce Tree House.



A word about the park.  Be sure and get there very early to make the most of your day.  I would also suggest camping there a few days so you can see more.  It is well worth a stay.

We had time before our first tour to Balcony House, so a ranger suggested a hike into the canyon to see some petroglyphs.  He thought for sure we would be able to make it in and out in time, so we took off at a fast pace.  It was a gorgeous hike, but about 3 miles or so in my blood sugar crashed.  Smarty pants here had only eaten a Power bar and a latte for breakfast and we were hiking some tough terrain at a very clipped pace.


I didn’t even realize what was going on. I felt the adrenaline rush and panic that sets in, but thought that maybe I was overheated and needed water.  I sat down and drank some water and poured it over my head, and told the kids we needed to keep going.  Cody calmly sat me back down and said “No, we need to rest.  You are overheated” but apparently I got back up and said “No, I need to keep moving and get OUT OF HERE”.

When my blood sugar crashes, I get this absolutely horrible adrenaline rush and it feels like I am dying.   Basically I am, because you can’t survive with a blood sugar of 30-40.   I also get very irrational and impulsive.  Luckily for me I have reactive hypoglycemia, so the adrenaline rush gets my body to release glucose and my numbers climb up to around 50-60.  I can’t eat or swallow well when it is super low, so it can be a problemo.

The kids said I took off like a bat out of hell and kept saying “Why am I having a panic attack? What is this?”.  Funny how none of us realized what was going on.

We got to the petroglyphs and basically did a “Yup, there they are.  Let’s go.” and took off up the cliffs to hike a shorter way back around via the top of the canyon.


Once on flat ground I was able to choke down some cliff bar and when my haze of brain starvation cleared, realized that my blood sugar had bottomed out.  How awesome that that happened with the kids, in a canyon with temps over 100 degrees.  From there on I made sure we had juice and candy in the backpack at all times.

Food in my system, we made it back to the car and drove to our first tour.  Balcony house.
This place is awesome, but it is NOT for small children.  My kids were fine, but there was a 5yo on the tour and his mom almost had a coronary on the ladders.  I would say that maybe ages 7 and up would be fine, but think hard about taking any that are younger.  It is a long way down if they trip.


We were with a smallish group and the ranger let us explore the cliffs at a slower pace.













I was completely enchanted with Mesa Verde. I wanted to stay so badly, but we ended up skipping the second tour because it was getting late in the day and we needed to get on the road to Moab and secure a campsite before dark.

Next time we will stay several days there and really explore the park.

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